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‘Winter Solstice’ warms up GPAC for the Broadway and More Series
By Mark Schulman
The world famous musical company Windham Hill brought three world famous artists to GPAC on Jan. 19 to kick off the 2006 Broadway and More Series. Tracy Scott Silverman, Barbara Higbie and Philip Aaberg graced the stage for 800 people and performed compositions influenced from around the world.
The trio played the musical suite, "Winter Solstice," that was influenced by compositions from Ireland, the Netherlands, and of course, America.
Aaberg's music was characterized by the culture of western America. He refers to this genre as " Montana blues."
Higbie was versatile as she bounced between the piano and the fiddle throughout the concert. Silverman added his own take to many modern and classical works as he played an instrument referred to as a "guit-fiddle."
After the trio collaborated on the first song, Higbie and Silverman returned backstage with their instruments leaving Aaberg on stage where he set up for his solo piece.
"We waited a long time to play for you folks at Pembroke so I'm going to keep on going," Aaberg said.
Aaberg, wearing a black suit with western flare, returned his focus to the piano, eyes closed, pounding away at the black and white keys. Sounds of his hometown, Chester, Mont., echoed through GPAC as he played songs from his current CD as well as previous works.
After his set, Aaberg left the stage allowing female vocalist/ composer Higbie to present her unique talents to the GPAC audience. She has played music throughout her life and her first vocal album was with Windham Hill.
She sat at the piano on the GPAC stage and bellowed out tunes including what she referred to as an "ode to existential angst." She told stories in her music vocally and through body language at the piano. She turned to a more playful tune in her next song that she wrote one day while observing her young daughter.
"The song's name, 'Baby Buddha,' came from my daughter's stuffed animal and is about a 3-year-old evoked by chocolate," Higbie said.
Higbie's hands danced across the keyboard as she often turned to smile at the audience with appreciation. Silverman donned an instrument that looked like an improved violin with a shoulder strap and explained that it was a six-string electric violin that he calls a "guit-fiddle."
"The next suite of composition I will do," Silverman said, "comes from the artists Jimmy Page, John Bonham, John Paul Jones and Robert Plant, otherwise known as Led Zeppelin."
The classic rock melody that electrified the crowd mostly came from "Stairway to Heaven." He drew his bow across the six-strings and with the other hand, masterfully played across the fret boards with lightning speed.
Throughout the remainder of the performance it was evident that the three members of the "Winter Solstice" were comfortable playing solo and as an ensemble.
Higbie explained the wide range of talent that has encompassed the entire music company, Windham Hill, for the past 30 years.
"We are a community of musicians who are likeminded and play well solo and together," Higbie said. For more information on Windham Hill and the artists' albums go to www.windham.com.
The Broadway and More Series continues with "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" on Feb. 13.