Dr. Penni Pier is the WCMS’ board Secretary and also teaches a variety of communication courses at Wartburg College where she also serves at the Grant L. Price Endowed Department Chair. Penni and her family have lived in Waverly since fall 2000.
“I love music, though am not very musically talented myself,” said Penni. “I love the idea that the WCMS is making music accessible to everyone and anyone in the community who would like to attend.”
Penni loves to help organize and brainstorm ideas for making the WCMS successful and to help inform the Waverly community of these opportunities to enjoy chamber music. When asked her favorite piece of chamber music, she said she couldn’t pick a favorite if she tried! Though she does have a fondness for strings.
When asked why she believes the WCMS will be a fabulous addition to the cultural offerings of Waverly and the Cedar Valley, Penni said, “I am really looking forward to reaching out to the youth in our community and sharing the [WCMS] experience with them. We have such talent and dedication in our public schools with regard to music and I think this will be a great addition to their education.”
Travis Toliver is the Vice Chair of the Waverly Chamber Music Board. Currently serving as Executive Director for the Waverly Chamber of Commerce and the Waverly Main Street program, Travis uses his almost 20 years of hotel hospitality experience to help better the Waverly business community and the Cedar Valley of Northeast Iowa. As a lifelong singer, Travis is no stranger to the stage having performed multiple major operatic and musical theatre roles throughout his singing career. He is a highly sought after vocal soloist, motivational speaker, narrator and voice-over artist. Travis can be heard narrating the “Voice of God” each year at Wartburg College’s annual Christmas with Wartburg production. In addition to the WCMS, Travis proudly serves on the board of directors for the Iowa Chamber of Commerce Executives, Waverly Area Development Fund, Waverly Economic Development Commission and Waverly's Sister City organization which helps to foster and maintain relations between Waverly, Iowa and Eisenach, Germany.
Our first concert of the 2017-18 Season will take place on Sunday, October 22nd at 3:00 pm in the Narthex of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Waverly.
Our performers will be Julia Bullard (viola), Ross Monroe Winter (violin), Hannah Holman (cello), and Sean Botkin (piano).
Julia and Hannah, along with their colleague Susanna Klein, are part of Trio 826, a chamber ensemble created to explore ideas for innovation in the performance of classical music new and old. The members of the trio have vast experience as orchestral and chamber musicians, soloists, and educators. The mission of Trio 826 is to reach new audiences and explore ways to bring classical music to life, through performing new and standard repertoire works in a variety of venues, from formal concerts to performances in intimate, informal, and unusual settings.
Pianist Sean Botkin began studying the piano at age five with his mother, making his first orchestral appearance four years later with the Honolulu Symphony. He went on to study privately with Neal O’Doan at the University of Washington and, under his direction, performed with the Seattle Symphony, Spokane Symphony, and Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra. Sean has garnered prizes in an impressive list of international piano competitions: William Kapell International Piano Competition, Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, Busoni International Piano Competition, Cleveland International Piano Competition, World Piano Competition in Cincinnati, Dong-A International Music Competition of Korea, International Music Competition of Japan and the Washington D.C. International Competition. A graduate of Stanford University, the Juilliard School, and Indiana University at South Bend, Sean has studied with eminent artists Adolph Baller, Martin Canin, and Alexander Toradze.
Violinist Ross Monroe Winter is Assistant Professor of Violin at the University of Northern Iowa. His career spans multiple genres in the orchestral, chamber music, and solo fields as well as work in film and television. Currently a member of the Richmond Symphony in Virginia and the IRIS Orchestra in Tennessee, in January of 2016 he was appointed Associate Concertmaster of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra (IA/IL). He has previously been a member of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Boston Philharmonic, and has performed with the National, Baltimore, New Jersey, and Alabama Symphony Orchestras.
Devoted to chamber music, he is a founding member of the Atlantic Chamber Ensemble, which is ensemble-in-residence at WCVE Public Radio and formerly at the Lake George Music Festival. He has performed at the festivals of Aspen, Santo Domingo, Todi, Maastricht, Virginia Arts, and Music at Penn's Woods.
We are so excited to welcome the artists for our first concert. Remember, WCMS concerts are free and open to the public. If you'd like to support our work of providing high-quality, free chamber music concerts for the community, click here to donate or contribute to our free-will offering at our concert on Oct. 22nd. We hope to see you there!
In our first blog series, "Meet the Board," we will introduce you to our board members and the folks responsible for helping to create the WCMS! First in the series is Barbara Zemke, the WCMS Board Chair.
I am Barbara Zemke, Chair of the board of directors of the Waverly Chamber Music Series (WCMS). I accepted the position of Dean of Women at Wartburg College in 1964 and moved to Waverly, where I met my husband. We have three adult children
and five grandchildren.
Since my retirement, I wrote the curricula for and continue to teach Advent and Lenten Preschools. I also teach preschoolers on Wednesday afternoons at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and School.
I chaired the board of directors of Cedar Valley Friends of the Family, a domestic abuse agency, for eighteen years. I was the first president of the Northeastern Iowa Synodical Women’s Organization of the ELCA. When asked to chair the WCMS board, it was easy to say, “Yes”.
I enjoy a variety of music both vocal and instrumental. I attend many offerings at the college – Christmas with Wartburg, the Wartburg Community Symphony, faculty and student recitals, ensembles, and the former Castle Chamber Series. WCMS provides a great opportunity for the community to listen to professional artists in an intimate setting and interact with them after the concert. Let the season begin!
Welcome to the Waverly Chamber Music Series (WCMS)!
We are so thrilled to have you on our site and hope to see you at our first concert and the many more that will follow it!
The WCMS is a newly-formed 501(c)(3) nonprofit, which came from the efforts of a group of musicians and music lovers who came together to discuss the possibility of establishing a chamber music series for Waverly and the Cedar Valley communities. After months of planning and filing paperwork, today the WCMS is an organization dedicated to bringing people together for the enjoyment of community and music.
The WCMS brings in professional musicians to perform in chamber music concerts. Unlike most concerts one hears in large recital halls, chamber music offers a more intimate experience. Historically, chamber music was developed and designed for smaller and more social venues, often taking place in people’s homes. As a result, the offerings of the WCMS strive to create that closer relationship between audience and performer. The audience will also have the opportunity to visit with the performers after each concert.
Concerts will take place in the Narthex of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Waverly and, because the WCMS believes that music and community-building should be available to all, concerts will always be completely free of charge. You can donate to the WCMS to continue our mission by donating online or by contributing to our free-will collection at our concerts.
To find out more about the WCMS, check out our About Us page and for more on our concert schedule and artists, visit our 2017-2018 Season page.
We hope to see you at our concerts to share in community-building and enjoying beautiful music!
- Kate Huffman, WCMS Board Member