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Skaneateles Festival gives intimate concert to eager audience

Community members were invited to Anyela's on Wednesday Aug. 12 for a special musical preview.

Approximately 75 people were invited to the hillside vineyard to hear selections of classical music that will be played throughout the coming weeks of the Skaneateles Festival. According to festival Executive Director Susan Mark, the preview was an opportunity for those who may not normally attend the concerts to hear the sounds. In the future those same people might choose to begin attending the venues.

To give the casual crowd a taste of what was to come during the festival, co-artistic directors David Ying on cello and Elinor Freer on piano played for the audience.

Last week marked the first week of the festival and was focused on musicians who had played the festival in previous years.

"This first week they're brought in musicians who have played before. We've documented when they're been here before," Mark said.

Board member Colleen Fisher said she and her husband, Dan, have been involved with the festival almost since its inception.

"It's increased in size and audience scope," Fisher said of the festival's history. "The variety of music has changed and that goes with each artistic director."

For the last five years, Ying and Freer have taken on the task of being co-artistic directors. The husband and wife team, who make their home in Rochester where they both work for the Eastman School of Music, had been long-time audience members at the festival when they were asked to take over in their current capacity.

When the festival began looking for a new artistic director approximately five years ago, Freer and Ying decided to throw their hats in the ring.

"It's reputation by now precedes it," Ying said, adding it attracts a high caliber of musicians. "It's a musician's dream."

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