On Friday, Feb. 22, ETSU’s Mary B. Martin School of the Arts presented string quintet Sybarite5 at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Johnson City. Using two violins, a viola, a cello and a bass, the group was able to perform an amazing array of music that spans through both centuries of time and distances across the world.
The five regular members of the group are Sami Merdinian and Sarah Whitney on violins, Angela Pickett on viola, Laura Metcalf on cello and Louis Levitt on bass. For our local performance, however, gifted cellist Yves Dharamraj had the opportunity to play in place of Laura Metcalf.
“I love playing with Sybarite5, mainly because they have such a great repertoire: anything from “Take on Me” bringing back the 80s, to beautiful tangos from Argentina, to festive Armenian pieces, to Radiohead,” said Dharamraj. “For the performers and the audiences both, it keeps us on our toes. It makes us really step outside our classical training and get those sounds out in our ears.”
“It was really fun! We’ve had a great day here, a great time performing,” said violinist Sarah Whitney about the group’s Johnson City debut. “Getting to connect with a different audience is always really amazing. You can feel the energy from the audience, and it’s always different, which I really love. You never know what it’s going to be until you’re onstage playing. We really have a lot of fun up there!”
The performance was a major hit among the crowd, which can be contributed largely to the massive music catalog the group offers. By playing smooth and classical pieces followed by pop anthems, Sybarite5 provides a memorable and unique experience audience members of all ages can enjoy.
“It was great!” said concert attendee David Kovac. “We have actually followed the group for a while, so it was very nice to be able to see them in Johnson City.”