Juno Orchestra presents ‘Challenge’ on Feb. 11 at BMC

The Brattleboro Music Center's Juno Orchestra, the region's "home team" chamber orchestra, presents "Challenge" on Sunday, Feb. 11.

The concert is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at the BMC.

Under the direction of Zon Eastes, the Juno Orchestra will perform George Frideric Handel's Concerto Grosso in B flat major, Op. 6, No. 7; Paul Hindemith's Five Pieces, Op. 44, No. 4; Erik Nielsen's Movement III from Glimpses of Azure; Jean Perrault's Exodus; and George Templeton Strong's Chorale on a Theme of Leo Hassler.

Also featured will be the premiere of Robert Merfeld's Bridget Anne Hart: An Irish Legacy. The piece was inspired by memories of departing the Irish homeland and settling in a new land, namely Vermont. The piece is set for narrator, winds, and strings, and "presents several tunes any audience member will recognize," Eastes explained in a news release.

Exodus is a one-movement work, expanding in size from a string quartet written in 2021. The piece is dedicated to anyone forced from their homeland. "Unusual and appealing," this piece seemed a perfect emotional fit with Merfeld's, Eastes said.

While the theme of Challenge initially focused on asking composers to create new pieces for the concert, an alternate take on the idea of challenge began to emerge. "In these unsettling times, in our own country and abroad, the challenge of displacement, departure, and resettlement strikes a deep chord."

A third piece on the program that complements the theme is Strong's Chorale. This eight-minute chorale is a study on a tune by Leo Hassler from 1601 that audiences will recognize as O Sacred Head Now Wounded, used by Johann Sebastian Bach in his two Passions as well as in several cantatas.

"While the pieces on the remainder of the program may not speak to 'challenge' as directly as the first three, separately and together, they offer explorations of question, complexity, and hope."

Tickets are $20 for advance general admission, $25 at the door, $10 for youth admission and free for those 12 and under, available at or by calling 802-257-4523. A limited number of reduced-price tickets are also available; call the BMC or email [email protected] for more information.

This The Arts item was submitted to The Commons.

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