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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Candlelight concert to raise funds for historic home

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  • Soft candlelight flickers in the background as notes from a harp and viola blend together in a musical dance. It’s a performance that likely would have been appreciated and enjoyed by the Warkentin family, who built the Victorian-era home viola player Jeff Cowen and harpist Jill Wiebe will be playing in. The Appassionata Duo will be performing a candlelight concert called “Masquerade by Moonlight” at 7 p.m. Nov. 4 and 5 at the historic Warkentin House at 211 E. First St. in Newton. The concerts are a fund-raiser for the house, which has been converted to a museum, and the event also will be part of the celebration of the house’s 125th anniversary. Bernhard and Wilhelmina Warkentin moved into the home on East First Street in August 1887, and they played an important role in Newton’s early history. The wealthy family believed it was important to give back to the community, and they helped to found Bethel College. “They were very involved in the Newton community,” said Karen Penner, who has served as both a board member and a docent of the Warkentin house museum. Penner said the Warkentin family often hosted social events in their home, perhaps ones similar to the upcoming candlelight concert. The family loved music, and once owned a Steinway grand piano. The Appassionata Duo also has ties to Newton. The group was established by Newton native Jill Wiebe and Jeff Cowen, the principal harp and viola of the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra. Their repertoire includes both classical pieces such as Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” and popular favorites such as music from “Phantom of the Opera.” Penner said “Masquerade by Moonlight” will be an intimate concert series, with chairs gathered around the two musicians inside the Victorian home. Some of the Warkentin family descendants also will be in attendance. “We’re just so pleased that they’re coming, and that they’re all interested,” Penner said. A reception will follow the concerts, with desserts by Reba’s. To make a reservation for the concert, community members may leave their payment in the mail slot at the Warkentin home. For more information, contact Penner at 283-3129. Seating is limited to 50 people at each concert, and the ticket cost is $50 per person.  

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