Tradition will be upended - this year the concert will take place on Saturday afternoon, instead of Sunday. Mark your calendars accordingly. For roughly 20 years the music festival has performed a Thanksgiving-themed concert in Dorset. The one year they moved it to a different venue, the hue and cry was deafening - so back it went to Dorset the following year, said Ari Rudiakov, the festival's artistic director.
But there will be a difference between this year's concert and last year's, when a string quartet held forth.
This year, it will be a string quintet for the first half of the show, followed by a brass quintet in the second, he said.
"What's really cool about this concert is that we are focusing on the two primary colors of instruments - strings and brass," he said. "It gives you 50 percent of an orchestra."
The string quintet - which will include Deborah Buck and Joana Genova on violins, Thomas Rosenthal and Rudiakov on violas, and Michael Haber on cello, will get the concert off to a fast start with an upbeat piece composed by Felix Mendelssohn - his Quintet for Strings, Op. 87. It's an exciting, impassioned piece of music, Rudiakov said.
The second half of the show will feature a brass quintet from Montclair State University of New Jersey. The musicians, all faculty members at the university, have diverse and accomplished professional careers in addition to their work as teachers, Rudiakov said.
Donald Batchelder plays trumpet with the New York City Opera, the Metropolitan Opera and the Brooklyn Philharmonic. Jeff Scott, on French horn, is an member of the Imani Winds, a quintet which performed earlier this year as part of the music festival's summer series of concerts. Charles Bumcrot, also on trumpet, has performed with the American Symphony Orchestra as well as with Orchestra New England.
Kyle Turner plays tuba for the American Symphony Orchestra as well, along with the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Finally, trombonist Anthony Mazzocchi, is a co-artistic director of the Kinhaven Music School in Weston, and has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and New Jersey Symphony Orchestras.
Mazzocchi is also part of another unusual aspect to this Thanksgiving concert - he is married to Deborah Buck, one of the violinists in the music festival's string quintet.
She is also the other co-artistic director at Kinhaven. The pair are only one of two married couples who will be performing; Rudiakov and Joana Genova, members of the string quintet, are the other.
The brass quintet will perform a piece by Giovanni Gabrielli, a 16th century Italian composer, followed by a medley of compositions by Leonard Bernstein from "West Side Story" and a selection of Gershwin tunes from his classic "Porgy and Bess." Their performance will also include a piece by the contemporary American composer Eric Ewazen.
"The brass quintet will give a completely different flavor to the proceedings that in the Dorset Church - a small an intimate venue - will be very full," Rudiakov said. "What you have in this musical feast is what I consider to be a rare opportunity to hear very high quality music and musicians collaborating to give you two very distinctive flavors of strings and brass in a festive environment."
Choosing the music to build such programs involves several factors, he said.
Sometimes it's a question of what pieces an ensemble is currently performing or working on. There's also an interest in bringing a certain amount of variety between traditional classics audiences enjoy hearing as well as something different, he said.
"I always like to anchor a concert with a real masterpiece of chamber music, so that we can demonstrate that while we may branch out, we don't have an identity crisis," he said. "If you are a lover of pure classical chamber music you will love the first half, but if you are interested in the incredible stylistic variety (of chamber music), then there's a very good chance you'll love the second half too."
The next big concert the Manchester Music Festival will be staging after the Thanksgiving concert on Saturday, Nov. 24 will be their annual New Year's Eve event at the First Congregational Church in Manchester Village. There will be two shows - a family concert at 4 p.m. on Dec. 31, followed by a second concert at 6 p.m.
Tickets for the Thanksgiving show this weekend are available online by visiting the music festival's Web site at www.mmfvt.org, or by calling 802-362-1956. The Thanksgiving concert will start at 4 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for students with ID.