Originally Published: November 11, 2004 7:11 a.m.
Ben Franklin played several instruments and his love of music led him to build his own instrument called an armonica; a spinning glass played with dampened fingers.
The glass armonica's (also known as a harmonica) beautiful tones appealed to Franklin and the great composers of his day such as Mozart and Beethoven.
"It produces an ethereal sound much like you get when you rub a wet finger around the rim of a wine glass," said Prescott Strings bass player Fulton Wright.
It's bound to appeal to you as well and you'll be able to hear this unusual instrument at the Prescott Strings opening concerts of the 2004-2005 season this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Prescott Community Church (3151 Willow Creek Road) or Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. at St. Luke's Episcopal Parish (2000 Shepherds Lane).
There aren't many glass harmonica players like Franklin around but Prescott is fortunate to have one of the accomplished few in Lynn Drye, who has made glass instruments her specialty.
She'll be teaming up with the Prescott Strings to play a Rondeau by Johann Reichardt, which Wright said contrasts the glass harmonic tone with the tone of the string orchestra.
Another unique aspect of the season-opening Prescott Strings concerts will be the Vivaldi concertos for mandolin played by Renita Frost and David Dunagan.
Also on the performance schedule for this weekend's concerts are Mozart's Symphony No. 29 with oboes and french horns and "The Suite for String Orchestra" by Czech composer Leos Janacek.
Phil Kuhns directs the accomplished group of local strings players.
Admission is free but donations to the Strings music fund are welcome.
Call 445-4967 for more information.