Recap: PARMA Music Festival 2015

The 2015 PARMA Music Festival has come to an end. The weekend of August 14-16 in Portsmouth NH and Kittery ME was filled with concerts and events that brought together classical musicians and ensembles, pop and indie rock groups, electronic artists, and acoustic singer/songwriters. You never know what to expect at the PARMA Music Festival, and this year was no different. 
If you missed out on some of the events, or want to relive a magical moment, we’ve recapped the weekend below.
Friday night the PARMA Music Festival kicked off at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth with electronic and live percussion music by Ivonne Paredes, Bryce Craig, and Adam Vidiksis. Each artists brought their own unique style, modifying and enhancing their instruments with computer-generated sounds. Next to stage was the Chris Klaxton Group, an outstanding jazz ensemble from seacoast New Hampshire. They performed original songs as well as renditions of music by Ben Allison, the Beatles, and the Smashing Pumpkins.

stephaniesĭd at 3S Artspace

Then came stephaniesĭd from Asheville NC, who kept the energy going. Vocalist Stephanie Morgan danced along the stage, each movement bringing her words to light. Her emotional intensity and stage presence as well as the group’s dynamic outpouring was captivating. With all of 3S in high spirits and hunger for more, this concert certainly set the bar for the rest of the Festival.

Saturday morning began at St. John’s Church with a performance of works by Antonín Dvořák and Josef Suk by world-touring Czech violinist and concert manster Vít Mužík, accompanied by pianist and Boston Conservatory professor Karolina Rojahn. Although they had only played together for a short time before, their chemistry was amazing and Vít’s tone and technique was nothing short of exquisite. 
During the early afternoon concert at St. John’s, Mac Ritchey, a New England master of various folk and world instruments, showcased solo oud works that placed listeners in different parts of the world. Following Mac, Joseph Summer’s Shakespeare Concerts from Boston MA presented contemporary and traditional pieces that brought the works and characters of Shakespeare to life. 
BUOY Gallery in Kittery ME was showcasing Kenny Cole’s “Flood,” a unique exhibition featuring a series of encrypted messages flowing along the walls as well as sculptures of cellular phones scattered throughout the room. Salem MA singer/songwriter and DJ Qwill’s music complimented Cole’s exhibition of engaging in the world around us well. Following Qwill’s soulful set, NH composer William A. Fletcher’s clarinet duo Five Black Birds was performed passionately by Stephanie Ratté Jenkins and Katrina Veno.
Miss Fairchild at The Dance Hall

After filling up on art, engaging music, and wine, Festival-goers walked over to The Dance Hall in Kittery. TEss, a singer/songwriter and guitarist originally from New Hampshire now living in Italy, started off the night with care and captivation. Italian-American cellist Carmine Miranda followed, grabbing the audience with his virtuosic and emotive playing. His focused and intimate approach brought hush to the room.  

Boston-based R&B/soul group Miss Fairchild kicked up the volume a few notches and opened up the floor for dancing. The energy in the room was tangible and the band kept it going all night.
The Festival continued Sunday morning at the Portsmouth Music and Arts Center with an intimate and moving performance of a sonata by Samuel Barber with cellist Carmine Miranda and pianist Karolina Rojahn. Afterwards, Carmine and Karolina opened up the room to discussion, answering questions about collaboration, pop music, raising children in the arts, their idols, and everything in between. It was a wonderful opportunity for Festival-goers to hear from two touring and recording artists.
The Festival moved to Prescott Park with a performance of Prokofiev’s works from the Manchester Community Music School flute choir, followed by Peter and the Wolf by members of the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra and conductor John Page, with visual representations by members of the Great Bay Academy of Dance and narration by Virginia Prescott of NHPR. It was a beautiful afternoon and a great places for families to hear a classic narrative expertly set to music and dance.
Kingsley Flood at The Music Hall

All the exciting, engaging, and emotive elements of the Festival culminated in the Main Event at The Music Hall in Portsmouth. Icelandic violinist Eva Ingolf opened with An Evening Indigo by NY-based PARMA composer Rain Worthington. The piece was emotive and melodic, and flowed naturally and from Eva’s instrument. Following her was the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra with Maestro John Page, who played works by de Falla, Piazzolla, and Márquez. For Oblivion by Astor Piazzolla, Page and the PSO were joined by Czech violinist Vít Mužík. They were all in excellent form, performing with power and polish. After the orchestra’s overwhelming finale, Eva came back on stage to play another consuming work by Rain Worthington called Resonances

Boston-based roots rockers Kingsley Flood took the stage and flooded the room with energy and well-crafted and engaging songs. They closed out the Festival with a nothing less than a remarkable performance that exemplified the ethos of the entire weekend.
To recap the fun and tell us what your favorite part was, connect with us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Thanks again to Lead Festival Sponsor Kennebunk Savings Bank, and all the other sponsors and donors, as well as the performers, volunteers, venues, and concert-goers! 

One thought on “Recap: PARMA Music Festival 2015

  1. What a festival of music and musical talents galore !! Wish I was young enough to take off like that !! Very best and many more… SHL.

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