Wilton concert benefits senior organization

The popular Madera Winds Quintet will welcome Wilton pianist Kyong Hee Cho in a concert entitled “Autumn Winds” on Sunday, Oct. 20, from 4 to 5 p.m. at WEPCO, 48 New Canaan Road. The performance will take place in the sanctuary at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, with its Steinway piano.

The concert will benefit Stay at Home in Wilton as its first-ever fundraiser. It will feature works by Francis Poulenc, Maurice Ravel and Robert Schumann.

According to Sally Kirmser, Stay at Home’s president, the organization has never done any formal fundraising since its founding 10 years ago.

The organization, which offers supportive services such as volunteer drivers and simple handyman jobs, receives no support from the town and it has never raised its membership dues.

She said Stay at Home in Wilton, “tries to provide not just services, but we also want to provide a vibrant community for seniors, including its popular social activities.”

When trying to come up with a fundraising event, she turned to her husband Ralph Kirmser, oboeist for the Madera Winds Quintet, which has performed numerous times in Wilton and area towns and is popular with local audiences. His fellow performers agreed.

Janet Atherton, who plays clarinet, and Kirmser, have performed together since joining the Prevailing Winds of Connecticut, predecessor of Madera Winds, some 35 years ago.

Atherton has been a member of the Norwalk Symphony for 28 years and for 26 years taught general music, clarinet and instrumental band in Greenwich schools.

Kirmser, who has played the oboe since he was an 11-year-old in his home state of Minnesota, played in the school orchestra while attending Dartmouth College and at the same time was principal oboeist for the Vermont Symphony.

“I would hitchhike from Hanover to Woodstock” where a fellow musician would pick him up and drive him to Middlebury for the Sunday symphony concerts, he told The Bulletin. Kirmser flirted with the idea of becoming a professional musician before entering medical school. He continues to practice cardiology with Cardiology Physicians of Fairfield.

Remaining members of the Madera Winds include Kerry Walker who is a full professor of flute at Western Connecticut State University. She has played principal flute with the Ridgefield Orchestra, Ives Orchestra, Connecticut Little Symphony and Camerota New York.

Bassoonist Rosemary Dellinger performed for four years with the Orquestra Sinfonica de Maracaibe in Venezuela before changing careers to teach Spanish. She now teaches at Cider Mill School and teaches bassoon privately.

Marjorie Callaghan teaches horn at WestConn and is a member of the Ridgefield Symphony and the Nutmeg Brass Quintet.

Phil Richards, one of the founders of Stay at Home in Wilton, knows Kyong Hee Cho through his church and suggested she be part of the program. Ralph Kirmser had performed with her a few times and she agreed to play for this concert.

Cho, who made her debut with the Seoul Symphony Orchestra at age 11, will play Fantaisestucke, Opus 73, for piano and oboe, by Schumann with Kirmser. She will also perform the Sextet for Piano and Woodwind Quintet by Poulenc.

The other works on the program are popular woodwind pieces, Kirmser said.

All ages are welcome and Cho, who teaches piano at her studio in Wilton, suggests families come together. A donation of $20 for adults, $10 for students is suggested.

For information, call 203-762-2600 or visit stayathomeinwilton.org.