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‘Something new’ Four performers will be featured in The Grand Halle Chamber Concert Series

Jan. 7—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — A new year of music is set to begin at The Grand Halle on Broad Street.

Returning for a second season, The Grand Halle Chamber Concert Series will feature four performers offering an array of genres from January through June.

“The idea behind the series is to utilize the space at The Grand Halle and its vast acoustics, where we can present classical music within Cambria City,” said Alyssa Wroblewski, program manager of The Grand Halle.

“It also gives local musicians a chance to perform in the space.”

The performing arts series will highlight accomplished musicians from the Johnstown, Pittsburgh and State College regions.

“I know that many fans love The Grand Halle’s architecture, acoustics and especially the Adam Stein organ,” she said.

“They enjoy seeing esteemed artists come here to Johnstown to perform beautiful music. This series was designed to provide these performances to you, from acclaimed artists from the Johnstown Symphony and Pittsburgh Symphony to the return of solo performances on the organ.”

Opening concert

The season will kick off at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 14 with Maureen Conlon-Gutierrez and Rodrigo Ojeda as a violin and piano duo.

Conlon-Gutierrez is a concert violinist, soloist, music teacher and wedding musician from Pittsburgh.

As an avid orchestral musician, she has served as concertmaster of the Erie Chamber Orchestra, guest concertmaster of the Erie Philharmonic and the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra.

Conlon-Gutierrez currently serves as concertmaster of the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra.

Ojeda has been playing with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as principal pianist since August 2006.

As a versatile pianist, he has frequently performed as a soloist, recitalist and chamber musician.

Ojeda has performed in every prominent concert hall in his native Venezuela, as well as in Ecuador, Spain, United States and Mexico.

He also serves as an assistant professor of collaborative piano at Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a piano faculty member in its Music Preparatory School.

The duo will perform works such as Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Sonata No. 9 Op. 47 Kreutzer” and William Grant Still’s “Suite for Violin and Piano,” as well as pieces by Amy Beach and Florence Price.

“This will be a very exciting concert and a really unique concert as well,” Wroblewski said.

“Audiences who have visited The Grand Halle before for Johnstown Symphony concerts will definitely recognize (Conlon-Gutierrez). Ojeda will accompany her for some of her solo works, so we’re very excited to have them both.”

Penn State Glee Club

At 7:30 p.m. March 17, the Penn State University Glee Club will perform.

Founded in 1888, the glee club is one of the most active and distinguished men’s collegiate choruses in the country, and is composed of 60 to 70 singers.

They have performed across the United States and abroad, with recent tours to New Zealand, San Francisco, Boston and Iceland.

The Glee Club sings music for men’s voices from classic to contemporary, including sacred and secular works, folk songs from around the world, spirituals and traditional Penn State songs.

“They do tours around spring time and around different parts of Pennsylvania, and when I reached out to them about performing, they were excited to return to Johns-town,” Wroblewski said.

“This is not the first time the Penn State University Glee Club has performed in Johnstown or The Grand Halle, so we’re looking forward to having them return.”

Organ recital

Emily Roy will present an organ recital at 7:30 p.m. April 29.

Roy is the director of music and is the organist for Resurrection Roman Catholic Church and St. Clare of Assisi Roman Catholic Church in Johnstown.

She is a member of the Johnstown Symphony Chorus, and has extensively performed around the Johns-town region.

Roy studied organ at the Sacred Music Institute of America, where she obtained a professional music director certification.

Her program will include works such as “Chorale Prelude on Rhosymedre” by Ralph Vaughan Williams, “Fanfare” by Jacques- Nicolas Lemmens and “Liebster Jesu, wir sind heir” BWV 731, by Johann Sebastian Bach.

“Emily was one of the star performers at the Service of Lessons and Carols, where she accompanied a choir and handbell choir,” Wroblewski said.

“A lot of people really enjoy organ performances, so inviting her back is an opportunity to bring back an organ recital.”

The series will conclude at 7:30 p.m. June 1 with the Three Rivers Saxophone Quartet.

Founded in 1973, the Pittsburgh-based group explores the wealth of literature written for saxophone quartet.

The quartet’s repertoire has grown over the years to include pieces from the Renaissance through ragtime and classical through jazz.

They’ve performed at various festivals, as well as school concerts and evening recitals, in addition to being heard regularly on the local radio stations.

The quartet has also performed at regional meetings of the World Saxophone Congress and has been invited to play at the World Saxophone Congress meetings in the United States, Canada, England, France, Germany and Japan.

“They are returning to Johnstown for their 50th anniversary concert,” Wroblewski said.

“They’ll be performing a lot of jazz and American works.”

She said this year’s chamber concert series presents unique music in an intimate setting.

“You can expect something new and fresh at each concert,” Wroblewski said.

“We set up the room with the stage to the sides, so it’s a little bit more acoustically balanced. You can see up close at what each musician is doing and how intricately they’re performing.”

Admission is $25 per regular ticket or $20 per series special ticket for those who purchase four or more tickets to the series.

Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling 814-254-4033 or online at www.GrandHalle.com/concerts.

They will also be available at the door.

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