Seated: Barbara Freggens and Stephanie Dailey
Standing: Alberto Gamez, Gregory Riviello, Austin Blair, Carol Henry,
Jeffrey Rubin and Ellen Lazarus

On our arrival at Chevy Chase House, the residents were watching the “Sound of Music” movie in the Activities room, so we waited in the lobby before setting up for the recital. Around 3:45 p.m. we entered and rolled the Baldwin Grand piano into place before trying it out. As the room filled up with 27 residents, for the second time in a row, a resident walked in with her canine companion! This must be a new trend! The cute Pekinese dog sat quietly on her lap for the duration of the one-hour performance. There were five pianists, two guitarists, and a violinist on the program and we started promptly at 4:00 p.m. after a brief introduction about the AMSF.

Alberto Gamez performed first and played Sonatina in C Op. 36, No. 1 by Italian composer Muzio Clementi (1752–1832). He played all 3 movements — Allegro, Andante, and Vivace. Alberto warmly engaged the audience with a funny anecdote about a piano duel in Vienna between Clementi and Mozart who, at 25, was four years Clementi’s junior. Though everyone felt that Mozart had won the contest, Emperor Joseph II officially declared it a draw and the prize money of 100 ducats was split equally between them. The Emperor had, however, placed a secret bet with the Grand Duchess (who favored Clementi) that Mozart would win, and he actually collected on that bet because he himself believed that Mozart was the better player!

Our classical guitarists, Barbara Freggens and Ellen Lazarus, followed with solos and duets in “sandwich” formation (solo – duet – solo). Barbara first played two short solos. They were “Espanoleta” by Gaspar Sanz (1650–1710) and “Canario” by Carlo Calvi (1610–1670). Then together they played three duets which included Sarabande by Arcangelo Corelli (1653–1713); Rustic Dance by J.S. Bach (1685–1750); and “The Nest and the Rose” by Fernando Carulli (1770–1841). Ellen ended with a soothing solo by Gerard Montreuil (1927–1991), called “Miami” that was played with great feeling. These competent guitarists always bring a welcome balance to the recitals.

Jeffrey Rubin played next and performed two contrasting piano solos. The first was the well-known “Ave Maria” by Franz Schubert (1797–1828). The piece was composed as a setting of a song from Walter Scott’s poem, “The Lady of the Lake.” Jeffrey successfully highlighted the beautiful singing melody. His second piece was “Romance Poudree” (which means ‘powdered romance’) by Giulio Ricordi (1840–1912). Jeffrey certainly brought out the “romance” in this piece as his fingers gently floated over the keys. The residents applauded appreciatively.

Jeffrey was followed by our violinist, Stephanie Dailey, who is a new AMSF member performing at Outreach for the first time. She played the Concerto in A minor RV356 by Antonio Vivaldi (1678–1741). Vivaldi wrote over 500 instrumental concertos and his best-known work was a series of violin concertos named “The Four Seasons.” Although Stephanie did not have the benefit of an orchestra, she bravely played the concerto as an unaccompanied solo at a relaxed tempo. She was warmly applauded for her effort.

Despite a family emergency, Gregory Riviello still showed up to play the Adagio Cantabile movement of Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata Op. 13, No. 8 and Chopin’s Nocturne in E flat major Op. 9, No. 2. He explained that “nocturne” meant “night music” and that Chopin wrote 21 nocturnes for the piano. Both pieces produced a serene and calming atmosphere as Gregory took full advantage of the dynamic range of the piano. His emotive playing generated enthusiastic applause as he finished the beautiful final trills of the Nocturne.

Austin Blair and Carol Henry closed the program with two fast fiery duets by Scott Joplin (1868–1917), which certainly roused the residents. They started with Scott Joplin’s New Rag and ended with the familiar Maple Leaf Rag. Ragtime music was developed by African Americans in the 1890’s especially for the piano and it is characterized by a syncopated melodic line over regularly accented accompaniment. Carol had most of the syncopation in the Primo while Austin was a steady metronomic anchor in the Secondo part. The residents were dancing in their seats as the jaunty upbeat music filled the room. The duet ended with two loud perfectly timed staccato chords that triggered applause as energetic as the performance.

After the recital, we gathered near the piano for our group photo clothed in green to commemorate the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day celebration on March 17th. Though several of the residents were seated in wheelchairs, those who were ambulatory hurried over with warm smiles to tell us how much they had enjoyed the performance.