BWW Review: Fusion of POETRY & MUSIC UNITE Unmatched Experience, Recital

BWW Review: Fusion of POETRY & MUSIC UNITE Unmatched Experience, Recital

Tears well during beauty, during farewells, during art. The Naples United Church of Christ was in no short supply of any, with the spectacular Poetry & Music Unite event (hosted by the Grand Piano Series) mixing serenades, swan songs, and poetry in chilling fashion. The beautiful suite prepared by William Dawson Jr. and the poetry of Florida's Poet Laureate Peter Meinke came together like a beautiful, strong cocktail- waves of the fused art forms crashed audiences note after note in unforgettable fashion. Once the quick keys of Richard Bosworth met the vocal talents of Christopher Holloway, Steffanie Pearce, and Nadia Marshall, the evening became something the memorable does not begin to illustrate.

We ran a brief preview/interview piece before the event, working mostly with Dawson and Meinke, which gives a bit of background to the event. Dawson read Mr. Meinke's poetry and found himself interested in textually illustrating his powerful verse; years later, the night has come where the project sees fruition. Along the way, the duo teamed up with Bosworth, Holloway, Pearce, and Marshall to premiere an innovative new art experience.

The event began with Tanya Williams, current director of the Collier County Library System, introducing special guest Peter Meinke. Meinke took the stage, immediately giving his wife Jeanne thanks. His soft and wise demeanor changed to one of immense power and wisdom as he cracked open one of his works and began the readings- going through each of the five poems soon to be set to music, he also gave tastes of his other works, contextualizing each selection with a smile and graceful narration.

He stepped down, and Bosworth entered with Holloway and Pearce. Holloway, touting an impressive resume of opera and theatrical performances across the country, began the evening with 'On Lake Norman (The Unification Theory)'. Holloway's booming voice is understandably a draw, but his method of performance gives him the presence that transforms every bar into a gripping scene. Holloway's talents are rare, a man who bursts forth in song using his entire being, giving 'Lake Norman' and 'In Gentler Times' a tone of wonder. When beginning the second half of the evening, Holloway brought out Samuel Barber's 'Sure on This Shining Night' to discuss James Agee's poem, and to perform a song his repertoire has used for decades. This number brought chills, thrills, and ramped the energy to its furthest reaches within a stanza.

Pearce, bringing a resume just as impressive (performances internationally, touring with Teatro Lyrico d'Europa, a soloist at Carnegie, Kennedy Center, and more), gives the incredible soprano that has made her a Naples opera celebrity. As she winds out the humorous 'Miss Arbuckle' or the wrenching 'The Golden Bird', Pearce never lets her vocal quality dip beneath 'unbelievable.'

Following a brief intermission and Holloway's 'Shining Night', the Grand Piano Series brought out a final surprise in Nadia Marshall. Marshall, although a young student of Pearce, comes with a full CV of awards and honors. Her first number, Danza del Pequeno Pricipe, turned the space into a small, intimate experience, that made her every note and gesture explode. Her voice continued to vary, in 'A La Vida Nina' or the longing 'Que Rico', even in a duet with Holloway. Marshall showcased a wide range, an impressive range for such a new performer, which will only continue to grow.

Along the entire evening was the flowing piano stylings of Richard Bosworth, a sharp witted pianist who did not fail to bring his own taste of delight. After a joyous introduction with linguistic semantics and multiple languages, Bosworth showed Maurice Ravel's 'Ondine' and its basis poem by Aloysius Bertrand to audiences with fascinating intrigue. His hands played the story, each illustrated moment, one of the most impressive solo piano pieces to conquer, let alone transform into a visual and emotional experience such as Bosworth offers.

Pearce, before bringing the night to a close in the shattering 'El Amor que Yo Esperaba', brought news of loss- Marshall and Bosworth both would be moving across the country in the morning; Marshall will begin her graduate program in Ohio, and Bosworth will move to Oregon. She also brought jest to Dawson's lack of an active website, reminding audiences that the evening was all too temporal.

Where each artist shall find themselves next is still in question, whether it be the next published work of Meinke, composition by Dawson, recital of Bosworth, Holloway, Pearce, or Marshall; all that is guaranteed is that I will be in line to hear more of what this night offered in only appetizers.

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From This Author Trevor Durham

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