Music celebrating nature featured in April 26 concert benefiting children's libraryThe Picasso Ensemble will perform a concert of music ranging from the Baroque to the present to benefit a children's library in Nicaragua on Thursday, April 26, at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary of Bethany Lutheran Church in Menlo Park.
The ensemble features Menlo Park pianist Josephine Gandolfi, violinist Susan C. Brown, cellist Victoria Ehrlich, and mezzo soprano Wendy Hillhouse.
Proceeds will benefit the Children's Library of Pueblo Nuevo, Nicaragua, a library founded 12 years ago by Peninsula teacher Kristina Mundera and sustained by the local nonprofit group ABREN, Friends of the Library.
The program features music based on themes celebrating nature and care of the Earth. It includes a work by Handel representing nature's peace, one by Turina "chronicling the unfolding of a day as the sun makes its way across the sky," and Ravel's "Mother Goose Suite," a "musical re-telling of fairy tales set in enchanted forest and garden," says Ms. Gandolfi.
Contemporary works include pieces by Henry Cowell, who was born and raised in West Menlo Park; Karen Linford, choral conductor and composer on faculty at Menlo School; and Bay Area composer D'Arcy Reynolds.
Ms. Linford's songs are based on texts in Spanish written by elementary school children at the Castro School in Mountain View.
"Complementing the educational Earth Day activities for the young children of the Littlest Angels Pre-School at Bethany the previous week, the concert is geared for adult listeners and older teens, and will have an Earth Day theme," Ms. Gandolfi notes.
The beneficiary of the concert, the children's library in Nicaragua, was the realization of a dream of Ms. Mundera, who lived in Pueblo Nuevo as a Peace Corps volunteer, working with neighborhood youth. Witnessing the enthusiasm of children in that town for a small collection of children's books that she brought to her post, she and the community began exploring ways to build a library for kids.
Ms. Mundera, family and friends in the United States rallied together to raise money for construction materials, and construction began in 2001, "the entire process fueled by volunteer work of local families — children and adults alike," Ms. Gandolfi says.
The library programs serves between 80 and 120 youth daily, "many of whom come from remote communities to take advantage of the library's resources," she says.
Admission is by donation, suggested at $20 general, and $10 for students.
Bethany Lutheran Church is at 1095 Cloud Ave. in Menlo Park. Entrance to parking is off Avy Avenue.
For concert information, call 493-5046.