Carroll String Ensemble Performing Spring Concert

Thursday, April 22, 2021

HELENA - The Department of Fine Arts at Carroll College will present a free concert given by the Carroll College String Ensemble, directed by Linda Meuret, on Sunday, May 2, 2021. The concert will be held at the 1889 Coffee House, 1800 Prospect Avenue in Helena. There will be two performances at 2:00 pm and 3:30 pm. Admission to the concert is free and all are welcome.

The Carroll String Ensemble is featuring JS Bach’s Coffee Cantata. The String Ensemble director and vocal soloists have a fresh western take on this comic opera and have it set in a bar/coffee house in 1889, which is the year of Montana’s admission as a state into the Union.

This collaboration features the Carroll College String Ensemble, Sarah Whitlatch (soprano), Zeb Antonioli (tenor), and Jay Bahny (bass). The ensemble also welcomes special guest cellist Raina Hollenbaug.

About JS Bach’s Coffee Cantata

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 -1750) was apparently a coffee enthusiast. He, being the father of 22 children, also knew a thing or two about daughters. So much so that he wrote this composition about the beverage. This is a rare example of a secular work by the composer. The short comic opera was written (circa 1735) for a group based in a storied Zimmerman’s coffee house in Leipzig, Germany. The whole cantata seems very much to have been written with the local audience in mind.

The Coffee Cantata is about a young vivacious woman named Lizzie who loves coffee. Her killjoy, grumpy father is, of course, dead set against his vivacious daughter having any kind of caffeinated fun and considered it a vice. So, he tries to ban her from the drink. As a last resort he threatens to forbid her to marry unless she renounces the coffee vice. Lizzie bitterly complains and then spreads the news that she will only accept a groom, with a marriage contract, that will permit her to brew coffee as much as she wishes.

What will happen to Lizzie and her desire to drink coffee and get married? Come to the performance for "the rest of the story..."

Father sir, but do not be so harsh!
If I couldn’t, three times a day,

be allowed to drink my little cup of coffee,
in my anguish I will turn into
a shriveled-up roast goat.

Ah! How sweet coffee tastes,
more delicious than a thousand kisses,
milder than muscatel wine.
Coffee, I have to have coffee,
and, if someone wants to pamper me,

ah, then bring me coffee as a gift!

For more information on this concert, contact Ensemble Director, Linda Meuret at (406) 439-1424.