Apollo's fire performs new summer program, 'Glory on the Mountain'

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Apollo's Fire will perform several summer concerts, "Glory on the Mountain: An Appalachian Journey," in several venues in the Akron and Cleveland area between June 12 and 22.

Through music, song and a bit of storytelling, "Glory On The Mountain" explores the joys and sorrows of daily life among the early settlers in Appalachia.

"The rich repertoire of renaissance English and Scottish ballads took on its own life in Appalachia during the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries," said Director Jeanette Sorrell. "As the old songs came across the water, they evolved into different versions reflecting the Appalachian psyche and experience. Likewise, the lively fiddle tunes of the British Isles appear in Appalachian sources in differing versions. And then, these people encountered the African slaves and their spirituals. I think at that point, when the British Isles music met the influence of the spirituals, that's when Appalachian music came fully into its own as a unique and distinctive repertoire."

Sorrell and her colleagues follow the "journey" of these songs as they evolve from their British and Celtic roots into distinctly Appalachian versions. At the same time, the program follows the "journey" of the British and Celtic immigrants - mostly impoverished - who crossed the Atlantic and settled in the mountains to build new lives. Passing through love and loss, dancing and prayer, the music overflows in celebration as the people of the mountains raise their communal voices.

As with "Come to the River" and the equally popular "Celtic Christmas" program, Sorrell has built this program around the unique talents and personalities of the individuals involved. Performers includeAmanda Powell, soprano vocals; Ross Hauck, tenor vocals; Tina Bergmann, hammered dulcimer; Susanna Perry Gilmore, fiddle; Kathie Stewart on wooden flutes; René Schiffer on cello; andBrian Kay on lute, guitar and banjo.

The program includes historic/traditional Elizabethan/Appalachian ballads such as Twa Sisters (Two Sisters) and Edward & Queen Jane; British and Celtic fiddle tunes such as Farewell to Ireland, The Highlander's Farewell, and Over the Isles to America; early American party/play songs such as A Frog He Went a-Courtin' and Robin Hood (a 3-part round with audience participation); a set of virtuoso fiddle variations on Oh Susannah; early American shape-note hymns; a couple of early Civil War songs; spirituals such as Oh Mary Don't You Weep and Glory, Glory (Lay My Burden Down); and a bluegrass song called Sweet Appalachia.

Sorrell said she is excited to have the chance to create a second early American program.

"With 'Come to the River,' I was pretty much a newcomer to the field," she said. "I spent two years putting together that program, but I was just starting to get to know the repertoire and the style. I thought we would workshop the program the first year -- presenting it only for our local audience, before taking it on tour. But instead, it ended up premiering in 9 sold-out concerts - that's not really a workshop! So I felt I never got the chance to experiment. This time, I have the foundation of everything I learned about this music and this type of programming, and I'm building on that. I feel I'm starting from a deeper place. And I'm thrilled about the fantastic colleagues who will be performing."

Concert dates and places are:

June 12, 7:30 p.m., June 13 and 14, 8 p.m., and June 15, 7:30 p.m., Baroque Music Barn, SW corner of Shaker Blvd. and Chagrin River Road, Hunting Valley

June 15, 2 p.m., Huntington Playhouse, 28601 Lake Road, Bay Village

June 20 and 21, 8 p.m., Bath Church UCC, 980 W. Bath Road, Bath;

June 22, 3 p.m., Geauga Lyric Theater, 101 Water St., Chardon

There also will be a 45-minute children's version of the concert June 21 at 4 p.m., at the Bath Church UCC. The June 20 at Bath Church, UCC is open to the general public, but will feature discounts for anyone under the age of 30. The concert will be followed by refreshments, conversation with the artists, and an Old-Fashioned Country Dance on the Lawn (weather permitting).

Ticket prices range from $17 to $50 dependent upon location. Student and group discounts are available in select seating sections.

Children's Concert tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children under 18.

Call 800-314-2535 or 216-20-0012, ext. 1.

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