'Talkback' after Backtrack: Concert series' Q&A sessions for youth continue Sunday

Dec. 8—WATERTOWN — After a choppy start, the Trinity Concert Series is hitting its groove this year in making its student outreach program the "talk" of the town.

The program continues Sunday following the 3 p.m. series concert on Sunday by Backtrack Vocals, a five-person a cappella group based in New York City. The Talkback/Q&A will immediately follow the concert at Trinity Episcopal Church.

In the program, co-sponsored by Watertown-based Harmony Performing Arts Community, high school music teachers are able to bring groups of students free of charge to Trinity concerts. After each of the "outreach concerts," the artists stay around for a Q&A/Talkback time with the students. The sessions, approximately a half-hour, are also open to others in the audience who wish to attend.

The roots of the Q&A sessions for youth go back to 2018.

"In October 2018, we presented 'The Same Stream' with conductor James Jordan. More than 50 students from local schools attended the choral concert and a Q&A session afterwards," said Kyle P. Ramey, series founder and organist and choirmaster at Trinity Episcopal Church. "We only scheduled one Q&A session in the 2018-2019 season, but it proved to be very well-received."

The 2019-2020 series was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "As the Trinity Concert Series committee began plans for the 2021-2022 season, we were determined to get the student outreach program to be a regular part of our series," Mr. Ramey said.

The first student outreach program in the 2021-2022 series was held following the Nov. 14 concert by the Konrad Paszkudzki Jazz Trio.

"We already have more than 130 high school students from all across Jefferson County attending," Mr. Ramey said.

Free tickets are offered to the youth groups taking part thanks, in part, to the support of Friends of the Trinity Concert Series donors as well a grant from the Northern New York Community Foundation.

In addition to Sunday's Talkback/Q&A Session, others scheduled for the 2021-22 series are March 20 with the Moanin' Frogs and on April 3 with the all-female brass quintet Seraph Brass & Organ.

Sunday's concert will be the first time that Backtrack Vocals has performed at the Trinity series. The group has performed on NBC, Fox, and PBS. "People can expect to hear the group's renditions of secular and sacred seasonal favorites — all sung a cappella, and all with beatbox," Mr. Ramey said.

He explained that a "beatboxer" is someone who uses their voice to provide percussive, rhythmic sounds that mimic a snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, hi-hat, and other similar sounds

"So, the group is made up of a soprano, an alto, a tenor, a bass, and a beatboxer," Mr. Ramey said.

piano series kicks off

The next concert in the Trinity series, at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18, will feature Mr. Ramey and Chris Hyde-Hall in the first concert in Trinity's new piano series. It will be a "four hand" concert on the church's Steinway & Sons Concert Grand 9-foot piano it acquired this year.

"She is one of this area's most gifted pianists," Mr. Ramey said.

The program by the pair will include classics such as selections from Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker Suite," sacred favorites such as "God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen" and "We Three Kings." Also, spirituals such as "Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow" and "Go, Tell it on the Mountain." Secular hits will include "Deck the Halls," "Jingle Bells" and "White Christmas."

The details

n WHAT: Tunes at Trinity with a "Talkback."

n WHERE: Trinity Episcopal Church, 227 Sherman St., Watertown.

n WHEN: After the 3 p.m. Sunday concert with Backtrack Vocals, a Talkback/Q&A Session will be held for students and others who wish to attend. This is the second of four such Talkback sessions scheduled at Trinity Concert Series. At 3 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 18, the series will launch its Piano Series relating to its 2021-22 season, with Chris Hyde-Hall and Kyle Ramey performing "Christmas Music for Piano Four Hands."

n TICKETS: Backtrack Vocal tickets range from $19-$25 for adults; $17 to $23 for senior citizens and $17 to $23 for members of the military. Tickets in certain tiers are always free for students, K through college. Otherwise, there is a charge of $3. For the piano concert, ticket prices range from $14-$20 for adults; $12 to $18 for senior citizens, $12 to $23 for members of the military, and the same guidelines as above for students.

n MORE INFO, TO ORDER: Go to trinityconcerts.org

n TALKBACK/Q&A: If interested in the program, contact Mr. Ramey at 316-788-6290 or at director@trinityconcerts.org