Chamber Music class brings the Baroque to Old Christ Church

By Taylor Hall

Staff Writer

Old Christ Church in historic Pensacola hosted the monthly Chamber Music Recital on Wednesday, directed by Hedi Salanki-Rubardt, Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Music. This month’s recital was themed “Baroque and Beyond.”

Salanki-Rubardt has been teaching the chamber music class and putting on performances for the public for 15 years. “This is something we are so happy to give to the community,” Salanki said. “Today was a good house, but most of the time there is standing room only.”

Ryan Murphy, with chamber choir director Hedi Salanki-Rubardt, performed “Tolgi, dolce ben mio” as part of the UWF Trumpet Quintet. Photo by Taylor Hall.

The concert featured 12 performances from the class, including songs, arias, duets and chamber music pieces by mostly Baroque composers. Each performance was powerful and left the audience mesmerized.

“This is my first time taking the class,” Ryan Murphy, music major, said. “We only have a couple weeks to prepare for each show.”

With only three programs a semester, the class must prepare for each show in just four weeks.      “This prepares them for the professional life,” Salanki-Rubardt said. “You don’t have many weeks; you get your part and then you go and do your job.”

One student in the class, Donovan Black, tenor, recently received the Project Grady-Rayam Prize, The “American Spiritual” Scholarship. Project Grady-Rayam is a Florida nonprofit established to aid in preserving America’s Negro spiritual songs and provide scholastic assistance to young artists. Black is now an ambassador for the organization and will attend six other recitals throughout the year.

“I am so pleased to be a part of an organization,” Black said. “And I am really happy that I brought it home to UWF.”

Black performed “Were You There?” and “I Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray.” By the end of his last performance, the audience gave Black a standing ovation.

The recitals are free and open to the public. The next concert will be at noon at Old Christ Church on April 5 and will be entitled “Spring is Here.”

For more details and a listing of concerts for the semester, see the music department’s website.

The chamber music class takes a bow after their performance at the Old Christ Church on Wednesday. Photo by Taylor Hall.