The Dec. 19 Brown Bag Concert at the Randolph County Community Arts Center features a quartet of Elkins-area residents playing traditional Christmas music on instruments with ancient origins. The free concert begins at noon in the Great Hall and is sponsored by Davis Trust Co.
Members of the quartet are lifelong musicians Judith Ware, Mary Smakula, Linda Wolfersheim and Craig Stihler. They will play soprano, alto, tenor and bass recorders.
Recorders are a family of woodwind instruments that were popular in the 1500 to 1600s. The quartet will play wooden instruments manufactured in the late 1900s that are similar to the instruments made during the renaissance period.
Judith Ware is an Elkins native who taught herself to play the recorder after graduating from Davis & Elkins College. Ware has also played piano, flute and claw hammer banjo. She sang with the Davis & Elkins Oratorio Society for many years and currently sings with a choir at St. Brendan Church.
Mary Smakula started playing recorders in grade school in New York State. She played French horn through college and has played recorder with a choir at St. Brendan Church since moving to Elkins. She knows a few tunes on banjo. Smakula works as a civil engineer for the Monongahela National Forest and is the proud mother of two young musicians.
Linda Wolfersheim is Assistant Professor of music at West Virginia Wesleyan University where she leads a flute ensemble. Wolfersheim plays a variety of flutes, clarinets and recorders. She learned recorder in grade school in Virginia. Wolfersheim has performed solo and in ensembles at West Virginia Wesleyan, The Randolph County Community Arts Center and at Beverly heritage events.
Craig Stihler, originally from Michigan, is a nationally recognized bat expert. He plays the full range of recorders, piano and guitar. He leads a choir at St. Brendan Church and has written several arrangements sung by the choir.
The quartet will perform Christmas music from four centuries including familiar Christmas carols, tunes from the Oxford Book of Carols and lively dances from the 1500s.
The Randolph County Community Arts Center, a non-profit organization promoting and supporting the arts in Randolph County and the surrounding areas, is located at the corner of Randolph Avenue and Park Street in Elkins. The Arts Center is supported by private donations as well as the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts. Call the RCCAC office at 304-637-2355 or visit www.randolpharts.org for information on its arts education classes, exhibits, concert series, and children's concert series. The Arts Center is committed to providing accessibility to individuals with disabilities. If you are in need of an accommodation, please contact the office in advance.