On Sunday, May 15, 2011, the newly formed Essex Consort performed to a full house at the Essex Congregational Church to benefit Sister Cities Essex Haiti.
The Essex Consort is a multi-talented group of professional musicians who come together from across the country to present engaging chamber music in a variety of settings. Their mission is to create vibrant, informative programs that encourage personal reflection and foster the development of meaningful connections between listeners and their communities.
Karen Birch Blundell, oboe and English horn, Adam de Sorgo, piano and oboe, and Kristen Leitterman, voice and oboe, performed a variety of pieces from Bach to a piece by Phillip Rothman written expressly for Karen Birch Blundell.
Karen Birch Blundell, formerly an Essex, CT resident, is the daughter of Ed and Marsha Burch. She is second oboe of the Sarasota Orchestra, and also teaches as a member of the faculty at the Eastern Music Festival.
Adam de Sorgo is the principal oboe of the Sarasota Orchestra, a member of the Sarasota Wind Quintet, and also principal oboe of the Utah Festival Orchestra. He is also an accomplished pianist and accompanied Karen Birch Blundell on the oboe.
Kristin Leitterman is a graduate, magna cum laude, from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City where she studied oboe and voice. In the fall, Ms Leitterman will begin her work on a DMA in New York City at the CUNY Graduate Center.
The pieces included solo oboe, Prairie Song, by Cecilia McDowall and Tango Etude no. 3 by Astor Piasolla, perfromed by Karen Birch Blundell. She was accompanied by Adam de Sorga in the piece by Bill Douglas, Sonata for Oboe and Piano.
Adam de Sorga performed two of the 6 Etudes pour Hautbois by Gilles Silvestrini, evoquing Claude Monet’s Hôtel des Roches Noires à Trouville by Claude Monet and Le Ballet Espagnol by Edourard Manet, both of which were projected on a screen.
After intermission, Karen Leitterman was the vocalist for J.S. Bach’s Sich uben im Lieben from Cantata 202, accompanied by oboe and piano.
Before Spring, composed by Philip Rothman expressly for Karen Birch Blundell on the English Horn, preceded the final piece, Beethoven’s Trio for Two Oboes and English Horn, performed by all three musicians.
The concert was conceived by Karen Birch Blundell to benefit Sister Cities Essex Haiti, after attending the October 2011 fundraiser held at the Connecticut River Museum. Sister Cities Essex Haiti, formed soon after the January 2011 earthquake in Haiti, supports projects in rural Deschapelles, Haiti, identified by the residents of Deschapelles, and also supports Hôpital Albert Schweitzer, located in Deschapelles. The first project, to establish a library for the community of Deschapelles, is well underway. A second project, very timely, requested by the local Deschapelles band, Fanfare, to augment their instruments with additional band instruments as well as music scores began with a musical collaboration and exchange in June 2011. Their goal is to increase the number and quality of their instruments and to slowly create a music school. Sister Cities Essex Haiti hopes that anyone with a band instrument languishing in their closets will be interested in putting them back in use by donating them to this effort. The musical fraternity, Sigma Alpha Iota’s People to People program has generously helped with the purchase of instruments that do not usually languish in people’s closets such as a tuba, a baritone, a bass drum and other bass instruments. They also supported the purchase of music scores, technique books and music stands. If you would like to donate an instrument to this continuing effort, please contact us.
The Executive Committee and the Development Committee as well as the Board of Sister Cities Essex Haiti are very grateful to Karen Birch Blundell, Kristen Leitterman and Adam de Sorga for the gift of their time and talents for this wonderful concert. Many thanks go as well to Ken Peterkin, rector of the Essex Congregational Church, and the members of the church for permitting this concert to be held there. Thanks also to the ladies of the Congregational Church for hosting the joyous reception that followed.