Long-time professional musician plays, then stays in Summit County | SummitDaily.com

Long-time professional musician plays, then stays in Summit County

Special to the Daily/Karina Wetherbee

Charles Wetherbee, a professional musician with the Carpe Diem ensemble, truly is seizing the day.

After 20 years of longing to live in Summit County but just playing a handful of annual concerts here through the Snake River Chamber Music Festival (and working with Scale the Summit summer music camp), he’s making the move – this May or June.

“We’re really excited about it,” Charles Wetherbee said. “That means we can be more active throughout the year (in Summit).”

Charles and his wife, Karina – a photographer – have a long history with Summit County; Karina is the granddaughter of Keystone pioneers Max and Edna Dercum. She and Charles met when he stayed with her family, who acted as hosts when he spent his second season with the National Repertory Orchestra.

In the past, they’ve been tied to cities where orchestras they performed in were based. But the Carpe Diem group, made of friends of the Wetherbees, have wanted to pull in full-time income through the band’s tours for a few years, so they made it happen.

“It was just putting 110 percent in and saying, ‘We’re going to do this,'” said Charles.

Though the group began more classically, the formally trained musicians of Carpe Diem have become more diverse in their programming. They write and arrange their own music, mixing in a tune by Coldplay and folding in guest artists, such as a folk-rock guitarist, a Latin artist or a banjo player (the latter blends old-timey folk music with classical).

“We don’t try to make (our music) exclusively classical or jazz or folk,” he said. “As a group, we really don’t fit into any of those neat labels because we are doing a lot of different music genres.”

The dream of full-time touring only took a couple of years to manifest; for this upcoming fall and winter season, the ensemble already has about 60 gigs booked.

“It’s just a combination of working hard at it and expanding our repertoire and expanding our audience,” he said.

Thursday, Carpe Diem will perform a more traditional classical concert, with a piece by Felix Mendelssohn; one by Franz Joseph Haydn; a new commission, set in G minor, written by jazz pianist Bradley Sowash; and Quartet No. 2 by Borodin, which the Broadway show “Kismet” made popular.

CORRECTS earlier version that mistakenly had Karina as a member of the ensemble.

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