Arts at the Rocks will kick off their fifth season of live concerts and performances at Desert Hills Presbyterian Church (DHPC) on Sat., Oct. 8, at 4 p.m.

“Our fifth season has all the elements to be our best season yet,” promises Elder of the Music and Arts Ministry at DHPC Melissa Masles. The Music and Arts committee has been hard at work planning “Arts at the Rocks” upcoming events. “We have a wide variety of performances offering the opportunity for extraordinary audience experiences in this coming season.”

DHPC is surrounded by the breathtaking natural beauty of the Sonoran Desert. It sits beneath the Boulders in Carefree, at the corner of Scottsdale Road and Carefree Highway at 34605 N. Tom Darlington Dr.

DHPC’s 2022-2023 official season brochure will be available soon. In the meantime, Urban Nocturnes are the featured performers for the inaugural event on Oct. 8. Urban Nocturnes is a modular chamber music ensemble made up of six outstanding professional classical musicians, all based in Phoenix. Their programming encompasses a wide variety of combinations of instruments, and their aim is to present diverse programming in a manner that appeals to seasoned music-lovers and newcomers alike. By devising programs that are aesthetically balanced, thought-provoking, and emotionally stirring, Urban Nocturnes seeks to share their love of artistic ingenuity and collaboration and to demonstrate music’s universal power to engage and enliven the mind and soul.

The Oct. 8 concert will feature a performance of music for strings and flute, including the rhapsodic fantasy A Night Piece by late-romantic American composer Arthur Foote and the “Weihnacht” Quintet by Dutch-Austrian Jan Brandts-Buys, a work that depicts and explores a Biblical quotation from the Christmas story with each of its four movements. Also on the program are the String Quartet in D Minor by legendary Italian violin virtuoso Niccolò Paganini and Beethoven’s Duet “with Two Obligato Eyeglasses” for Viola and Cello. The performance will feature Urban Nocturnes’s violinist Karen Sinclair, violist Christopher McKay, cellist Melita Hunsinger, and flutist Viviana Cumplido Wilson, along with guest violinist Trista Wong. The audience will be treated to a Question-and-Answer session with the musicians following the concert.

Other news for this year is the founding of the Desert Hills Community School of Music (DHCSM), which offers world-class instruction in piano, strings, and woodwinds from some of the most sought-after teachers in the Phoenix area. To meet students’ musical goals, DHCSM has two divisions—Conservatory and Community. The two divisions work cooperatively, with different missions.

The Conservatory division is the performance-oriented side of the school. Led by professional pianists Vitaly Serebriakov and Svetlana Obregon, Conservatory instructors are internationally recognized artists whose passion is to perform and teach. The Community division of DHCSM emphasizes recreational music-making and outreach into the local community. Community division instructors Heather Baldwin (piano) and Jeffrey Anthony (woodwinds) were selected for their ability to balance the nurturing of musical excellence with an understanding that most Community division students enroll to learn an instrument for their personal enjoyment.

Arts at the Rocks is part of the Music & Arts Ministry at DHPC and is possible through the generous donations of members and the community as well as supported by the dedicated DHPC staff.

DHCSM is enrolling now for a limited number of fall semester spots. Visit deserthillsmusic.org or email schoolofmusic@deserthills.org for more information.