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Hudson native and acclaimed baritone Aaron Engebreth will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22, at The Phipps Center for the Arts. Submitted photo

Classical singer returns to give a Feb. 22 hometown concert

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Acclaimed baritone singer Aaron Engebreth will return to his hometown to perform a concert at The Phipps Center for the Arts on Sunday evening, Feb. 22.

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The unique program will consist of writings that composers have set to music - a letter written by a Civil War soldier, another from Gertrude Stein, an anonymous poem etched into a wall at St. Stephen's Church in London, an epithet from a tombstone.

"It's a program I've wanted to do for a long time because the texts are everyday things," Engebreth said in a phone call to the Star-Observer last week from his home in Portland, Maine. "I wanted to create a program that focused on words that aren't necessarily poetry. I think it expands an audience's view of what music and communication can be."

Engebreth has made quite a name for himself since graduating from Hudson High School in 1992.

"It's no secret that baritone Aaron Engebreth is one of the finest young singers in Boston," a reviewer for the Boston Herald gushed following one of his performances.

A recording of the opera "Psyche" by Jean-Baptiste Lully that he sang in was up for a Grammy in the recent music industry awards program.

"I'm essentially traveling and singing with various orchestras and opera companies throughout the U.S.," he said when asked what he's been up to lately.

"I'm traveling and singing in Europe about once a year right now. I'm keeping it to once a year because I have a very young family," he added. "I'm a dad and a singer. Those are two great things to be. I'm pleased with both of them."

Engebreth's wife, Katherine, is a Portland primary care physician. They have two daughters, Daphne, 3, and Cora, 2.

He said he's recorded four operas and three other discs in the past few years in addition to his concert work.

Engebreth attended Viterbo College in La Crosse after high school. From there, he went to Boston University, where he earned a master's degree and began to get work singing classical music.

His parents are Roger and Lee Engebreth of the town of Troy. His father is a retired Hudson banker.

Engebreth's siblings, Elizabeth and John, also are still in the area. Elizabeth, now Elizabeth Bonderson, resides in Hudson with her husband, Kyle, and their young son. They have a daughter on the way.

"I love coming back to Hudson. I really do," said Engebreth. "First and foremost, because my family is there. But also, I spent three years performing at The Phipps in the Children's Theater, as well as some adult plays. It's a very, very special place."

Engebreth's pianist for the Feb. 22 concert will be Gail Olszewski of St. Paul, whom he met while performing Handel's "Messiah" with The Phipps Oratorio Society in 2002.

"It was very fortuitous that I met her during that performance," he said. "She's just a dynamite player. I think you'll like her a lot."

The concert is at 7 p.m. Tickets are $22 for adults and $15 for students. Reservations can be made by calling The Phipps ticket office at (715) 386-8409 or going online to www.ThePhipps.org.

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Randy Hanson
Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.
(715) 426-1066
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