This past Monday night our community was gifted with the sound of music, in a stunning performance from the Harlem Quartet straight from the Big Apple.

Four young, incredibly-talented musicians: Ilmar Gavilan, violin; Melissa White, violin; Jaime Amador, viola; and Felix Umanski, cello.

For two hours, the Harlem Quartet, playing in the intimate Ives Theater at the Reif Center, transported us from our chaotic world to a healing place for body, mind and spirit.

Their diversity from classical to jazz, their amazing intuitive playing, their enthusiasm and professionalism, their poise and interpretation of such challenging music from Debussey, Dizzie Gillespie and Schubert, made one feel that music can transpose all issues.

These four young people who have performed in so many prestigious venues from Carnegie Hall to the White House to the Montreal Jazz Festival, with the greats like Itzhak Perlman and the world premier of Leonard Bernstein’s rendition of West Side Story. At the present time, these four outstanding young people are currently serving a three-year residency at London’s College of Music! Their mission is to advance diversity in classical music, engaging young and new audiences.

Thank you Reif Board, for bringing this ‘gift’ to a northern Minnesota community on a bitter, cold November night.

Juliet Jones

Grand Rapids

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