Each year, the community gathers annually to celebrate the life and legacy of Donald Bernhardt, a violinist and ardent chamber music enthusiast. Organized by his widow, Carol Bernhardt, the Donald Bernhardt Memorial Chamber Music Concert has become a staple in the local music scene. This year marks the 27th iteration of this heartfelt tribute, set to take place on Sunday, October 15, at 4 PM in Riedl Hall on the campus of The Ohio State University at Mansfield.

Donald Bernhardt was not just a musician; he was a community builder. He would often host marathon chamber music weekends at his home and relished his summer trips to Montana for week-long chamber music sessions. Since its inception in 1997, the concert series has showcased over 100 different chamber works, making it a significant platform for both musicians and music lovers alike.

From British Folk Tunes to Classical Nonets

This year’s program promises a rich and varied musical experience, featuring compositions by John Rutter, George Onslow, and Muzio Clementi. The concert will open with George Onslow’s “Woodwind Quintet #3,” a piece that showcases the intricate harmonies and rhythms that woodwind instruments can offer. Following this, the audience will be treated to John Rutter’s “Suite for Strings,” based on British folk tunes, offering a nostalgic yet refreshing take on traditional melodies.

The grand finale will be Muzio Clementi’s “Nonet,” a composition that brings together winds and strings in a harmonious blend, capturing the essence of chamber music. The piece serves as a fitting tribute to Donald Bernhardt, who was passionate about the collaborative spirit that chamber music embodies.

A Quintessential Quintet

The concert will feature a string quintet and a woodwind quintet, eventually combining both for a grand ensemble performance. This year’s lineup includes seasoned musicians who are no strangers to the Mansfield music scene:

  • Violin: Michael Sieberg and Steve Domka
  • Viola: Jim Froelich
  • Cello: Robert Rashid
  • Bass: David Lenigan
  • Flute: Denise Rotavera-Klein
  • Oboe: Carol Bernhardt
  • Clarinet: Pam Ellis
  • French Horn: Keely Krumweide
  • Bassoon: Jane Price

Each musician brings their unique flair and expertise, promising an unforgettable musical journey for the audience.

The Lasting Impact: 26 Years and Counting

The Donald Bernhardt Memorial Chamber Music Concert is more than just an evening of beautiful music; it’s a testament to the enduring power of community and the arts. Over the last 26 years, the Mansfield Chamber Music Players have not only entertained but also educated and inspired, keeping Donald Bernhardt’s love for chamber music alive.

As attendees leave Riedl Hall on October 15, they will carry with them not just the melodies and harmonies they’ve heard, but also the spirit of a man who believed in the transformative power of music.

Source: OSUM; Image by Pexels from Pixabay