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In harmony: First Church, like Fairfield, celebrates 375 years

Heaven-sent music filled the historic sanctuary of First Church Congregational on Sunday afternoon as the Chamber Orchestra of New York performed a concert celebrating the congregation's 375th anniversary -- established by the early settlers of Fairfield, who founded the town the same year.

"Music in the Meetinghouse," as the concert was called -- led by Maestro Salvatore Di Vittorio -- was the group's first appearance in Connecticut.

It was also the first of the church's programs planned in observance of its anniversary, 375 years of history that parallel Fairfield's as the religious meetinghouse for the town's founders.

The concert showcased the talents of Aymeric Dupre la Tour, the music director and organist at First Church, who played an Italian harpsichord. The accomplished keyboardist also plays organ and piano. He was joined by second concertmaster/violinist Daniel Khalikov, a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra's first violin section.

In its sixth season, the orchestra performed music of the 20th and 21st centuries as well as ancient music with an accent on an Italian repertoire. The selections included the U.S. premiere of Alessandro Scarlatti's Harpsichord Concerto No. 3, and the Connecticut premiere of Ottorino Respighi's Suite in G Major for Organ and Strings (original completed version, 23 minutes).

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