Midsummer’s Music and its resident string quartet, the Griffon String Quartet, are extremely grateful to have been awarded a $4,000 grant from the Women’s Fund in support of the quartet’s education and outreach mission. The funds cover activities that started in January of this year.
The quartet performed their B Double Sharp program at Scandia Village in Sister Bay on January 10, as well as at the Memory Café event held at the United Methodist Church in Sturgeon Bay on February 3. The B Double Sharp program presents mini concerts for the aging or disabled, as well as their caregivers. Targeting people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, in association with both the Door County Medical Center and Scandia Village, the quartet creates a welcoming atmosphere where people can share their observations and feelings about the journey of aging and memory loss. Attendees gather to connect with others who are facing the same questions and concerns to build a community of support. These concerts support those individuals with music and learning.
The quartet’s Einstein Series is a highly interactive program that works with school-age children in northeast Wisconsin. On February 18, the group provided music education to youth from the Boys & Girls Club of Door County. The Einstein Series also includes private and group lessons, school and classroom visits, and discussions about string quartet music, relating it specifically to relevant topics in the children’s studies and lives.
The COVID-19 virus inspired the quartet to develop new, innovative strategies. It was necessary to cancel or postpone some upcoming events, yet the quartet members are continuing their individual and group instruction using creative online teaching techniques. The group is already providing “virtual concerts,” which can be viewed on the Midsummer’s Music website – midsummersmusic.com – and Facebook page. The live B Double Sharp and Einstein Series programs are scheduled to resume in May.
One of the most vibrant and engaging quartets of their generation, the Griffon String Quartet was formed in the fall of 2018 as a collaboration between Midsummer’s Music, the Fine Arts Institute at East High in Green Bay, and St. Norbert College in De Pere. The quartet is a groundbreaking project to enrich the lives of children and adults throughout Northeast Wisconsin through concerts, workshops, and music education outreach. Members of the Quartet include violinists Roy Meyer and Vinicius Sant’Ana, violist Blakeley Menghini, and cellist Ryan Louie. Extraordinary musicians who have performed with orchestras and ensembles around the globe in the finest halls from Carnegie Hall and Brazil’s Teatro Municipal de São Paulo to Japan’s Suntory Hall, and won prestigious music competitions and awards, they are equally dedicated to music education and inspiring the next generation of music lovers. Each member of the Griffon String Quartet has advanced degrees and significant professional experience, both as educators and performers, and have been recognized for “their youthful vigor, which is absolutely infectious!”
Midsummer’s Music was co-founded in 1990 by Jim and Jean Berkenstock, long-time Door County summer residents and principal orchestral players with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. What began as two concerts among friends has become one of the Midwest’s most anticipated chamber music series, bringing thousands of chamber music enthusiasts from around the globe to the magical Door County Peninsula.