Small hall, huge sound

Group hits ‘acoustic jackpot’ in former sanctuary

By TERRY MATHEWS, News-Telegram Arts Editor

Sept. 29, 2008- When Mark Miller, violinist and founding member of Mount Vernon Music, sat for an interview several weeks ago, he was quick to praise the acoustics in the former Central Christian Church the group calls home.

When he said “No matter where you sit in the building, the sound is great; we won the lottery with acoustics,” he was absolutely correct.

At Sunday’s Whitlock-Clinton Chamber Concert, the sound was crisp, clear and large enough to make the audience think an entire orchestra was playing the music of Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) and Antonin Dvorák (1841-1904), instead of just five perfectly synchronized musicians.

Miller and his wife Ute, who plays viola, were joined by pianist Joel Schoenhals of Michigan, violinist Kristin Jutrus of Georgia,and cellist Jolyon Pegis of Plano for the performance. They played to an appreciative audience of about 70 people.

�Can you believe that here in Mount Vernon, we have this group,� asked Betty Whitlock, one of the afternoon�s honorees. �What a treat.�

Ron Clinton, the afternoon’s other honoree, Whitlock’s husband and former head of the music department at Northeast Texas Community College, was also impressed with the performance.

�For 23 years, I�ve had to drive into Dallas to hear music of this quality,� Clinton said. �Now, I just have to come to Mount Vernon. It�s hard to believe that this group has come so far in three short years.�

Due to travel and performance scheduling conflicts, the five musicians had only four days to rehearse the ambitious program. They put their limited time to good use, playing almost as one and moving seamlessly from one number to the next.

The next program on the agenda for Mount Vernon Music is a “Country Fest Concert,” on Saturday, Oct 11, at 7 p.m., featuring Debbie Ragsdale on flute and Laura Logan on harp.

For ticket information, call 903-563-3780 or visit their website at:

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