PHOTOGRAPHS by JOE CANTRELL
ON A WARM JULY EVENING in a rustic barn on a berry farm in rural Washington County, a joyful noise reached up to the darkening sky. It wasn’t mooing or neighing or the bleating of sheep. It was the ringing of a piano and flute and piccolo, and voices raised in song. And the crowd, gathered at tables scattered beneath strings of lights, was lending a happy collective ear.
The concert, on the evening of Wednesday, July 27, was the first of the second season of The Concerts at the Barn, the summer series conceived by Niel DePonte, music director of Oregon Ballet Theatre and longtime, recently retired principal percussionist of the Oregon Symphony Orchestra.
Summer concerts such as this series and Yamhill County’s Willamette Valley Chamber Music Festival, which hops from winery to winery, tend to be relaxed affairs, even while the music’s taken seriously. This one, in the country setting of Butler Barn at Hoffman Farms, 22242 S.W. Scholls Ferry Road, Beaverton, was all of that. The barn will host three more concerts in the series, through August 31.
This summer’s kickoff concert featured Zach Galatis, flutist and piccolo player for the Oregon Symphony, along with pianist Maria Garcia and sopranos Avery and Audrey Sackett. It was a nimble program, blending Galatis’s flute and piccolo repertoire with a touch of Broadway: The Sacketts joined Galatis singing tunes from shows by the likes of Jason Robert Brown (Songs for a New World; Parade; The Last Five Years), Pasek & Paul (Dear Evan Hansen; La La Land) and Stephen Sondheim.
“For his encore, Zach covered Elton John’s ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,’ again quite beautifully,” said photographer Joe Cantrell, who was on hand taking pictures from every which angle. “Meantime, that sunset, the irrigation, the crows with the flying water, it was breezy but not windy and the air there felt 15 degrees cooler than my house with its broken air conditioner.
“Niel’s hosting of the event was so charming and pleasant, it deserved mention, too. This felt down home, thoroughly professional, very high art and fun. What a lovely event! And everyone is looking forward to Nancy Ives in a couple of weeks. So, of course, am I.”
The remaining three concerts:
- Nancy Ives, Aug. 10. The concert will feature Ives – principal cellist of the Oregon Symphony, composer, chamber music stalwart – and friends.
- Ben Kim, Aug. 24. Kim, the pianist and Portland native who’s performed worldwide, from the Seoul Philharmonic to the Bavarian Radio Orchestra to the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall, will be featured in a recital.
- Outdoor Spectacular Double Concert, Aug. 31. Held outdoors on the lawn outside the Butler Barn, this pair of concerts will feature the Arcturus Wind Quintet in the afternoon and vocalist Susannah Mars headlining an evening show of song and jazz.