HARPERS FERRY — Katie Tertell founded the Appalachian Chamber Music Festival in 2021, because she has a love for music and a love for this area.
“This whole thing is my brainchild,” Tertell said in an interview earlier this week. “For this kind of festival, I had two big things to answer. One was asking who is it for and the other is where.”
Inspired by the beauty of Harpers Ferry and the surrounding area, Tertell has once again secured multiple venues to offer a well-rounded schedule of performances for the annual festival’s second year.
A cellist, Tertell grew up in Northern Virginia and currently lives abroad most of the year, serving as an instructor for cello students. Her love for both folk and traditional music helped form the basis of the festival. Drawing inspiration from her friends, who are also musical artists, she developed the plan for the festival, which she set in motion last year.
Organizing the event in spite of the COVID-19 Pandemic offered a bit of a challenge, Tertell said. However, her efforts were successful in beginning a program that reaches out to all lovers of live music, regardless of their ages, tastes or backgrounds.
“The musicians I have invited are passionate about their music,” Tertell said, adding that the festival has a goal of not only bringing the highest quality of music in the genre, but also highlighting local talent.
Harpers Ferry serves as the headquarters of the festival, heavily enmeshed in other nearby communities, with number of events in Shepherdstown, Charles Town, Purcellville, Va., Hillsboro, Va. and Middlesburg, Va.
“Our tagline is, ‘History, nature, culture,'” Tertell said.We celebrate and elevate all cultural things already in place here.”
The mission of the festival is to meld world-class chamber music performances, collaborations and outreaches with the rich and inspiring history, nature and culture of the Shenandoah Valley area. The musicians involved strive to enrich the region through sharing their love of music with their audiences.
To assist in bringing the 2022 festival to life, Tertell said her organization received a grant from the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation’s Detlev and Mary Ellen Preissler Fund for the Arts, Music, Design and Nature.
“The grant will be used to offset costs of venues and securing artists,” Tertell said, mentioning the goal is to make the ticketed performances affordable for attendees.
In fact, some of the performances will be offered at no cost, allowing more concertgoers to experience ACMF’s musical offerings. In fact, the very first event in the festival roster will be free to the public — the Festival Taster Preview at St. James Catholic Church in Charles Town on Aug. 17 at 8:15 p.m
The festival for 2022 runs from Aug. 15-22, with eight concerts in Jefferson County and six concerts in Virginia. In addition to the concerts, two educational camps are being offered, as part of the festival schedule. A Strings Chamber Music Camp will be held Aug. 15-19 at the Old Stone School in Hillsboro, Va., for those ages 12-18. An Adult Chamber Music Intensive will be held in Shepherd University’s Frank Center from Aug. 20-24.
This second season of the Appalachian Chamber Music Festival will focus on folk music influences in classical music, the roots of Appalachian music and the influence of Celtic and Scots-Irish traditions.
“Some of the concerts are more traditional, and some are more catered for families,” Tertell said. “There is nothing like live music.”
The complete festival schedule, as well as ticket information, can be found at www.appalachianchamber.org.