Much More Than Dinner Music

by Luke Taylor, Minnesota Public Radio
October 14, 2011

St. Paul, Minn. — Brian Newhouse really hadn't expected to find a superstar. He was simply enjoying dinner.

Newhouse and his wife were attending the 2009 Festival del Sole, a music festival in Napa Valley, Calif., and found themselves seated at dinner with Preston and Brenda, a Midwestern couple. Preston said he worked in insurance and had recently relocated to Cleveland from Minneapolis. Finding something in common, the Newhouses and their new acquaintances enjoyed talking about the Twin Cities.

When dessert came, Newhouse asked the insurance man what brought him to a Napa music festival. Preston replied matter-of-factly that his son was playing violin as the after-dinner act. "His name is Chad," Preston added.

"And we all turned around and this cherubic teenager walks in," Newhouse recalls. "Then he puts his fiddle under his chin and he plays ..."

The young man captivated the entire room. "I thought, 'Oh my gosh, if that's not the next Joshua Bell, I don't know who is'," Newhouse says. "I made a big ol' mental note to just watch his career and see what we might do together down the line."

Two years down the line, Chad Hoopes, 17, is the 2011 - 2012 Classical MPR Artist-in-Residence. Hoopes' first performance with Classical MPR was August 25, 2011, with his recital at MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis.

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