The Oskaloosa Chamber Music Festival (OCMF) will be returning to the community for its sixth consecutive year. Oskaloosa high school alum and professional violist, Benjamin Davis, returns to Oskaloosa each year for a week with his friends and colleagues from top performing ensembles across the country to form the OCMF Chamber Players.
During their residence, select members of the OCMF Chamber Players will be making classroom visits to the elementary and middle schools to give interactive presentations designed to excite and inspire students about all of the rewards that come with a musical life. Area high school students are provided with the opportunity to rehearse and perform side-by-side in a string orchestra with the OCMF Chamber Players and will also appear in concert at the end of the week.
The first event open to the public is a jam session hosted at Smokey Row. The OCMF Chamber Players will take turns reading through their favorite pieces in un-rehearsed, pick-up groups. As the evening progresses, they will look to the audience to take requests from their request list. Over the years, this has been a favorite of both performers and audiences.
The second event is a formal concert hosted at the First Presbyterian Church. This event is when the hard work and artistry of the OCMF Chamber Players, and their local high school collaborators, is put on the stage. This program showcases the rich and diverse history of chamber music going back as far as Bach and as current as compositions of today.
What began six years ago as a small crew of music students in Minnesota is now a group of leading professionals from across the nation. Collectively, the OCMF Chamber Players perform with over a dozen professional orchestras: the Des Moines Symphony, Quad City Symphony, Orchestra Iowa, LaCrosse Symphony and South Dakota Symphony to name just a few. They are teachers of music in both colleges and private music schools, collaborators with living composers and performers in a variety of chamber ensembles. One of our members even has the distinct pleasure to work directly with Yo-Yo Ma as a Citizen Musician Fellow with the Chicago Civic Orchestra. Together, they have over 200 years of musical training and experience
All events are free to the public but donations are strongly encouraged to help cover the necessary expenses to bring these artists in from across the country.