Picasso Ensemble and friends perform benefit concert April 20The Picasso Ensemble will perform a benefit concert in the sanctuary of Valley Presbyterian Church in Portola Valley on Tuesday, April 20, at 7 p.m.
The ensemble features Menlo Park pianist Josephine Gandolfi, violinist Susan C. Brown, cellist Victoria Ehrlich, and mezzo soprano Wendy Hillhouse. The concert will also feature guest vocalist LaDoris Cordell, and guest percussionist Deanne Tucker.
Proceeds will benefit the Children's Library of Pueblo Nuevo, Nicaragua, a library founded 10 years ago by Peninsula teacher Kristina Underdal Mundera.
The program includes songs set to music by Karen Linford, head of the choral music program at Menlo School in Atherton. Ms. Linford is in good company on the program, which also includes songs set by Spanish composer Manuel de Falla.
The ensemble also will perform music for instrumental trio by Dvorak, Susan Brown, and Alexis Alrich.
The texts of Ms. Linford's songs are poems written by children at the bi-lingual Castro Elementary School in Mountain View under the guidance of Ms. Underdal Mundera, who founded the Puebla Nuevo library. Ms. Linford, Ms. Gandolfi, and Ms. Cordell had participated in a poetry and music project at the school in 2005, and Ms. Linford originally set the music for the poems, written on themes of nature, for student instruments.
Later, Ms. Linford rearranged some of the pieces for violin, flute and piano, and developed them for performance by professional musicians, she said. The four pieces that will be performed in next week's concert have been further adapted, with the cello taking the flute's part.
Ms. Linford, who is a pianist and mezzo soprano, started writing music when she was 9, she said, but she didn't try writing choral music until the 2005 music and poetry project. "This launched me," she said. "It made me realize just how much I love writing music."
The beneficiary of the concert, the children's library in Nicaragua, was the realization of a dream of Ms. Underdal 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.
The building project was begun in 2001, with volunteer work by families in the community, and now the library serves preschool- through college-age residents.
The suggested donation for admission to the concert is $15 general and $10 for students. The church is located at 945 Portola Road in Portola Valley.
Visit abren.org for more information about the children's library in Pueblo Nuevo.