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April Verch Band This Ottawa Valley native has garnered praise from music’s heavy hitters including NPR, Rolling Stone, No Depression and more, for her fresh and feisty approach to deep North Americana.  Verch’s signature fiddle sound blends together regional Canadian, American old-time, bluegrass, country and Americana, resulting in a well-rounded tour-de-force of traditional sounds.  Her delicate voice, energetic footwork and stunning playing have brought her to stages across the globe, wowing audiences with her jaw-dropping performance.    “…[a] retro-wonderful—a masterful presentation…” -Steven Brodksy delcoculturevultures.com

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One of the cornerstones of the string orchestra repertoire, Tchaikovsky's Serenade will be featured on the National String Symphonia May concert. This work evokes the spirit of Mozart's serenades, which were greatly admired by Tchaikovsky. Indeed, Mozart's most famous Serenade - Eine Kleine Nachtmusik - was also composed for strings alone. Continuing the Mozart connection, we will be presenting a work by a woman composer who was a contemporary (and friend) of Mozart. Soprano Melissa Chavez will return to join the NSS in presenting Marianne von Martinez's aria "La belle lagrime" for the first time since Martinez's death in 1812. The Bachianas Brasilieras of Heitor Villa-Lobos are also nods to composers of the past, this time to J.S. Bach. Villa-Lobos composed nine such works, attempting to integrate the compositional tools of the Baroque composers to the sound of the traditional music of Brazil. The result are some of the best-known works of Latin American art music. Rounding out this concert is the beloved Adagietto for Strings by Gustav Mahler. Written as a love song to his future wife, Alma, this tender and lyrical work has inspired more than 20 choreographers to set it to stage.