‘A spectacular setting’: Concert series to bring world-class musicians to Marion

Jul 8, 2024

MARION — For five days in July, Marion becomes a hub of music as the Buzzards Bay Musicfest brings renowned performers from across the world to Sippican Harbor.

The free concert series — which will run from Wednesday, July 10 to Sunday, July 14 — enters its 26th year in 2024. 

The festival’s musicians don’t only play in Marion; they stay in town too. Performers for the Buzzards Bay Musicfest lodge with host families. 

That gives the event a “personal connection” and makes it different from other music festivals, according to chamber music advisor and principal pianist David Allen Wehr.

“It makes it something that the musicians look forward to on a personal level,” said Wehr. “It’s not a job.”

Musicians often stay with the same hosts year after year. Wehr, dean of the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University, said he’s played at the music fest since 2007 and has stayed with the same host family every summer.

Jonathan and Jennifer Gunn have been playing at the Buzzards Bay Musicfest since 2017 and similarly have stayed with the same host family each year, they said.

A professor of clarinet at the University of Texas Butler School of Music, Jonathan Gunn said there’s lots of “really generous folks around town” that host the visiting musicians.

The summer setting of Marion is also a draw. 

Rita Costanzi, a harpist who has played at the concert series since 2016, said the environment by the water is “beautiful.”

“I love getting out of New York and driving to Marion and being in this gorgeous town,” Costanzi said.

A flute and piccolo player for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Jennifer Gunn said Marion is a “great part of the country to spend a week in.”

“You can’t beat that beautiful scenery and the water,” she said.

For Charles Stegeman, a co-founder of the Buzzards Bay Musicfest, the concert series — which first began in 1997 — is a “blast.”

The Fireman Center for Performing Arts at Tabor Academy, where the concerts are held, is just feet from the water, he said.

“It’s a spectacular setting,” Stegeman said.