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Local residents treated to music
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Local residents were treated to an evening of melodious acoustic string music and some expert traditional dance steps recently as Magness Library played host to former John Denver guitarist Pete Huttlinger, and Jim and Inge Wood of the Tennessee Fiddle Orchestra.
Huttlinger, who resides in Nashville, has appeared at Carnegie Hall, toured with John Denver before his death in 1997, and played guitar for LeAnn Rimes in several acoustic performances. He has released a number of acclaimed instrumental albums and a successful series of guitar instructional DVDs.
While Huttlinger, a graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, is partial to jazz, he excels in many musical styles. This ability to transcend genres fits right in with the Woods, a husband and wife team who formed the Tennessee Fiddle Orchestra to provide an outlet for regional musicians to perform with a large group.
All three performers are multi-instrumentalists, providing the audience with a veritable cornucopia of string instruments between them, including guitar, banjo, cello, fiddle, mandolin, upright bass and exotic instruments like the bousouki.
Jim is a five-time Tennessee Fiddle Champion and a 28-year veteran of the Nashville music scene, and Inge, a native of Costa Rica, is an accomplished singer who performs in both Spanish and English.
The music began with some solo work from Huttlinger, who, as the night went on, played his amazing instrumental arrangements of classic tunes from musical icons like The Beatles and Steely Dan. The group also played a number of original compositions from both Jim and Pete, as well as a variety of traditional songs and fiddle tunes, some jazz and even some Bach.
As usual, Inge held the audience mesmerized with her plaintive and delicately beautiful voice on a number of songs, including a particularly moving rendition of the well-known folk spiritual “Wayfaring Stranger,” made famous by folk singer Burl Ives.
Multi-talented performer Hillary Bevels provided a wonderfully visual and sensory adjunct to the music with her dance, even drawing a young audience member into the performance.
The outstanding quartet of musicians turned in one virtuoso performance after another, holding the crowd transfixed as their fingers literally danced across the strings, weaving intricate melodies that lingered in the hearts and minds of the audience long after the song was over.
Magness Library board chairman Pat Bigbee said the library is always pleased to be able to offer this kind of event to the public, especially with performers of this caliber.
“I thought it was wonderful,” Bigbee said. “They were really, really good and worked so well together, and I think the dancing added a lot to it.”
Bigbee said she especially wanted to thank Steve Grove for his culinary contributions to the library’s cultural presentations.
“He has been so generous,” Bigbee said. “I can’t thank him enough. He has kind of taken the library on as his pet project. He has donated the food for our events and always does such a wonderful job. The food is delicious and he presents it with such flair. We are so grateful to him for his support.”
Of course, in the end, it’s all about providing an evening of entertainment and just plain fun for those who attend these events, and Bigbee says she thinks the event was a success on that score.
“I think everyone had a good time,” Bigbee said. “Including the performers. They really seemed to enjoy themselves, and I know the audience did.”