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CityMusic Cleveland brings classical performance to St. Noel in Willoughby Hills
By Chris M. Worrell, Correspondent on December 08, 2012

WILLOUGHBY HILLS, Ohio -- St. Noel Church of Willoughby Hills, 35200 Chardon Road, offers a concert by CityMusic Cleveland Friday, Dec. 14 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. The free performance is open to the public.

Conductor Stefan Willich will lead the orchestra through a pair of Mozart works, "Overture to the Marriage of Figaro" and "Oboe Concerto in C, K314," and Mendelssohn's "Symphony No. 4." The musicians may even add a few holiday favorites.

Eugenia Strauss, executive director of CityMusic, says the large church offers great acoustics and is a favorite of the orchestra. A brief reception provides an opportunity to mingle with some of the musicians.

The threefold mission of CityMusic is to eliminate the twin barriers of high ticket prices and unfamiliar venues, work with neighborhood leaders to enrich cultural offerings in the community, and to present quality classical music performances.

CityMusic concerts are always free. The shows offer curious music lovers the opportunity to experience an orchestral performance without purchasing a pricey ticket or driving to an unfamiliar venue. CityMusic, however, is not a community or student orchestra. All members are working, professional musicians.

With an annual budget of around $500,000, CityMusic relies on corporate and business sponsorships and other contributions to cover expenses. Each year the orchestra presents a fundraising concert and an end-of-year donor drive. Donations are always welcome, whether online, by mail or at shows. In addition, host communities contribute a small sum to the orchestra and help promote concerts.

CityMusic relies on volunteers as well as donations. Volunteers are needed for performances, promotion and a variety of other support activities.

Willoughby Hills is one of several host communities throughout northeast Ohio. Strauss credits Councilmen David Reichelt and Kevin Malecek with bringing CityMusic to Willoughby Hills and she praises Mayor Bob Weger for his continuing commitment to the orchestra.

Strauss explains that host cities come to be viewed as "arts destinations." The performances attract patrons from surrounding areas and visitors often combine a concert with dining, shopping and other activities. In addition, CityMusic uses its website to promote host communities with links like "Discover Our Neighborhoods" and "Neighborhood Restaurants."

The orchestra's outreach efforts extend beyond performances in area cities. CityMusic also offers an after-school musical education program in Slavic Village and Elyria. Children from second to eighth grades receive free musical instruction on instruments that are donated by the community.

CityMusic was established in 2006. Last year more than 19,000 music lovers attended CityMusic performances. The orchestra plans 21 concerts this season. In addition to the Willoughby Hills show, the orchestra has upcoming concerts Dec. 12 in Cleveland Heights, Dec. 13 in Cleveland, Dec. 15 at Slavic Village and Dec. 16 in Elyria. Performances are available online at the CityMusic website for those who want a preview of the orchestra.

For further information, contact CityMusic at 216-321-8273.