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Shelter Island Friends of Music concerts to return

The Shelter Island Friends of Music (SIFM) is breaking a silence that befell the decades-old institution last year, owing to the arrival of COVID on the Island.

It’s an especially poignant revival for SIFM, having lost its longtime president, Forrest Compton, to the virus last April, within days of his wife Jeanne’s death. In one of his recent “Codger” columns for the Reporter, Robert Lipsyte described Forrest Compton as, “the president and genial host of the Friends of Music concerts, a handsome, elegant, courtly man whose kindness and sly wit decorated all occasions.”

Lois B. Morris, having stepped into the role of president the previous fall, had to cancel much of the 2020 season under pandemic conditions. She is now leading SIFM into its new season, which is being warmly welcomed.

A onetime performer for SIFM, Nancy Allen, recently wrote to Ms. Morris expressing happiness that SIFM was resuming its performances.

“I am writing as a long-time friend of the Shelter Island Friends of Music, having helped to start the Concert Series almost 40 years ago along with my father, Don Allen … I am the principal harpist of the New York Philharmonic, and on the faculty of Juilliard and Stony Brook University. I am impressed that the series has continued for so many years.” 

Ms. Allen will be asked to perform at an upcoming concert, Ms. Morris said.

The concert series have always been open to the public, and with their return on Nov. 6, SIFM is reaching out to include seniors in their audiences. Island seniors who would like a ride to and from the concert on the new “Silver Streak” bus, compliments of the Senior Foundation of Shelter Island, should call Senior Services at 631-749-1059 as soon as possible.

The performance is at 7 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church, where “we’ve had our Baldwin piano restored” during the hiatus, Ms. Morris said.

There is no admission charge.

“We rely on donations, collected through appeal letters and contributions at the door,” Ms. Morris said. “We are a volunteer organization — even baking the cookies for our receptions, which now include wine.”  Masks are required during the concert, and social distancing is recommended at the reception with the musicians following the concert. 

The Nov. 6 program will feature the Merz Trio, first-prize winners of the 2021 Naumburg Chamber Music Competition. The piano trio will perform its “Quiet Cities” program, followed by Brahms’ B Major Trio, paired with “Widmung” by Schumann. 

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