The Madison Marimba Quartet (MMQ) will perform the 17th annual Our Gift To You free concert on Saturday, Dec. 29, 1 p.m. in the afternoon at Mills Concert Hall on the UW campus. Quartet members Laura Guse, Tim Gruber, Tom Shaver, and Jim Latimer team together to rehearse and perform this “between the holidays” concert as their way to give back to the community — something this quartet has been doing since 1996.
“The music is the message” according to Latimer, the Quartet’s founder, who went on to say that folks are usually looking for positive, creative, and family things to do between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. For MMQ the past 16 concerts billed as “Our Gift To You” have been exciting and successful.
Latimer is professor emeritus from the UW-Madison School of Music, conductor of Madison’s own Capitol City Band, and the VFW 1318 Volunteer Band and a recent fellow inductee into the Wisconsin Academy of Arts and Science. Laura Guse is a Doctor of Physical Therapy at UW Hospital and Clinics. Tim Gruber is a free-lance percussionist and music teacher in the Madison Schools and Tom Shaver is band director at Portage High School.
“We’ve played together for a long time,” says Gruber. “Weekly rehearsals pay off; besides it’s fun and a stress-reliever from usual day-to-day activities. Sometimes we have to bring our kids but they have learned to listen, read, and do quiet activities during the rehearsals.”
MMQ was founded in 1980 and has played throughout Wisconsin and on Wisconsin Public Radio; from Rockford IL and Tulsa OK to Bethesda MD and Washington D.C. They delight audiences of all ages with their combined talents, virtuosity, and personalities and perform regularly by invitation for a fee.
MMQ promises an exciting program of music from the classical Beethoven Finale-Allegro from Quartet No. 13, Opus 130 to the wild and wacky “A Shot in the Dark” or “Inspector Clouseau” by Mancini. The program is also likely to include one movement from “Quartets” by Alice Smith and Felix Mendelssohn, “Can-Can” by Offenbach, “Theme and Variations on Simple Gifts” by Copland as arranged for the quartet by Madison composer, Frank Ferriano. A little jazz completes any MMQ concert — it could be “Satin Doll,” “Freedom Jazz Dance,” “Take Five,” “So What” or something else. As in the past, the quartet will play the traditional “Sleigh Ride” to celebrate the season. The concert will last about 75 minutes with a brief intermission.
The concert is free and open to the public. Mills Concert Hall is located at the UW School of Music in the Mosse Humanities Building at the corner of University Avenue and N. Park Street in Madison. Nearby parking is available at the Lake Street and Southeast Area Parking Ramps (enter from Lake Street from University Ave. or W. Johnson); at Grainger Hall (enter on Brooks Street from W. Johnson or University Avenue) or Helen C. White Hall (enter from N Park Street across from the Memorial Union Theater).
For information, visit www.mmqccb.org or e-mail email@example.com or call (608) 835-9861.