The St. Martha-Yamaha Concert Series moves Sunday to the Broad Performing Arts Center at Barry University in Miami Shores with a performance by renowned Chicago quintet Axiom Brass.
The band features longtime instrumentalists who play two trumpets, a trombone, horn, and tuba. With the collaborative sounds and tunes of the instruments, Axiom Brass performs various genres of music, including classical, jazz, Latin, New Music and more.
Axiom Brass is looking forward to an impressive turnout for Sunday’s concert, the first for the St. Martha-Yamaha Concert Series at Broad Performing Arts Center.
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“We are excited to be moving to Barry,” said Julie Williamson, the series’ chairwoman. “We are staying true to our mission, presenting world class concerts at movie ticket prices, and the [refreshments] and parking remain free. And we’re not moving far, Barry is only two miles from St. Martha Church that has been our home for our first 10 seasons. We shall have the same wonderful acoustics, but more seating and more parking. And our volunteers will ensure the same welcoming ambiance.”
The Broad Performing Arts Center can hold 970 people, compared to 650 at St. Martha. There is also more parking. The free refreshments included in after-concert receptions remains a critical part of the mission allowing the audience to meet the artists in person, while viewing artwork created by local students.
The music series has a longstanding relationship with Yamaha and Yamaha’s Florida dealer, Piano Music Center.
“As always,” Williamson said, “Piano Music Center to the rescue, moving and caring for our wonderful conservatory grand piano that has, literally, been hugged onstage by many of our artists.”
With the move to Barry, the series will work the university’s Fine Arts and Music programs.
Another concert is already scheduled: the Paul Posnak-Russ Harbaugh-Scott Flavin Trio, which will perform at the Broad on Palm Sunday, March29.
“The series has blossomed into an event unlike any I’ve known. In the process, lives are changed and we are all one,” said pianist Shelly Berg, dean of the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music and composer of the series’ first commissioned work, Martha and Mary Meditation.
The series is also continuing its Arts-in-the-Schools program. The artists conduct at least one master class and one concert in public schools. This year, the program looks forward to working with Miami Beach Senior High and Natural Bridge Elementary School. In addition, the schools’ art students display their work at post-concert receptions. One student’s artwork is used as the cover for the concert program and that student is presented to the audience before the concert.
“Your musicians demonstrated the discipline, dedication and unbridled joy that the arts bring into the lives of their listeners as well as the lives of the practitioners,” said Tom Virgin, an art teacher at Miami Beach Senior High who coordinates the program at the school. “I know the pride my art students felt at seeing their work displayed with hundreds of patrons of the arts present to give them feedback. It has been a privilege to help you bring this joy, experience and professionalism to our students.”
Williamson’s father, the late Fred Stulce, was a saxophone player and arranger for the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. He also commented on his feelings towards the artists.
“I didn’t inherit my father’s musical ability so the concerts have been my way of bringing music to the world,” Williamson said. “Our concerts, first in a Catholic Church and now at a great Catholic University, have never been religious but they have inevitably been spiritual. How can you hear a great singer like Sandra Lopez, Lisa Vroman or Helen Donath, a great musician like Nestor Torres or Paul Posnak, or a great composer and pianist like Shelly Berg and not be uplifted?”
Barry has opened the Vivian Decker Alumni Center to the company for ticket sales; from 10 to 2 on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.
“Volunteer Ann Saladino will continue to bring that personal touch so loved by the concert goers,” Williamson said. “Our original series attendees will remember that Vivian Decker, one of Barry’s distinguished alumnae and long-time Board member, was a co-founder of our series. Our Aunt Vee is still looking after us.”