Sunday, April 16, 2000

Hamilton festival for Mozart lovers

BY Janelle Gelfand
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        For three days this month, the sound of Mozart's music will turn Hamilton into the “Salzburg of the Midwest.”

        “This festival is going to explode,” predicts Paul Stanbery, conductor of the Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony and founder of the Mozart Festival, April 28-30. “Tour companies are interested in bringing busloads next year.”

        Besides concerts in Hamilton's historic St. Julie Billiart Church, Mozart lovers can indulge in a variety of tours designed to show off Hamilton's most beautiful neighborhoods and museums.

        The weekend begins April 28 with a tour of the Lane Hooven House, an octagonal 1863 Victorian Gothic built by industrialist Clark Lane. Stop by for tea at the Butler County Museum, where costumed docents will guide you through the Spring Finery Exhibit.

        On April 29, take a guided walking tour of the Rossville Historic District, where architectural styles span nearly a century, starting in 1830. Then visit the unique Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum (Ohio 128), about a mile south of Hamilton. The 265-acre park presents 40 sculptures amid rolling hills, grassy open areas and ponds.

        Be back by 5:30 p.m. for a 17th-century Viennese feast at the Hamiltonian Hotel. The featured speaker is, er, “Mozart himself.”

        After dinner, a chamber music concert will feature British violinist Pip Clarke, pianist Sandra Rivers and bassist Tom Sherwood (performing Mozart, of course) in St. Julie Billiart Church.

        On April 30, visit the Fitton Center for a gallery tour, then enjoy a concert with the Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony and Chorale at St. Julie Billiart Church. The program: Mozart's Symphony No. 41, Jupiter, Violin Concerto No. 2, and Vesperae Solennes de Confessore.

        “You'll think you've walked into a jewel of a church in Austria,” Mr. Stanbery says.

        Mozart lovers can reserve two packages at the Hamiltonian Hotel ($215 per couple, one night; $275 per couple, two nights). Saturday dinner is $35 per person. The concerts are free. Information: 474-1584 or email


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