10th annual Twickenham Fest features local talent

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Mark your calendar for August 20 through 25. Those are the dates for the 10th annual Twickenham Fest. The free concerts are a gift to the people who call Huntsville home. In the Twickenham Historic District in downtown, the past meets the present.

Standing inside the McDonald home on Randolph Avenue, Jacque Reeves said, “It’s an east lake style. It was built in 1885 by the grandson of John Hunt.” The local historian has done her homework when it comes to preserving our history. “It is actually both in the Twickenham Historic District and the Old Town Historic District,” she added.

Reeves loves sharing our rich past with others. “This was Indian territory to begin with and a lot of revolutionary soldiers came down here, sold their bounty warrants to come to what was then the frontier, and establish a very beautiful home that we all enjoy today,” she said.

People also enjoyed their music. “At one time, people would play their instruments as sort of background music for parties and events that were taking place,” Reeves told us. Chamber music was meant to be enjoyed in small groups and was often the reason people attended social events.

Today, Twickenham Fest is the only chamber music concert in the state of Alabama. It was started by Matthew McDonald and Susanna Phillips. Both grew up in the Twickenham Historic District. He is a world renowned bassoonist. She’s an award winning soprano with the Metropolitan Opera.

They came up with Twickenham Fest as a way to give back to the people who supported them early on in their careers. Nineteen other musicians and singers will join them for the series of concerts for a taste of music that will sample our past by visiting the historic district.

There are ten concerts at different locations ranging from the Downtown Huntsville Library and Redstone Arsenal to the Church of the Nativity and Russell Erskine Hotel. The concerts are free but are made possible by donations and the generous support of the community. For a closer look at the concert schedule and the performers, here’s a link to the Twickenham Fest website.

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