EATON — Celebrate the coming of Christmas and winter by taking pleasure in some of the season's most evocative music, when pianist-composer Dana Cunningham and cellist Max Dyer perform in concert at the Little White Church in Eaton on Sunday, Dec. 8, at 4 p.m. Cunningham will be joined by Carol Noonan Friday, Dec. 6, and Saturday, Dec. 7, at 7 p.m., also at the Little White Church.
“What I love most is the way that the audience, with an appreciation for the opportunity to reflect, becomes resplendently alive, joyful and restful — all at the same time," Cunningham said. "The collective hush that comes over us as the last vibration of sound is heard is a rare moment of shared peace.”
Cunningham studied piano at The Blair School of Music while completing an undergraduate degree in communications. Her diverse influences include a master's degree in Biblical studies from Dallas Theological Seminary, work at Big Sur’s Esalen Institute, and a nine-month sabbatical at Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery, a Benedictine community near Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Originally from Texas, Cunningham now lives and works near the White Mountains of New Hampshire, where she has created five critically acclaimed recordings. She continues to perform in both concert and retreat settings.
“The greatest compliment I can pay any musician is that they sound like no one else," said Will Ackerman, Grammy Award-winner and founder of Windham Hill Records."Dana is simply one of the most impressive pianists with whom I have ever worked further adds to the singularity of her talent. Even those attributes would ultimately pale without the powerful emotional connection that gives her work such depth and meaning.”
While a new winter/Christmas album is in the works for a 2020 release, much of Cunningham’s time and energy this past year focused on fundraising for the rebuilding of The Little White Church’s steeple.
In her role of church board member, she had just begun seeking support for the restoration of the Steinway O Grand, the piano on which she performs her annual Christmas concerts, when the steeple was found to be completely rotten; it had to come down this past June.
After a generous response to a request for contributions specifically for the piano, as well as for the steeple, more enthusiastic community donations poured in for the project. This made it possible to begin the work and to imagine the steeple intact, as well as the fully restored piano ready to receive the artists who will play it, ensuring the Little White Church’s vibrant presence for generations to come.
Dyer is a Houston-based musician with many years of professional performance experience, both in the United States and abroad. A versatile cellist, Dyer is adept in many musical styles. He has performed with the Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera and Houston Symphony, and as a guest artist in many concerts. His own Cellomax recording studio is the home for many collaborations with other musicians and producers. He has played for more than 25 years with the Renaissance Festival band Cantiga and has been a performer on more than 400 recordings including his own personal CD, "Inspired."
His annual appearance in Eaton with Cunningham has won him many avid local fans.
An after-concert reception in the church undercroft will provide an opportunity to chat with the musicians, purchase CDs and enjoy refreshments made by local culinary legend Barbara Holmes.
Seating is limited at the Little White Church, and the performance usually sells out, so advance purchase of tickets is strongly recommended.
The tickets are priced at $30 and are sold at White Birch Books in North Conway at (603) 356-3200, at the Eaton Village Store, and online at danacunningham.com.
For more information about the performers, go to Cunningham's website above or Dyer's website at maxdyer.com.
For anybody interested in the Friday, Dec. 6, or Saturday, Dec. 7, concerts with Cunningham and Carol Noonan, tickets are available at the Stone Mountain box office by calling (207) 935-7292.