The moon was out. The wildflowers and the tractor, too. And the musicians, husband-and-wife cellists Trevor Fitzpatrick and Marilyn DeOliveira and violist Amanda Grimm. And of course, the audience, which on this balmy July evening was so intent that … well, if you’d heard a needle drop, it might’ve been in a haystack.
On this final Wednesday in July everyone was gathered at the Butler Barn at Hoffman Farms, a 200-acre berry farm in rural Beaverton, for the opening night of this summer’s Concerts at the Barn. In its second season, the series of classical-plus-jazz-and-a bit-more concerts, the brainchild of the veteran percussion virtuoso and conductor Niel DePonte, has rapidly claimed a spot for itself on the Greater Portland summer musical calendar. Three more concerts remain, through Aug. 30.
Wednesday’s concert was called “You Had Me at Cel-Lo!,” and that was the order of the evening: Headliners were Fitzpatrick and DeOliveira, both cellists in the Oregon Symphony Orchestra, who were joined by Grimm, the symphony’s principal violist. A lot of other classical musicians will be on hand in the coming concerts, plus a few others, among them jazz legend Mel Brown.
The opening-night music was, of course, invigorating, ranging from Barriére to Beethoven, Popper to Wiancko to Kenji Bunch, with a liberal dash of John Lennon, Henry Mancini, Coldplay and more. But then, so was the entire evening, which took place, after all, on a working farm. The open skies, the birds and flowers and rustic barn and farm equipment and scents of berries and other growth all combined to create almost a sensory overload of pleasure, like playing a pipe organ with all the stops out. And this year the Concerts at the Barn musicians are performing on one of Oregon’s newest cultural curiosity/attractions, the mobile stage SoundsTruck NW, which can pretty much take itself anywhere it wants and set up for a show.
Photographer Joe Cantrell was on hand for opening night, capturing a sense of the place and the sounds and the enthusiasm of musicians and crowd. “Excitement was in the air, witness the aerial congestion above,” he said, referring to the light plane hanging above the moon in the photo below. “The Farm was only heightening the excitement.”
— The Editors
Coming up at The Barn
- Wednesday, Aug. 9, 7:30 p.m.: “Around the World in 80 Minutes.” A grand tour (though not in a balloon) of music by some of Europe’s great composers, plus a quick zip across the ocean for a few Broadway tunes. With Martha Long, Maria Garcia, and Zach Galatis.
- Wednesday, Aug. 23, 7:30 p.m.: “Shakespeare in Love.” Yoko Greeney and Susan Dewitt Smith perform an original multimedia version of Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, plus dual-piano arrangements from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, with Niel DePonte joining on percussion.
- Wednesday, Aug. 30, 6:30-9:15 p.m.: Outdoor Spectacular Double Concert. A season-concluding double concert: jazz master Mel Brown and his B3 Organ Group featuring vocalist Arietta Ward; and opera arias from Lark Opera.
- Where: The Butler Barn at Hoffman Farms, 22242 S.W. Scholls Ferry Road, Beaverton.
- Ticket and other information here.