Columbia gets ready for a musical treat by Candlelight

The Candlelight Concert Society has presented so many chamber music groups that it's fitting that it has assembled a diverse roster of performers for its 40th anniversary gala on Saturday, May 18, from 3 to 6 p.m., at Howard Community College's Smith Theatre.

"We're very proud of the variety and depth of our programming," says Candlelight artistic director Holly Thomas. She adds that the upcoming gala will be "celebrating what we've been doing to bring exciting and innovative works here."

Thomas notes that the performers at the gala include "different groups who represent different aspects of what we do at Candlelight."

In addition to the annual chamber music series that brings performers with national and international reputations to Smith Theatre, for instance, Candlelight also offers community outreach programs. One of the groups performing at the gala, the Dahlia Flute Duo, has played Candlelight-sponsored concerts in Howard County senior centers and schools.

The members of the Dahlia Flute Duo, Melissa Wertheimer and Mary Matthews, met as students at the Peabody Institute. Matthews currently is based in Hartford, Conn., and Wertheimer teaches at Howard Community College.

Another Candlelight activity involves performers in the annual chamber music series giving master classes for local music students. Performing at the gala will be the Park Family Trio. These three Columbia teens are Emily, 16, on violin; Aaron, 14, on piano; and Caleb, 12, on cello. The Parks have taken master clases with two ensembles that performed for Candlelight in recent seasons, the Eroica Trio and Harlem Quartet (neither of which is on the upcoming concert bill).

Also playing at the gala will be the Baltimore-based Beijing Guitar Duo — Meng Su and Wang Yameng.

And the concert will conclude with Christopher Shih, Nurit Bar-Josef and Amit Peled performing Dvorak's "Dumky" Piano Trio.

Thomas estimates that the concert portion of the gala will last around 90 minutes, after which there is a reception. Besides food and drink, concertgoers will be able to look at an art exhibit featuring local artists Carol Newman, Winnie Coggins, Gerald von Mayer, Diane Dunn, Jerry Weinstein, Aline Feldman, Benita Kane Jaro, Linda Press and Roberta Kine Laric.

Of particular interest to the Candlelight audience will be Feldman's four woodcuts titled "Quartet." They were inspired by composer Mohammed Fairouz's "The Named Angels," which was played by the Borromeo Quartet at a recent Candlelight chamber music concert. What originally played to the ears now plays to the eyes.

Candlelight Concert Society has its 40th anniversay gala on Saturday, May 18, 3- 6 p.m., at Howard Community College's Smith Theatre, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia. Tickets are $40. Call 410-997-2324 or go to

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