Bringing the Music Back: Central Basin Community Concert Series Returns to Stage Tonight



While the venue may be different to start the season, the quality of performances and community enthusiasm will be the same as the Central Basin Community Concert Association hosts its first performance since the pandemic on Friday night.

Award-winning duo Shea-Kim, consisting of classical musicians Brendan Shea and Yerin Kim, will begin the concert series this evening at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Moses Lake Alliance Church, while the Wallenstien Theater is currently undergoing rehabilitation. .

Kim and Shea met as students and have been performing together in various chamber music settings since around 2014.

Shea is a world-renowned solo violinist, chamber musician and teacher. He performed on stage at Carnegie Hall at the age of 11.

Kim is an acclaimed pianist, recitalist, chamber musician and educator, having also performed in major venues internationally. Kim released her first solo album, “First and Last Words”, in 2019. Prior to joining the staff at Central Washington University, Kim and Shea were both professors at the University of Notre Dame.

The married duo said non-musicians often ask them how they juggle their professional and personal careers.

“Work is everything, personal life and work, it’s all kind of linked,” Kim said. “It’s quite different, but we’re very grateful to do it, especially during COVID, to be able to work and rehearse from home. “

Kim said the couple have bounced around various jobs and institutions working on their degrees over the years, recently moving to Washington state. They go where they are needed as musicians and educators, she said.

Kim said it was around March 2019, when the pandemic hit, their phones were exploding with locations and groups canceling or rescheduling performances. After the first shocking weeks, adjusting to moving their classes to 100% online and removing their own kids from daycare, she said they knew they had to find ways to be creative.

Kim said the couple have done a variety of shows from their living room, with Shea, as the South Bend Symphony Orchestra’s principal violin, working with musicians to put on socially distanced performances.

While performance seemed limited at first, Kim said that through various platforms, she connected with many colleagues across the country to perform and chat with her students virtually.

“We never really felt isolated; I could have been, but we really tried to keep the working spirit going, ”Kim said.

Chamber Music in the Bend, a music festival the couple hosted before the COVID hit, has been held for virtually the past two years, with students and adults from across the country.

While the couple had the opportunity to perform solo and perform with various other chamber music groups, last weekend’s performance at Yakima marked the couple’s first show since the pandemic and was the first show of their next tour.

Friday also marks the launch of the couple’s debut album, “The Sound and the Fury,” released by Blue Griffin Recording.

After performing in some of the most renowned concert halls in the world, Kim said she didn’t really consider the size of the hall when she was on stage. Each venue is different, she said, with the smaller ones being enjoyable as they allow her to connect more intimately with the audience after the performance. Shea said that in many ways smaller venues are more meaningful.

“It’s more fun to play where you started and where you go back,” Shea said. “Obviously it’s exciting to go to places like Carnegie Hall or the Kennedy Center and it’s unique times in life when you’re finally invited to these great places to play. But every time you go to these places, you look for that friendly face in the crowd.

Whether it’s a big, famous venue or a smaller, more intimate venue, Shea said the goal for them is to always deliver the best show possible.

Frances Irwin, president of the CBCCA, served on the board of directors for over 10 years before taking time off to deal with her husband’s health problems. After joining the board last winter, she was elected president in June.

While the concert series was forced to cancel its last show when the pandemic first kicked in, Irwin said the show’s board discussed how best to get things going when the performances were allowed to continue.

There were no performances last year. Irwin said artists for each season are typically scheduled for the fall of the previous year. In the past, she said the concert association has relied on a Nashville-based company, Live On Stage, to select artists for the concert series each year.

This season’s lineup and 2022-2023 artist roster features a wide variety of artists, Irwin said.

“There are classical artists, there are jazz artists, there are groups of multiple artists that are on offer and their price varies depending on what the community concerts pay,” Irwin said. “So we have to look at what we have in terms of resources and what we expect to have in terms of resources and try to match what we think our community would like to see come.”

Irwin said the Shea-Kim duo are relatively new to central Washington, with Kim finishing her first year as a professor at the CWU. Not only does Kim teach music at the CWU, but she also has a psychology degree and sort of fuses those ideas into her music, Irwin said.

She said the local piano teachers had all told her about the possibility of bringing all of their students over to see Kim play tonight, with a special rate offered for tickets for piano students.

Irwin said it will be the first year that the series has not performed at the Wallenstien Theater and that the atmosphere will be different at the Moses Lake Alliance Church.

“It has a great auditorium,” Irwin said.

The 67th season of the concert series features the Shea-Kim Duo, with Taylor Red, a trio of tripled sisters, performing the next show on January 13, 2022. Branden & James, a classical music duo, will take the stage on March 22, 2022, and America’s Sweethearts vocal trio will perform on April 22, 2022.

Tickets can be purchased on-site prior to tonight’s show, with masks required for those in attendance as per state mandates for indoor events.

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