PORT TOWNSEND – Two women will dive headlong into the music they love on Thursday night in hopes of lifting hearts and providing support to local people in need.
It’s the monthly candlelight concert, with cellist Pamela Roberts and pianist Sheila Harwood, an hour of classics broadcast live at 7 p.m. Thursday from Trinity United Methodist Church via trinityumcpt.org and simultaneously broadcast on KPTZ-FM 91.9.
Admission is free, while donations will be shared with Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCAP), the venerable provider of housing assistance and other necessities for residents of Jefferson and Clallam counties. For more information, see OlyCAP.org.
The duo chose pieces “easily accessible and very melodic,” said Roberts, who has been playing cello – in orchestras across the country – since she was a young teenager.
“We’re going to start with a traditional baroque piece that is really upbeat and welcoming,” she said.
The evening will also visit Maurice Ravel, Gabriel Fauré, Sergei Rachmaninoff, François Couperin, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Robert Schumann and Aaron Copland, many of them for short trips. The performance will be summery, Roberts promised, with light music that feels good to the ears.
“We will end the program with a Debussy sonata, one of the most beautiful pieces ever written,” added Roberts.
“It is an absolute masterpiece for cello and piano, full of brilliant colors and strange gestures. It’s just magic.
Harwood, whose home is on Marrowstone Island, and Roberts, who lives in Quilcene, met about three years ago after the cellist’s long hiatus due to injuries in a car crash. The women discovered that they were soul mates.
“Sheila and I come from the same time at the University of Washington. We were both there at a remarkable time when the faculty was full of immigrant musicians who had fled Nazi Germany, ”said Roberts. It was in the mid-1970s, when she was the recipient of two coveted scholarships from the Brechemin Family Foundation.
Roberts has since become Principal Cellist of the Port Townsend Symphony Orchestra, while Harwood is Music Director of the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Port Townsend.
“I work with a great team of musicians; we coordinate every Sunday service, ”she said, adding that the church, which is not open for in-person attendance, continues to broadcast its services live. Harwood and her team select the music and performers – a job she loves.
“Playing with Pam is always very rewarding,” she added.
When the pianist and cellist started practicing together, both were “very shy. Finally, we got our chops back. And [Roberts] is just a very deep and real McCoy artist.
Thursday night’s concert is for the listener who wants “a really, really satisfying game,” Harwood said.
“We will enjoy every minute,” said Roberts, adding that she hopes people will consider donating to OlyCAP, an organization she wholeheartedly supports.
Harwood, for her part, is looking forward to playing Trinity United’s Petrov piano, an instrument she called “very soft”.
“We get all the juice out of everything we play,” she joked.
Jefferson County Senior Reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected] news.com.