Cameron Wilson, violin, Allan Stiles, piano, Charles Inkman, cello
Following an introduction by Seacoast Entertainment Association’s concert producers, Pat McArdel and Steve Dennis, three gentlemen dressed in concert black took to the stage at the Florence Events Center on Saturday, January 21. Cameron Wilson, violinist, Charles Inkman, cellist, and Allen Stiles, pianist, began what was to be a unique, eclectic and very humorous evening of music.
The fun began with the familiar “Sweet Georgia Brown,” written by Casey Pinkard. The arrangement by Wilson was, indeed, sweet with rhythm variations that must be precise and together because otherwise a real train wreck could ensue. There was no train wreck. As one audience member noted, they were in perfect sync with each other. The audience loved it but that could be said about each and every piece played.
The Joe Trio was formed in 1989 by Inkman and Wilson with Stiles being a more recent addition. However, they have all known each other since their music education/training days at the University of British Columbia in Canada. All are classically trained and play in other groups/symphonies and teach. Wilson’s background is a bit different in that he grew up fiddling with his father playing by ear. They are all very encouraging of young people who want to become musicians and Wilson’s six year old son now plays his dad’s original violin.
The name Joe Trio was inspired by the Peanuts Snoopy character, Joe Cool. It is a salute to the average “Joe.” Although, there is nothing average about these excellent musicians who continue learning new music venues, the latest of which is jazz. They are working toward play-by-ear improvisation.
The trio performed so much great music that it is impossible to describe it all. From Brian Wilson’s Beach Boys hits to Joseph Haydn’s after dinner selection from one of his many quartet trios. Neither is easy to play. The Haydn Quartets are intricate and difficult. Wilson’s music is smoother but no less complex. And beautiful. Whoever thought Beach Boy’s music could be beautiful?
An audience test began the second half. Several 1970’s television show theme songs were played in the style of…..The audience was tasked to guess the right show and the right classical composer’s style. The audience received a passing grade and lots of mint pattys. It was all done with great humor.
Cellist Inkman has a varied career in music with symphony participation, teaching, recording for movies and television and playing in Broadway musicals. It appears, though, when watching him play with the trio that he thoroughly enjoys every minute. His face beams as he plays with superior precision drawing out elegant tones from his instrument, a feat not so easy to accomplish.
The piano in a trio is the main accompanying instrument. Stiles did his job more than well. If the strings do not have that superior piano anchor, it is also potential for a train wreck. There were no blips or mistakes. Stiles shone when needed and was the background music when required. A piano can easily drown out two string instruments but that never happened. His crescendos and decrescendos were right on.
Wilson is a fiddler gone classical rogue. His skill is obvious, as is his enjoyment in playing the music. One audience member noted that these three musicians clearly enjoy each other and playing together. Wilson’s joy was written all over his face. This was a very demanding program for the violin and Wilson never faltered or showed signs of fatigue. Harmonic technique on the violin can be ear-splitting. Often during the evening, Wilson displayed the perfection of his harmonic technique as it lay softly on the ear.
The second half of the evening began with Felix Mendelssohn’s “Trio in C minor Op. 66” which takes 30 minutes to perform. It seemed like less. The only thing that can be said about this performance is “flawlessly divine.”
One highlight of the second half was their exquisite rendition of “Da Slockit Light” written by Tom Anderson and arranged by Wilson. The Moorhens of Berlin Heights, Ohio, would have loved hearing/watching this. It is one of their favorites. It is heavenly: