Mezzo-soprano Melissa Attebury, tenor Stephen Sands and pianist Mitchell Vines, our congregation’s music director, will perform the first concert of Afternoon Music’s 2016-2017 season at 4 p.m., Sunday, December 4, in our acoustically appealing sanctuary.
The program includes Benjamin Britten’s Abraham and Isaac as well as solos and duets by Haydn, Saint-Saëns, Fauré and Sondheim. The audience is invited to meet the artists at a reception following the concert.
Melissa Attebury has been praised by The New York Times as a “rich-toned alto who brought a measure of depth to her performance.” She appears widely as a soloist in concert and oratorio, is admired for her operatic roles and is a soloist in the Bach at One series with Julian Wachner and the Choir of Trinity Wall Street.
Recent performances at Carnegie Hall include the Rachmaninoff Vespers with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic and the Messiah with the New Jersey Masterworks Chorus. She is a featured soloist on the Grammy-nominated CD of Israel in Egypt with the Choir of Trinity Wall Street and was part of the ensemble for Julia Wolfe’s 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winning work Anthracite Fields, recorded with Bang on a Can All-Stars.
Attebury is also a specialist in the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan, where she has been hailed by The Kansas City Star as “appealing both vocally and comedically.” She is the Associate Director of Music at Trinity Wall Street and is on the faculty of Berkshire Choral International.
Tenor Stephen Sands is highly sought after as a soloist, conductor, music educator and ensemble member. Praised by The New York Times as “a tenor with a focused, powerful tone,” he has been heard as the Evangelist and tenor in numerous performances of Bach’s sacred oratorios, most recently with the Trinity Choir and Baroque Orchestra in Bach’s St. John Passion.
He is a full-time member of the Choir of Trinity Wall Street under the direction of Julian Wachner. He has also sung with the Carmel Bach Festival Chorale, Pomerium, the Vox Vocal Ensemble and Clarion Music Society.
Sands is conductor of Downtown Voices, a semi-pro choral group that is part of the Trinity Wall Street music program, and a founding member and executive director of the internationally award-winning Antioch Chamber Ensemble, widely regarded as one of the finest professional vocal ensembles in the country.
In addition to his successful performing career, he is a respected music educator and conductor in New Jersey. For more than 17 years, he has taught choral music in grades 3-12 in the Somerset Hills School District. In 2016-2017, he will lead the Somerset Hills Community Chorus in a concert of Mozart’s Requiem and will conduct a concert of Handel’s Water Music on a lake in Far Hills.
Pianist Mitchell Vines, artistic director of Afternoon Music, has an active performing career that has taken him across the United States and to Europe, South America and Asia. He was twice soloist with the New York Repertory Orchestra, performing Bartok’s 3rd piano concerto and Milhaud’s Le Carnaval d’Aix.
“The sensitive playing of American pianist Mitchell Vines captivated the audience. He performed with virtuosity and bravura,” wrote a critic for the German newspaper Hessiche-Niedersächsische Allgemeine.
Vines’ teaching and performing experience includes positions with the Aspen Music Festival, Berkshire Choral International, New York Summer Opera Scenes, Cunard Cruise Lines and Trinity Wall Street. Recent recordings include a CD of compositions by Paul Zeigler, a recital with Japanese soprano Selena Miyazaki, and collaboration with flutist Tia Roper on Albany Records.
Vines earned a Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music, where he held a fellowship in accompanying and was awarded the Performer’s Certificate. He is currently music and choir director at Temple Israel of the City of New York as well as at The Unitarian Church in Summit.
For the next concerts of the season, Afternoon Music presents renowned jazz pianist Fred Hersch on January 29 and the Lark String Quartet on March 26.
Afternoon Music tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for seniors. Students are welcome free. Subscriptions for all three concerts are $65 and seniors $50.
For advance tickets, send a check made out to Afternoon Music to the church at 4 Waldron Avenue, Summit, NJ, 07901. Further information is available at (908) 273-2899 or www.ucsummit.org.
The Afternoon Music series is funded in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Department of State, and a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, through a grant administered by the Union County Division of Cultural & Heritage Affairs.