ESCANABA, Mich. (WZMQ) – One of Escanaba’s newest musical groups is taking listeners back in time this weekend.
Esky Baroque was founded in 2022.
“When I moved to Escanaba, I met Phil Stapert,” said founding member and co-music director Rachel Capon. “He is equally as excited about Baroque music as I am, so we started getting people together to play Baroque music.”
“I moved here from Grand Rapids about six years ago,” Stapert said. “I’ve been amazed at how musical this community is. I’d just had conversations with a number of friends about putting together a group like this.”
Esky Baroque played its first public show in May of 2023.
“We are an instrumental and vocal ensemble that focuses on the music of the Baroque era, which is roughly from 1610 to 1765,” said Capon.
Esky Baroque performs the period’s music stylistically, evoking the variety and creativity of the era.
“If you think of music in our world today, there’s music in bars or there’s music in churches, and the Baroque era was the same,” Capon said. “There was music in, say, salons or royal homes. A lot of this music, like say Vivaldi, he was writing music for all those environments as well.”
“We don’t take as many liberties as we could, but I believe that back in the day, Baroque musicians were almost like jazz musicians,” said Stapert. “They did a lot of ornamentation. You can take a lot of liberties with tempos.”
Capon says each member plays an individual part, and it all comes together to create a beautiful, full piece of music.
“It’s fun because you’re still in that ensemble setting, but you’re the only one playing what you’re playing,” she said.
Esky Baroque members play a range of instruments including the viola, the harpsichord, and the recorder.
“I’m here to prove that the recorder isn’t just for elementary students,” Stapert said. “Recorders come in all different sizes that play in different ranges. I’ll be using the alto and tenor recorders. It was a pretty popular instrument in the Baroque era.”
The public is invited to attend Esky Baroque’s fall concert on Saturday, November 18 at 7:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church. The price of admission is a freewill donation.
Esky Baroque is excited to continue the traditions of Baroque-era music for modern audiences.
“The classical symphony orchestras don’t play as much from this period, but we kind of specialize in it and really explore the possibilities of it,” said Stapert. “Most people have heard of Bach and Handel, but I would like to think we present it in a fresh way.”
Click here to visit Esky Baroque’s Facebook page for news on future performances.