March 14, 2013

Masters of the keys swing into Saranac


---- — SARANAC — European classical and traditional folk music, with jazz inflections, intersect beneath pianist Annemieke Spoelstra’s fingers and accordionist Jeremiah McLane at Saturday’s Hill and Hollow Music concert.

Their program includes “Armenian Folk Songs” of Alan Hovhaness, “Six Rumanian Dances” by Bela Bartok, “Slavonic Dance” by Antonin Dvorak, “Suite Francaise” by Francis Poulenc and a couple of tangos by Astor Piazzolla.

Spoelstra, a native of the Netherlands, teaches piano at St. Michael’s College in Vermont and is accompanist for the St. Michael’s College Chorale.

She began her piano studies with Joke Venhuizen at age 7. She earned undergraduate and graduate degrees at the Conservatory in Zwolle in her homeland.

An in-demand soloist, she has performed all over the world and is a frequent collaborator in conservatory settings and in competitions, national and international. She is a former accompanist for the Vermont Youth Orchestra chorus and chorale.

A New Hampshire native, McLane was whirled into contra dance in his paternal-family home in Manchester. There, the soundtrack wavered from Edith Piaf to ragtime, Harry Belafonte, the Beatles, Eric Satie, Jimi Hendrix, Bach and Beethoven.

McLane’s first instrument was the clarinet, but he switched to piano. Though he had classical lessons, his older siblings schooled him on the boogie-woogie and the blues.

Influenced by blues and jazz greats, he studied at the New England Conservatory and received a master’s degree in contemporary improvisation. He teaches at the Summit School of Traditional Music in Montpelier, Vt.

Traditional New England roots music’s sound was brushed by his Clayfoot Strutters and Nightingale. His sextet, Le Bon Vent, specializes in French and Franco-American music.

“Jeremiah McLane is an old friend who has come to Hill and Hollow Music in a couple of other ensembles,” said Angela Brown, co-founder with J. Kellum Smith of Hill and Hollow Music.

“He is a member of Nightingale and Le Bon Vent. Both of those ensembles have come to Hill and Hollow. He also came in November 2011 with Annemieke. They gave a house concert. They were so wonderful, we wanted to have more people see it. The concert at the church is open to the public, so more people can come.”

Spoelstra and McLane have made their own arrangements of the works on Saturday’s program, infused with driving-dance rhythms and modal melodies and harmonies.

“The combination of accordion and piano is not a common kind of ensemble, but these two have a special musical chemistry,” Brown said.

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IF YOU GO WHO: Annemieke Spoelstra, piano, and Jeremiah McLane, accordion. WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday. WHERE: Saranac United Methodist Church, Route 3, Saranac. ADMISSION: $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors, free for children under 12. A reception downstairs will follow the performance. CONTACT: 293-7613