MERCED -- Music lovers can chase away the winter blues this weekend as the Merced Symphony Association presents their Winter Concert featuring "Winds of the San Joaquin."
"Jennie (Blomster) has put together a fantastic program for Saturday night," Music Director Henrik Hansen said.
"There is wit, American sounds, dances, a little bit of blues and some classical pieces, all woven into a tapestry of enjoyment and excitement. It is very seldom you get to hear a wind quintet live, so, here is your chance," Hansen said.
The "Winds of the San Joaquin" is a woodwind quintet formed from faculty members at Fresno State University, including Jennie Blomster, principal horn player in the Merced Symphony Orchestra. It is an unusual ensemble, particularly in the Merced area.
"It's a really cool combination of contrast and blend," Blomster said. "A distinctive mix of timbres not often heard in the Central Valley."
"Blomster is a refined horn player," Hansen said. "Her playing is expressive and she gets the finer shades and nuances out in the music. And yet she's down to earth, very approachable. She is one of the many gems in our symphony."
The Winter Concert features a wide range of styles.
"The opening, 'Three Short Pieces' by Jacques Ibert are very tongue in cheek and make fun of the way the instruments are played," Hansen said.
Obviously Ibert doesn't take himself too seriously.
On the other end of the spectrum you have Liadov's more serious "Russian Folk Dances," which are famous tunes collected from different regions of Russia.
The concert concludes with some more dances by Denes Agay's, this time inspired by South America and exudes an infectious Latin tinge of Tango, Bolero and the Rumba. Be prepared for a super animated and entertaining evening."
A "Sounds of America" medley will feature many folk songs that will be familiar to a number of people.
"The music on the program ranges from classical and contemporary to folk, jazz, and pop," Blomster said. "We even do one piece with Alphorn. Something for just about everybody."
Judy Edwina Smith, board president and concert chair, said the concert is one of her favorites of the season.
"It is performed in a more intimate setting with the audience much closer than in a large hall," she said.
"There is more opportunity for our patrons to interact with the musicians who will talk about some of the individual pieces before playing them.
"The woodwinds are able to evoke a range of feelings to the audience simply because of the types of instruments being played. There is truly something for everyone," Smith said.
WHEN: Preconcert reception is today at 6:30 p.m., recital at 7:30.
WHERE: Merced Multicultural Arts Center, 645 W. Main St.
TICKETS: $35 adults, $10 students
CALL: (209) 383-3277