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The magnificent seven — Trinity Concert Series kicks off this afternoon with acclaimed cellist

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Trinity Concert Series fans have put their trust in Kyle P. Ramey to craft outstanding lineups each year. But this year, something seemed to be missing and it worried many of the series’ patrons.

“I received several dozen calls from people concerned that we weren’t having a series,” Mr. Ramey said. “They hadn’t received their information at the end of August like they normally do.”

But when they were told there would be a season, that’s all many of them needed to hear.

“We had a number of patrons support the series before they knew what the performers were,” said Mr. Ramey, organist and choirmaster at Trinity Episcopal Church, 227 Sherman St.

The season brochures finally arrived early this month. Planning the season took a while longer this year, but the seven-concert series, set at Trinity, begins at 3 this afternoon with cellist Sophie Shao.

In addition to touring musicians, the 2013-14 season features return engagements by Watertown Musica Viva and the Sackets Harbor Vocal Arts Ensemble.

The Jan. 5 concert by Watertown Musica Viva will mark the 50th performance in the series. Ticket prices for that concert will be reduced by 50 percent to celebrate.

But once again, the series, as in the past few years, will offer an ever better deal for students. Thanks in part to funding from the Northern New York Community Foundation, all tickets for students in K-12 or in college are free for all concerts.

Mr. Ramey said he has seen a steady increase in the number of students attending the concerts as word of the policy has spread.

“Not only is this a series we want people to enjoy, we want to promote the arts for our younger generation,” he said.

Mr. Ramey said it’s gratifying when he sees a young piano student in the audience enjoying the work of a master pianist.

“It inspires them to work harder,” he said.

Receptions are held after each concert for the audience.

“The kids and everybody can meet and speak with the artists and find out more about them,” Mr. Ramey said. “The kids, especially, look up to these people and they get the real human side to it as well. They realize (the performers are) just normal people.”

This season’s lineup:

Today

Cellist Sophie Shao

At the age of 19, Ms. Shao received the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and has since performed throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. The New York Times has applauded her “eloquent, powerful” interpretations of repertoire ranging from Bach and Beethoven to George Crumb.

A native of Houston, Ms. Shao began playing the cello at age 6 and was a student of Shirley Trepel, former principal cellist of the Houston Symphony. At age 13 she enrolled at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, studying cello with David Soyer.

After graduating from Curtis, she continued her cello studies with Aldo Parisot at Yale University, New Haven, Conn., receiving a bachelor’s degree in religious studies from Yale College and a master’s degree from the Yale School of Music, where she was enrolled as a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow.

Ms. Shao is on the faculty of Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, and the Bard Conservatory of Music, Annandale-on-Hudson. She plays a cello made by Honore Derazey in 1860 that was once owned by Pablo Casals, one of the greatest cellists of all time.

Today’s concert begins at 3 p.m.

Jan. 5

Watertown Musica Viva:

“On the Twelfth Day of Christmas”

This concert will celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day. Included will be “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” “In the Bleak Mid-Winter,” “The Old Year Now Away is Fled” and “The Three Kings.”

Watertown Musica Viva, under the direction of Mr. Ramey, is in its fourth season. It is an auditioned chamber choir made up of singers who share a love of challenging choral music.

In addition to the half-price tickets to celebrate the series’ 50th performance, there will be a Twelfth Night party following the concert.

Feb. 9

Milana & Marina

“Four Hands at Two Pianos”

Ukrainian-American pianist Marina Radiushina is a prize winner of several international competitions, including the prestigious Vladimir Horowitz International Piano Competition in Kiev. She will be joined by Moldovan-American Milana Strezeva, a founding member of the award-winning Manhattan Piano Trio. Ms. Strezeva also has won numerous piano competitions around the world.

The pair began their collaboration last year.

March 2

Rob Auler on piano

Mr. Auler has been on the faculty of SUNY Oswego since 2003 and was recently promoted to associate professor of piano. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2004. He has won numerous piano competitions around the world. As a concerto soloist, Mr. Auler has appeared with Symphony Syracuse, the Cincinnati Philharmonia Orchestra, the Tulare County Symphony in California, the Aberdeen Symphony in South Dakota, the Northwest Florida Symphony and several others.

April 5

Brass-Hoppers

This act is a collaboration between British trombonist Richard Harris and American trumpeter Tom Bergeron. Accompanied by a pianist, the Brass-Hoppers present an eclectic blend of classical music and jazz-inspired arrangements of standards and popular tunes. The pair met while performing with the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra in New York City.

May 4

Sackets Harbor Vocal Arts Ensemble

“O’er the Land of the Free: A Choral Portrait of America”

The regional chorus, under the direction of Richard Probert, returns for the 2013-14 season to present a concert celebrating American choral masterpieces from Aaron Copland, Randall Thompson, Howard Hanson and others. Music in a range of styles will be mixed with texts by Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, Francis Scott Key and Abraham Lincoln.

June 1

“Sounds of Grandeur:

Music for Trumpet and Organ”

This program of original music will feature Mr. Ramey on organ and trumpeter Christopher Trombley.

Mr. Trombley, Rodman, is a strong advocate of music education programs in schools. He co-produced an annual “Rock the Schools” concert in Manhattan.

Mr. Ramey attended Westminster Choir College, Princeton, N.J., where he majored in organ performance. He regularly performs at venues around the U.S.

THE DETAILS
WHAT: The 2013-14 Trinity Concert Series
WHEN/WHERE: The seven-concert series kicks off at 3 p.m. today with cellist Sophie Shao, concluding June 1.
All concerts are held at Trinity Episcopal Church, 227 Sherman St., Watertown.
Preferred seating season tickets are available at $78 for adults and $68.25 for senior citizens age 62 and older and for members of the military.
General admission season tickets are $68.25 for adults and for $58.50 for seniors and members of the military.
Preferred seating individual tickets for each concert are $14 for adults and $12 for seniors and members of the military.
General admission individual tickets for each concert are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and members of the military.
However, all individual tickets for the Jan. 5 Musica Viva concert are reduced by 50 percent from the above prices.
Tickets for all concerts are free for students in grades K-12 and for college students.
TO ORDER: Go to the series’ website at www.trinityconcerts.org or call the church at 788-6290, ext. 3. Tickets also are sold at the door.
ON THE NET: www.trinityconcerts.org
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