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Mockingbird Early Music Ensemble Celebrates Bach’s Birthday and Spring

Courtesy of Bach in the Subways
Courtesy of Bach in the Subways

Did you know tomorrow is Johann Sebastian Bach’s 330th birthday? Every year classical musicians celebrate Bach’s birthday by playing in public spaces.

Oxford will be one of 129 cities in 39 countries to have classical musicians celebrating Bach’s birthday thanks to Mockingbird Early Music Ensemble.

 Ron Vernon, Warren Steel,  Irene Kaufmann, Susan Marchant (left to right), courtesy
Ron Vernon, Warren Steel, Irene Kaufmann, Susan Marchant (left to right), courtesy

The ensemble formed in 2003 by enthusiasts of the historical music written before 1750. The musicians perform on recreations of dated instruments such as viole da gamba, psaltery and crumhorn and harpsichord and baroque guitar and recorder to name a few.

They will perform on the Square this Saturday for 30 minutes starting at 1 p.m. Admission is free – all one has to do is follow the music to find them.

On Sunday the Oxonian ensemble will celebrate the spring at the Paris-Yates Chapel at 3 p.m. There will be music and poetry with the themes of renewal, rejuvenation and love. Admission is free.

The ensemble is composed of four primary musicians with the occasional appearances of guest artists. These artists are Irene Kaufmann, Susan Marchant and Warren Steel and Ronald Vernon.

Kaufmann is a native of Uruguay, South America who played the flute with the National Uruguayan Symphony from 1990 to 2001 and also was a member of the Grupo Barroco and the Orquesta Barroca de Montevideo.

Marchant has performed early music at countless festivals, concert series and even on television and radio with the Harwood Ensemble in Chicago and PanHarmonium in Birmingham. She is on the board of directors of the Viola da Gamba Society of America.

Steel is an associate professor of music at University of Mississippi where he teaches music history, organ and harpsichord. He is also the co-director of the Mississippi Early Music Ensemble which he founded in 1983 as a chamber ensemble. He written at length on early American musical history, especially on the Sacred Harp singing tradition that was recently held at the Powerhouse on March 8.

Vernon is the associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and also a professor of music at the University of Mississippi. He conducts the Lafayette-Oxford-University Orchestra and is the music director of the Germantown, Tennessee Symphony Orchestra.

Callie Daniels is a staff writer at HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at callie.daniels@hottytoddy.com.

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