After the traditional end of summer lull, the arts world is picking up with a full slate of activity scheduled over the next nine to 12 months. Break out your calendar so you can keep up with all that is going on.

Within a matter of hours on Monday, I received schedules for two of the most important and wonderful arts organizations in this area: Community Chamber Concerts and Concerts on Carter Creek. As in years past, both groups have scheduled outstanding concerts that are presented free to the community.

Perhaps the idea has taken hold in some quarters that since the concerts are free, they can't be very good. Nothing could be further from the truth. Both the Friends of Chamber Music and the congregation of First Presbyterian Church in Bryan bring in some of the world's best performers as a gift to the community. Concerts are presented at no charge and include free child care and a post-concert reception.

So be sure to mark your calendars today for both concert series.

We'll start with a look at the Community Chamber Concerts series since its email arrived first. For 22 years, the Friends of Chamber Music have sponsored the popular events.

The series begins at 7 p.m. Friday with the WindSync Wind Quintet.

In an effort to make the concerts more accessible to students at Texas A&M, four of the concerts -- including the one Friday night -- will be at A&M United Methodist Church, 417 University Drive in College Station. The other two will be at the concert series' traditional venue at Bryan's First Presbyterian Church.

According to its website, the WindSync Wind Quintet features new works by American composers, as well as premiere arrangements of standard selections with a goal of increasing accessibility and "cultural significance" of wind chamber music.

Now in its ninth season, the quintet, based in Houston, tours nationally and internationally, often focusing on children, families and underserved audiences.

Members of the WindSync Wind Quintet include Garrett Hudson, flute; Emily Tsai, oboe; Julian Hernandez, clarinet; Kara KaMoure, Bassoon; and Anni Hochhalter, horn.

Other concerts on the series include:

• Bach Society Houston, Oct. 26, 7 p.m., A&M United Methodist Church.

• American Brass Quintet, Nov. 27, 7 p.m., First Presbyterian Church.

• Schumann String Quartet, Jan. 29, 7 p.m. A&M United Methodist Church.

• Mark Husey, organ, Feb. 19, 7 p.m. A&M United Methodist Church.

• Dover String Quartet, April 8, 7 p.m., First Presbyterian Church, a joint presentation with Concerts on Carter Creek.

For more information, go to

More information will appear before each concert.

Concerts on Carter Creek

We'll have to wait a couple months for the first Concert on Carter Creek, but patience truly will be a virtue. All concerts are at the acoustically amazing First Presbyterian Church, 1100 Carter Creek Parkway in Bryan.

The season will begin a 5 p.m. on Nov. 18 with pianist Tao Lin.

A native of Shanghai, Lin possesses "keen musical intelligence and excellent facility," according to the Miami Herald and an "opulent and romantic tone," according to Fanfare.

The series will include:

• Houston Chamber Ringers, Dec. 2, 5 p.m.

• Fandango, an ensemble of flute, violin, guitar and cello, Jan. 20, 5 p.m.

• Dover String Quartet, April 8, 7 p.m., First Presbyterian Church, a joint presentation with Community Chamber Concerts.

For more information, go to,

More information on the concerts will appear prior to each event.

Sensational Sasha

The immensely talented Sasha Cooke -- one of College Station's great gifts to the marvelous world of opera -- will be featured in Antonín Dvorák's Stabat Mater, to be presented by the Houston Symphony and Chorus at 8 p.m. Sept. 27 and 29 and 2:30 p.m. Sept. 30. All performances will be in Jones Hall in downtown Houston.

Dvorák based his work on the mediaevel hymn Stabat mater, attributed to Franciscan monk Jacopone da Todi. It depicts the crucifixion of Christ from the perspective of his mother, Mary. Dvorák composed his piece in response to the death of his first three children in infancy. Stabat Mater premiered in London in 1880.

Cooke is a mezzo who will be joined for the concerts by Lucy Crowe, soprano; Toby Spence, tenor; and Dashon Burton, baritone, all under the direction of Andres Orozco-Estrada.

Cooke's parents are professors of Russian at Texas A&M. She graduated from A&M Consolidated High School and attended Rice University, Julliard and the Metropolitan Opera's program. She and her husband, also a singer, and two children now live in The Woodlands.

The New York Times has called Cooke a "luminous standout," while Opera News said she displays "equal parts poise, radiance and elegant directness." She has appeared with numerous symphonies, including out own Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra.

Tickets range from $25 to $125 and are available online at www.houston

For more information on Cooke, go to

Right away

Alex Parker, a former visualization student at Texas A&M, will open her art series, Tout Sweets, on Monday at The Coffee House on Church Avenue in College Station.

The exhibit will run through Oct. 11.

Parker is now a 2D/3D artist in Dallas. On her website, she describes herself as a "twenty-something animator and designer looking to shake up the creative scene whenever I can.

"I spent four magically sleepless years earning a BS in Visualization from Texas A&M University, (with a semester somewhere in there for an equally magical internship on the Disney College Program), followed by a marathon of a Master of Arts in 3D Computer Animation from Bournemouth University."


• Sept. 27-Oct. 14 -- The Savannah Sipping Society, Unity Theatre, 300 Church St. in Brenham, Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 4 p.m., $27 ($19 for opening night) available at or 979-830-8358.

• Sept. 28 -- Deadline for entries to the Brazos Valley Youth Concerto Competition, sponsored by the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra and its support guild, the Friends Association of the Symphony Orchestra. Entries must be delivered in person or reach the BVSO office at 750 William D. Fitch Pkwy., Suite 430 by 5 p.m. (

• Sept. 28-Oct. 14 -- Southern Fried Murder, Navasota Theatre Alliance, 104 W. Washington Ave. in downtown Navasota, $7 to $14. (

• Oct, 4-20 -- Harvey, StageCenter, in its new home at 218 N. Bryan Ave. in Bryan, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., $10 to $15. (

• Oct. 5-14 -- Anything Goes, with music by Cole Porter, The Theatre Company behind JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts in Bryan's Tejas Center, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m., $7 to $20. (

• Oct. 13 -- Motets, Madrigals, & Masses, Brazos Valley Chorale, First Presbyterian Church, 1100 Carter Creek Pkwy. in Bryan, 7 p.m., $5 and $20. (

• Every Sunday -- Open mics and poetry slams sponsored by Mic Check Poetry, 8:30 p.m. Revolution Café in Downtown Bryan, (

Items for Arts Watch should be emailed to Deadline is noon Tuesday before the weekend you want it to run.

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