For the past 34 years, the congregation of Bryan's First Presbyterian Church have provided wonderful music to the community free of charge. It is an amazing gift, one that deserves the thanks of the entire community.
The 35th season of Concerts on Carter Creek will continue this great tradition, with five amazing concerts at the church, which is located at 1100 Carter Creek Parkway in Bryan.
Here is a look at the Concerts on Carter Creek 35th season:
• Brass Beats, Oct. 8, 5 p.m. -- Based in Houston, Brass Beats include Robert Chambers, trumpet; James Lee, trombone; Phillip Scoles, trumpet; Joe Beam, percussion; Emily Nagel, horn; Victor Gomez, tuba; and Luke Hubley, percussion. Their repertoire ranges from the Baroque to the Classical eras all the way to jazz, funk and rock.
• Brazos Chamber Players, Nov. 12, 5 p.m. -- Penny Zent, flute; Rebecca Haskins, oboe; Jill Stewart, clarinet; Eric Miller, bassoon; Steven Winter, French horn; Chris Hoffman, piano comprise the Brazos Chamber Players. These talented musicians, many of them section leaders with our Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra, have put together a selection of classical masterpieces for this concert.
• Neave Trio, Jan. 21, 5 p.m. -- Hailed as one of the finest young chamber ensembles, the Neave Trio has found worldwide success in concerts and at music festivals. Members of the trio are Anna Williams, violin; Mikhail Veselov, cello; and Eri Nakamura, pianist.
Robert Sherman of WQXR NYC Radio said, "Neave is actually a Gaelic name meaning 'bright' and 'radiant,' both of which certainly apply to this trio's music making."
Jerry Dubins of Fanfare magazine said, "I've claimed repeatedly that we are blessed to be living in a golden age of chamber music ... we have exceeded the gold standard and have now moved on to platinum. Yes, the Neave Trio is that good."
• Quarternaglia Guitar Quartet, with the fabulously talented pianist James Dick, March 1, 7 p.m. -- This concert is presented in collaboration with the Friends of Chamber Music. The quartet was formed in 1992 in São Paulo, Brazil. Its current embers are Sidney Molina, Thiago Abdalla, Fabio Ramazzina and Chrystian Dozza. The quartet has assembled an impressive collection of original works by Brazilian composers. And, of course, James Dick is the founder of the Round Top Festival Institute, a beacon of civility in an increasingly uncivil world.
• Pianist Ilya Yakushev, March 18, 5 p.m. -- Russian pianist Ilya Yakushev has soloed with symphonies around the country and the world. American Record Guide said, "Yakushev is one of the very best young pianists before the public today, and it doesn't seem to matter what repertoire he plays -- it is all of the highest caliber."
All the concerts are free and child care is provided. Most of the concerts will be followed by a reception with the artists.
Concerts on Carter Creek traces its roots to the arrival of Robert Leslie as pastor of First Presbyterian Church in 1981. Not only is Leslie an outstanding preacher, he is an amazing musician and, in 1982, he joined with members of the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra for Joseph Haydn's Emperor Quartet and Robert Schumann's piano quintet.
Leslie said, "John Calvin, the 16th century father of the Presbyterian church, had declared in many of his writings that music was one of God's greatest gifts to humankind." Building on that, Leslie asked the church's leaders to establish a music series to give local musicians a venue for their talents.
In a written history, Leslie said, "For the first decades of its existence, Concerts on Carter Creek sought out gifted local musicians to be the mainstays of the program series, musicians such as flutist Linda Wiley, oboist Dr. Philip Alexander, mezzo-soprano Patricia Peters, violinists Robert Kenefick and Mary Leland, cellist Arch Baker, and flutist Penny Zent.
"From time to time performers came from nearby schools of music such as Baylor University and Sam Houston State University. Occasionally others came from farther afield, such as clarinetist Steve Matthes from Corvallis, Oregon, and tenor Barry Craft from Dallas.
"Graduate organ students from Baylor, some of whom later became concert organists, performed in the series.
"Emily Pulley, College Station native and noted opera star, performed while she was a graduate student at the University of North Texas. The church's chancel choir, its men's and brass ensembles highlighted many of the Carter Creek concerts. The chancel choir presented numerous choral works."
First Presbyterian continues to be an important venue for local and area talent. Leslie said, "First Presbyterian Church's sanctuary acoustics, its two pipe organs, the 19th century Mason and Hamlin grand piano, and its harpsichord, made it a place that cried out for music.
"Dr. Joyce Jones, professor emeritus of organ at Baylor University who has also performed on the series, has deemed the church's three-manual Moller organ to be one of the finest in Texas."
Initial funding for Concerts on Carter Creek was a $3,000 gift from the First Presbyterian endowment fund. In 2004, the John G. Otts Jr. estate made a $50,000 donation to the concerts. Since then, there have been occasional private donations and the Gilbert and Thyra Plass Arts Foundation and the Ham Trust have become sustaining sponsors.
For more information on Concerts on Carter Creek, go online to www.fpcbryan.org/concerts-on-carter-creek.
• Through Thursday -- XYZ Atlas: The Experience Map of Bryan and College Station, interactive public art project by artist Jennifer Chenoweth, Brazos Valley African American Museum, 500 E. Pruett St. in Bryan. (bvaam.org)
• Through Sept. 8 -- Person, Places, Things, an exhibit by College Station Artist in Residence Jayde Archbold, Texas Galley in the Arts Center, 2275 Dartmouth St., College Station. Free. (acbv.org/events)
• Sept. 15 -- Babe, part of the 2017 Summer Film Series at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, games and free refreshments starting at 7 p.m. (Bush41.org)
• Sept. 15 through Oct. 1 -- Steel Magnolias, Navasota Theatre Alliance, 104 W. Washington Ave. in downtown Navasota, Fridays through Saturdays and final Thursday at 7 p.m., with matinees on Sundays at 2 p.m. $7 to $14. Dinner theater on Sept. 23rd at 5:45 p.m. $25, which includes the play. (navasotatheatre.org)
• Sept. 22 and 23 -- Brazos Bluebonnet Guild's judged quilt show, Brazos Center, vendors, scissor sharpening, raffle baskets. $5. (BBOG.org)
• Every Sunday -- Open mics and poetry slams sponsored by Mic Check Poetry, 8:30 p.m. Revolution Café in Downtown Bryan, (miccheckpoetry.com)