Arts & Culture

Discover All Things Regional in Central PA’s art and culture scene. Join hosts Cary Burkett and Joe Ulrich as they make artistic discoveries throughout the midstate. From music and visual arts to theatre, museums, literature and more! Listen every Wednesday and Friday on witf 89.5 and 93.3 for features highlighting the best and brightest cultural happenings in the region.

Early Music Concert Series at Saint James

Written by Cary Burkett, Arts & Culture Desk and WITF Host | Dec 12, 2012 10:34 AM



La Spirita

Kathleen Spencer is retired Library Director from Franklin and Marshall College. Every week she travels to Princeton, New Jersey to practice with her early music ensemble, La Spirita. The group, composed of retired professional women, concentrates on playing music mainly from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. They perform on early stringed instruments of a type known as the viola da gamba, which is much different than a modern violin or cello. It has six strings instead of four, and is fretted like a guitar. The bowing style is very different as well, using an underhand technique instead of the modern overhand. And the sound produced has a much softer, more intimate quality.

Kathleen Spencer loves the sound, and the instrument. Her passion for early music has led her to launch an early music concert series at Saint James Episcopal Church in Lancaster.  The goal is to present four professional performances each year of music composed before 1800 in the acoustically rich sanctuary. 

Early Music at Saint James is presenting the second concert of its season on Sunday, December 16 at 5 pm.  Kathleen Spencer and La Spirita will be among the performers of a cantata by contemporary composer Will Ayton entitled Mary Danced. Although a new work, it is scored for an early music ensemble of soprano, recorders and viola da gamba consort.  Based on traditions and stories drawn from both the canonical and apocryphal gospels, it tells the story of the birth of Jesus from Mary’s point of view. There is a suggested donation of $10 for adults to benefit Early Music at Saint James.  The program will last about one hour.

Below you can hear our feature with Kathleen Spencer and composer Will Ayton.


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