SV grad Dianne Williams featured in 'Concert at Noon'

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Last year, more than 1,000 people attended Christ Presbyterian Church's three noontime concerts, making it the most talked-about lunch-hour concert series downtown Canton has seen in quite some time.

The second of the three noontime concerts in this year's series will take place during lunch-hour on Wednesday, Dec. 19, at Christ Presbyterian Church, featuring professional flutist and Sandy Valley High School graduate, Dianne Williams, mezzo-soprano Rachel Milligan and pianist Janelle Phinney.

Lunch service will begin at 11:30 a.m. in the newly renovated Westminster Hall and the concert taking place from 12:10 - 1 p.m. in the church's grand and majestic sanctuary.

The concert's personable and casual atmosphere allows concert-goers to come and go on their lunch-hour.

Each of the three concerts in the noontime series creates a unique collaboration of melodies and menus which celebrate the splendors of the seasons. The concerts are free, family-friendly, handicapped-accessible, and open to the public and a lunch of light seasonal fare, such as soups, salads, and sandwiches, highlights the culinary talents of downtown Canton chefs.

To prepare for the winter solstice, the concert on Wednesday, Dec. 19, will feature a menu of winter favorites from the popular downtown eatery, Lucca. For $9, guests will get roasted red pepper bisque, a composed salad of roasted red and golden beets with fresh mozzarella and a balsamic gastric, and a roasted turkey and spinach wrap with cranberry vin.

The music at the Dec. 19 concert will feature a vast array of holiday favorites, including The Holly and The Ivy, Nutcracker dances, Coventry Carol, O Holy Night, O Come O Come Emmanuel, and more.

As a professional flutist with four solo CDs, Dianne Williams has played in a vast array of settings, including symphonies, performing arts stages, and on the home-shopping network, QVC. Williams, and her 14-karat gold flute, which she affectionately calls "Goldie," are most noted for a crystal-clear and resonant tone combined with an expressive style, but Williams feels that her personable approach…her "passion for talking to the audience and connecting heart-to-heart"…is what makes her performances so unique.

"I know my approach to performing is more casual than my 'classical training' prepared me for," says Williams, a Canton Township resident, "but I really enjoy talking to the audience, explaining the music and its history, and connecting with the people who are there. Within moments of the concert's opening, I feel like I'm playing for an audience of my best friends, and I think they feel the same connection. I wouldn't have it any other way."

Rachel Milligan, mezzo-soprano and Canton native, recently graduated with her Masters degree from Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music, where she studied in the acclaimed opera studio. She is currently taking auditions in professional opera companies in New York and Pittsburgh.

Pianist Janelle Phinney is the owner and director of Sempre Piano School on Fulton Road. She obtained degrees from both Bowling Green and Yale, and has accompanied Williams and many other musicians locally and afar.

"Because it is designed to be accessible to anyone who enjoys delicious food and beautiful music, this lunch-time concert series has become quite popular across all age-groups," states David J. Kienzle, Director of Music at Christ Presbyterian Church. "We have young children with their mothers, downtown Canton employees on their lunch-break, and retired people all sitting down together, savoring a meal together, and appreciating the talents of local musicians together. It's become a real 'community' event…a 'feel good' hour to just relax and enjoy…and we are incredibly proud of that."

Reservations are not required, but are appreciated for planning purposes. Please call the church office at 330-456-8113 or send an e-mail to cpcoffice@cantoncpc.org.

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