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Silverwood Clarinet Choir will stir imaginations Sunday at FFL

— The Silverwood Clarinet Choir (SCC) will extend a warm hand of welcome to its audience on Sunday afternoon when its opens its concert with a charming new composition showcasing seven families of clarinets.

Penned by 35-year-old British radio producer Luke Whitlock, the tune “Silverwood” was commissioned by the ensemble itself and now serves as a perfect calling card for the band, a lively introduction to each of its 14 musicians.

As such, “Silverwood” sounds more like a friendly conversation than a cerebral exercise in music theory. Its rippling rhythms give way to declaratory hellos, celebratory huzzahs and a few good-natured chuckles all punctuated by startling stop times.

As the cheerful melody unfolds, each of the clarinets – from the wailing E♭ sopranino to the roaring contrabass – makes a statement attesting to the musicians’ individual talent and enthusiasm.

“Whitlock’s composition is very light, very clever,” says SCC conductor Pam Mastrobattisto of East Syracuse. “It does a good job of showing off every one of us.” It also demonstrates an astonishing team spirit that lifts SCC head and shoulders above your run-of-the-mill chamber group.

You can hear it for yourself when the clarinet combo performs at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 28, at the Fayetteville Free Library, 300 Orchard St., in Fayetteville. Admission is free; fflib.org. The Silverwood Clarinet Choir was founded in 2006 by husband-and-wife clarinetists Ken and Kathy Freer originally from Chicago and now residing in Manlius. The group’s name was coined by Syracuse pianist Rosalie Spitzer, who’d played in a duo and trio with Kathy. It combines the silver of the keywork and the wood of the clarinet’s barrel and bell.

The ensemble, comprised primarily of teaching professionals, plays music that is both entertaining and challenging. Fulfilling that two-fold role has earned the SCC some well- deserved international attention, primarily via the World Wide Web.

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