The Hills are Alive with Music
Jul 22, 2019 07:41PM
● By Nora Mounce
Adventures in the Emerald Triangle typically center on redwoods, beaches, and recreation set against incomparably beautiful scenery. Such rare natural wonders are responsible for drawing thousands of visitors who generated a record-setting $448 million in tourist revenue in 2017, according to Humboldt County data. But amidst growth and interest in the rural paradise additionally powered by legal cannabis the region’s reputation for art and culture has remained a bit smoky. Ian Scarfe, a talented and classically trained pianist, has been on a mission to change this perception since founding the Trinity Alps Chamber Music Festival (TACMF) in 2011. Now in his ninth year of producing the festival, Scarfe is excited to once again bring world-class talent and classical chamber music to the hills of Northern California.
Kicking off in late July, the 2019 festival will showcase a range of musical talent at a half dozen concerts from July 26-through August 11. Venues range from the traditional, the Trinity Alps Performing Art Center in Weaverville (July 26), to the prestigious, the Century Club of California in San Francisco (August 2), and the eclectic, with the festival’s final outdoor performance at the Trailhead Pizza Café near Coffee Creek in Trinity Center (August 11).
“Classical music suffers from such a bad rep these days,” explains Scarfe. “Most folks see it as kind of pretentious, or uncool, or just for old people. We are a group of fun young musicians who are dedicated to bringing this music to everyone, as it should be done,” says the director.
Scarfe started the festival as a retreat for classical musicians to collaborate and rejuvenate while surrounded by the beauty of Trinity County. The Trinity Alps, located north of Weaverville and jutting east into Shasta County, are a sub-range of the Klamath Mountains. With elevations as high as 9,001 feet (Thompson Peak), the Trinity Alps are a stunning microclimate of unique flora and fauna, reminiscent of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Swiss Alps. Scarfe encourages international musicians and festival-goers to enjoy the beauty of the mountains, lakes, and rivers before gathering each night for classical music.
Since TACMF was founded, Scarfe explains that his organization has expanded to become a “touring festival,” serving the rural communities of Northern California and Oregon. According to the festival’s official press release, the organization “has presented diverse programs with dozens of musicians in over 300 free public concerts and educational outreach visits to schools and summer camps.” TACMF welcomes everyone to their free concerts (donations welcome), which are designed to inspire music lovers of all kinds, regardless of their familiarity with “classical” music. Scarfe and other musicians share stories about the composers and music they’re performing, details that make the concerts more accessible and fun.
Headlining the first weekend of performances, July 26-28, soprano Jamie Rose Guarrine and violinist Emma Steele blend their unique vocals and instrumental music. Steele will also be featured alongside clarinetist Karla Avila in Igor Stravinsky’s popular suite from “A Soldier’s Tale.” The weekend concludes with an afternoon performance on the coast at Humboldt County’s Morris Graves Museum of Art in Eureka.
The second weekend, August 9 – 11, will feature Vivaldi’s popular “Four Seasons” in a series of outdoor concerts at stunning locations in Hyampom, Willow Creek, and Coffee Creek (Trinity Center). The ensemble will feature four different virtuoso violin soloists performing the Vivaldi, alongside other works showcasing Gabrielle Castriotta on oboe and Scarfe on harpsichord.