From our President
Community Concerts at Second’s 2017-2018 season marks the launch of our fourth decade of Music for All, and on behalf of the governing board and our partners at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, I am pleased to welcome you to our 31st season. We uphold a steadfast mission to bring world-class musicians and performances to the public free of charge, all hosted in the beautiful, intimate, and accessible sanctuary setting at Second Presbyterian Church. I hope you will join us this season as we bring our community together through music.
We will celebrate the opening of the season with a Chamber Music by Candlelight concert and free post-concert reception on September 17th, courtesy of our friends at the BSO. An outstanding array of artists are in store for the season, featuring seven phenomenal afternoon concerts (including organist Felix Hell, violinist Irina Muresanu, and jazz bass clarinetist Todd Marcus), eight wonderful candlelight concerts featuring BSO performers, and of course, our treasured Wonderlic Concert, this year highlighting local rising star pianists. We will close the season with a second reception on June 3rd – a wonderful opportunity to get to know our “CC@2nd family.”
In keeping with our mission, we have never sold tickets, nor charged concert admission, but in order to continue this tradition in our fourth decade, we need your support. We believe it is important that everyone has frequent access to truly exceptional live music, and that music brings people together. In today’s world, a strong sense of community is more important than ever. There is just something so special about sharing, experiencing, and enjoying art in the company of others.
Our dedicated board members, staff, volunteers, and partners at the BSO contribute in invaluable ways both large and small, in order to make our mission a success. But, while our concerts are free, there are real costs associated with presenting these performances, and we cannot do it alone. I ask you to please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help us continue to offer Music for All, Free to All. Together we can continue to make beautiful music for the Baltimore community for years to come.
Beth Ann Felder
Originally named “The Second Presbyterian Concert Series,” the concerts were founded in 1987 by Margaret Budd, then organist of Second Presbyterian Church, with the enthusiastic support of that congregation. Some years later, Margaret attended a mesmerizing candlelight concert at St. Martin in the Fields church in London, and began to envision similar evenings of chamber music in Baltimore. With the collaboration of members of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the evening Chamber Music by Candlelight concerts were initiated in 1995.
Each year since 1990, the organization has presented the Russell C. Wonderlic Memorial Competition. This competition is funded by a bequest of the late philanthropist Russell Wonderlic, and exists to develop the careers and talents of young pianists and vocalists in the state of Maryland and District of Columbia. The competition continues to grow in both size and stature and presents extraordinary young talent. Pianists Awadagin Pratt and Eric Zuber; and soprano Hyunah Yu are prominent past winners.
Numerous distinguished musicians have performed on the series, including pianists Leon Fleisher, Ann Schein, Awadagin Pratt, Eric Zuber, Kevin Kenner and Simone Dinnerstein; singers Spiro Malas, John Shirley Quirk, Theodora Hanslowe, Phyllis Bryn-Julson, and Hyunah Yu; organists Dame Gillian Weir, Donald Sutherland, and Fred Swann; cellist Amit Peled and oboist Katherine Needleman.
The organization was renamed Community Concerts at Second in 2002, and became a separate entity and non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization in 2004. Second Presbyterian Church continues its steadfast support by making its facilities available for concerts, and being the physical ‘home’ of the organization. Community Concerts at Second is governed by a volunteer board of up to twenty-five members, chosen both for their expertise and their commitment. The Governing Board members work individually and together to strengthen the organization and its programs in every way. They are assisted by a full-time Managing Director, who directs the daily operations of the organization.
Now in its fourth decade, Community Concerts at Second’s history demonstrates how one person’s vision and dedication can inspire the contributions and involvement of countless others. Community Concerts at Second has a vibrant future as an organization that will continue to strengthen and enrich the Baltimore community for countless years to come.