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PREVIEW: Lich Gate Concerts presents a program of Handel, Mozart, and Beethoven Saturday, June 8, at Sheffield Town Park

A Lich Gate is a covered gateway found at the entrance to an English-style churchyard that is said to mark the transition from the secular world into the sacred.

Sheffield — Lich Gate Concerts of Sheffield will present a program on Saturday, June 8, of popular works by Handel, Mozart, and Beethoven, performed by Lich Gate regulars violinist Jorge Ávila, violist Orlando Wells, violinist Rachel Handman, and cellist Sarah Hewitt-Roth.

The program on the 8th is as follows:

  • HANDEL — Concerto Grosso No. 3 in E minor for String Quartet
  • MOZART — Clarinet Quintet in A major, K. 581
  • BEETHOVEN — String Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 74, the “Harp

Here is the lineup of players:

  • Jorge Ávila, Artistic Director & Violin I
  • Rachel Handman, Violin II
  • Orlando Wells, Viola
  • Sarah Hewitt-Roth, Cello
  • Guest Artist William R. Hudgins, Principal Clarinet, Boston Symphony Orchestra

Sheffield resident Jorge Ávila won the Omar del Carlo Fellowship at the Tanglewood Music Center and First Prize at the 2001 Mu Phi Epsilon International Music Competition. He served as concertmaster to His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, in a televised Mass held at Yankee Stadium. Ávila is concertmaster of the Ridgefield Symphony, Distinguished Concerts International New York, and the Sacred Music in a Sacred Space series. Before becoming a U.S. citizen, the Honduras-born Ávila received his green card in the “extraordinary talent” category. Ávila has recorded for Centaur, Naxos, Nonesuch, and other labels. Having performed with many prominent chamber musicians such as David Finckel, Wu Han, and the Salem Chamber Orchestra, Ávila’s repertoire includes all of the major violin concertos.

Rachel Handman is one of the rare classically trained violinists who is good at improvising on her instrument. You have to be able to do that if you want to play Celtic, pop, bluegrass, or folk with the kinds of people she has worked with. Handman does it well. Having toured Mexico with Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, and Germany with the shows “My Fair Lady” and “On the Town,” Handman’s Broadway credits include “Dr. Zhivago,” “Something Rotten!,” “Miss Saigon,” “Carousel,” and “West Side Story.” A longstanding member of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, Handman also serves as associate concertmaster of the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra. She has collaborated with such pop luminaries as Ray Charles, Natalie Merchant, Norm Lewis, Jennifer Hudson, Roberta Flack, and Bette Midler. She is resident visiting artist at Music at Port Milford Chamber Music Festival in Milford, Ontario.

Violist Orlando Wells has played with the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, St. Luke’s Chamber Orchestra, Radio City Christmas Spectacular Orchestra, Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra, Musica Sacra, New York Oratorio Society, Antara Chamber Orchestra, and the Ritz Chamber Players in Jacksonville, Fla. He has appeared as soloist with Manhattan Virtuosi, the Harlem Symphony, and Antara Chamber Orchestra, and has performed or recorded with a number of prominent popular artists including Mariah Carey, John Legend, Rihanna, Harry Connick Jr., Dionne Warwick, Elvis Costello, and others—not to mention a long list of top Broadway shows. Wells studied with Michael Tree at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University as a double major on violin and viola.

Sarah Hewitt-Roth has served as principal cello for 12 Broadway shows, including the critically acclaimed revival of “West Side Story.” She is a member of the New York Pops Orchestra, performs regularly at Carnegie Hall as Assistant Principal Cellist of the New York City Chamber Orchestra, and has performed in “Live From Lincoln Center” broadcasts. As a chamber musician, Hewitt-Roth has toured throughout Europe and the United States, performing with Philharmonia Virtuosi and The New York Chamber Soloists. Opera News describes her playing as “golden, beautifully singing.”

Guest Artist William R. Hudgins has been principal clarinet for the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1994. He plays all the major solos for the BSO. In addition to the Lich Gate players, Mr. Hudgins has collaborated with Emanuel Ax, Yo-Yo Ma, Paula Robison, Barbara Bonney, the Lydian String Quartet, and the West Stockbridge Chamber Players.

Hear violinist Jorge Ávila, violist Orlando Wells, violinist Rachel Handman, and cellist Sarah Hewitt-Roth perform a program of popular works by Handel, Mozart, and Beethoven on Saturday, June 8, 4 p.m., at the Sheffield Town Park pavilion, 53-59 Frederic Lane, Sheffield. Tickets are available here. For more information, call (413) 441-6446 or email


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