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Head to the barn for old-fashioned summer fun
for the Sequim Gazette
Not far from Sequim, the sound of world-class chamber music will escape all summer through the rustic boards of an early 1900s dairy barn located on 55 acres in Quilcene.
The Olympic Music Festival will conduct its 28th year of “Concerts in the Barn,” a tradition that continues at 2 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer, June 25-Sept. 4.
Alan Iglitzin and Leigh Hearon — farm owners and executive directors of the festival — live on site year-round.
“The farm is legitimate in every sense of the word: We have an impressive vegetable garden as well as crops of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries, and use the eggs from our chickens and ducks to help feed our artists throughout the summer,” Hearon said.
“Over the years, we’ve cultivated the grounds to include exquisite gardens and walking paths for our patrons and plenty of picnic areas for patrons who want to dine before the concerts.”
The festival is a mere 30-minute drive from Sequim and is the only Northwest festival to offer chamber music in a pastoral setting.
“It’s a wonderful way to spend a day at the farm and listen to great music by great artists,” Hearon said.
“We suggest that guests arrive early to wander the grounds, enjoy a picnic and meet the chickens, ducks and mares that live here.”
Attendees have the choice of sitting on the lawn just outside the barn — where they can relax on lawn chairs or blankets — or inside the barn, where they can see the musicians perform.
Barn seating tickets range in price from $18 for youths to $30 for adults. Lawn seating tickets range in price from $14 for youths to $20 for adults.
Children under 7 are not admitted into the barn but are free on the lawn. With speakers strategically placed outside the barn, the music can be heard outdoors while children run around to their heart’s content. No pets are allowed on the farm.
“The festival attracts people of all ages because it’s so family friendly,” Hearon said. “Many people bring their children to introduce them to classical music without forcing them to sit through an entire concert.”
Unlike some classical music performance venues, festival organizers encourage audiences to dress casually, she said.
Souvenirs, CDs, clothing, snacks, ice cream, local wines and beers and nonalcoholic beverages are available for sale in the milking shed.
The season will open with a solo performance by pianist Paul Hersh. Last year, the Seattle Times said, “Hersh achieved that mysterious paradox in the art of music: He made time stop.”
Hersh’s piano recital this year is built around the theme of “night music” and draws on a wide variety of composers, including Debussy, Schumann, Faure and Chopin.
The following weekend, July 2-4 — in celebration of the Fourth of July — the festival will present a unique program of American favorites performed by the Mosaic Brass Quintet. Concertgoers are invited to join in an old-fashioned, all-you-can-eat barbecue prior to the quintet’s performance.
Fourth of July barbecue tickets cost $10 per person and include unlimited hamburgers, hot dogs, coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans, watermelon, fruit crisp and beverages. The picnic starts at 11:30 a.m. and ends at 1:30 p.m.
The remainder of the 2011 season is filled with traditional favorites such as an all-Mozart weekend and chamber music works by beloved composers such as Beethoven and Stravinsky.
Returning this season are multiple festival favorites: Charles Wetherbee on the violin, Korine Fujiwara on the violin, Clancy Newman on the cello, Elisa Barston on the violin, Amy Barston on the cello and Teddy Abrams on the clarinet, as well as a few newcomers such as tenor Daniel Montenegro, pianist Amy Yang and David Requiro on the cello.
“In general, we have a more diversified lineup of chamber music concerts with more contemporary music, too,” Hearon said. “Our patrons got a taste of more contemporary music last year and told us to do more, so we are.”
Complete program listings, as well as guest artist biographies, can be found online at www.olympicmusic festival.org.
The Olympic Music Festival is strictly nonprofit. Sales from the tickets and concessions are used to balance the annual operating budget.
To purchase tickets, go online or call 360-732-4800.