Shun-Jung performs at Music Appreciation Series (copy)

Shun-Jung, a native of Taiwan, is working on her Doctorate in the Musical Arts at UW-Madison. She was the first performance of this season of the Music Appreciation Series, which started on April 1, 2019.

After 35 years as a choir teacher, director of the Stoughton Singers Choir and 18 years organizing the Music Appreciation series, John Beutel has his finger on the pulse of the music scene.

The Music Appreciation series, held twice a year, is a seven-week program that brings quality performances to the Stoughton community at no cost. The first performance is set for Monday, Sept. 30.

The Stoughton Opera House hosts all performances at 3 p.m. Mondays. The variety of this season’s acts include brass quintets, pianists, string quartets and solo singers. There are international names featured during the series, as well as local bands and graduate students.

Beutel said each performer has “that magic,” and a “soul that illuminates the music.”

The first performer is Shaddai Amor, a soprano singer from the Philippines, on Sept. 30. She has a Masters of Music in voice performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has performed everything from Mozart, Rossini to Purcell all over the world, Beutel said.

Two groups in this season’s Music Appreciation series are faculty quintets from UW- Madison. The groups are committed to the Wisconsin Idea, Beutel said, and want to bring the university into the communities.

These groups travel to Wisconsin high schools and concert halls working with young musicians and performing for local concert series.

The Wingra Wind Quintet is set to play Oct. 21 with current members; Timothy Hagen, flute; Andreas Oeste, oboe; Alicia Lee, clarinet; Marc Vallon, bassoon and Devin Cobleigh-Morrison, horn.

The Wisconsin Brass Quintet, the second of the three faculty chamber ensembles, is set to play Nov. 4.

Musicweb International wrote the Wisconsin Brass Quintet, formed in 1972, is one of the most “superb brass ensembles in the world.” Current members are; Jean Laurenz and Gilson Silva, trumpets; Jeff Scott, horn; Mark Hetzler, trombone and Tom Curry, tuba.

There are two piano performances on Oct. 7 and Oct. 28. The first group is The Avanti Piano Trio, a combination of Joseph Ross on piano, Wes Luke on violin and Hannah Wolkstein on cello.

Kangwoo Jin, set to play on Oct. 28, is an international performer and UW-Madison professor.

Beutel said the pianist can be mesmerizing to watch.

“You see the involvement of the person with the piano and you see the movement of their whole body,” Beutel said. “You watch them make the music.”

The Jordan Kowalski Jazz Quintet, planned for Oct. 14, hopes to highlight UW-Madison students.

The finale on Nov. 11 is The Hunt String Quartet from the UW Scholarship Student Ensemble, a highly competitive group. Beutel said this is a returning group that always receives an immediate standing ovation.

Beutel said he wants the series to bring music to Stoughton that couldn’t be heard here otherwise.

“People that love (music), it lightens their life,” Beutel said. “It is a positive thing for them to experience and hear it here (in Stoughton).”