SHEL returns to Bartlesville with the
Amici NY String Quartet
May 14th at the Kress
During SHEL’s performance at Frank & Lola’s to close out the 2013 OK Mozart Festival showcase series, an epiphany occurred. While the sister group performed their original tune “Tuscany,” influenced liberally from the quartet’s classical upbringing, OKM Artistic Director Constantine Kitsopoulos realized this act provided a great opportunity to bring chamber music to diverse audiences. “I was intrigued by the originality of SHEL’s music,” Kitsopoulos recalls. “I could hear additional strings weaving in and out of the arrangements of the songs. After a brief conversation with the band, I knew it was something we could explore further.” The vision that has been brewing for nearly a year reaches fruition at 7 p.m. May 14 with the next installment of the OKM Original Artist Concert Series featuring Amici New York String Quartet and SHEL at the Frank Phillips Club, 206 SE Frank Phillips Blvd. Tickets are $32 and can be purchased at OKM or Bartlesville Community Center box offices or online at www.okmozart.com. The concert will begin with an Amici String Quarter set showcasing selections from the 2014 OK Mozart repertoire, followed by SHEL and concluding with a collaborative set featuring both acts. Kitsopoulos has begun arranging the finale, a time-consuming yet rewarding task. “I’ve listened to SHEL's albums many, many times to get an idea of how the string quartet can be added,” Kitsopoulos says. “I'll think of lines and riffs that go with the lyrics, the other instrumental textures, etc. Then I'll talk to members of the band and get their ideas. It's only after that prep work that I'll sit down and put pencil to paper.” After years of classical training and continuing influences from nearly all genres of music, the ladies of SHEL are thrilled to perform with a string quartet for the first time, especially in a town of which they’ve grown quite fond. “For us, (this concert) is a long-standing dream come true, we're extremely excited,” says Eva Holbrook, SHEL’s cellist and mandolin player. “Bartlesville is without question one of the most unique and wonderful towns we've ever visited and we're thrilled to be working with OK Mozart once again to bring a very special concert experience to one of our favorite audiences.” SHEL’s audiences and media exposure have grown rapidly since their first full-length album release and Bartlesville debut in 2012. Video premieres on USA Today, American Songwriter and CMT, music reviews from every corner of the country and song placement in several network television shows and commercials are all indicative of a band that doesn’t fit into a mainstream mold gaining mainstream popularity. It’s fitting that a group expanding musical boundaries while also solidifying itself with OK Mozart audiences is paired with members of Amici New York Orchestra, the festival’s centerpiece. The Amici String Quartet features orchestra members who have performed in nearly all 29 OKM Festivals to date. Incorporating these musicians into a contemporary performance falls directly in line with the artistic vision of the festival. “Combining contemporary artists with members of Amici NY Orchestra is a perfect way to enhance the crossover concert experience,” says Kitsopoulos. “Small orchestral ensembles are key as it makes it easier to fit this sort of genre bending into our house concert series. Hopefully it's a way to lead people into the OK Mozart chamber music scene and then into the larger orchestral concerts.” Holbrook agrees with the notion of genre bending as the sisters list classical, folk, classic rock and various other musical forms as influential. “There is a great deal to be learned and harnessed in any genre,” Holbrook says. “Freedom, expression, emotion, beauty, chaos, refinement, innovation, poetry, musicality – we're hunting for these things in music perhaps more than we're methodically studying any particular genre.” Box: VIP Pre-Show Party Bartlesville Monthly Magazine will be hosting an intimate VIP party from 5:30-7 p.m. in the loft.Tickets are $75 and include heavy appetizers, wine and beer, entrance to the show and an opportunity to meet the artists.