Timeless Concerts merges centuries of music in intimate setting for Arlington, Fort Worth residents

dfwnewsa | March 20, 2024 | 0 | Fort Worth , Fort Worth News

Timeless Concerts merges centuries of music in intimate setting for Arlington, Fort Worth residents

Timeless Concerts performers pose for a picture Feb. 11, 2023, at the Jo & Holt Hickman Center in Fort Worth. (Courtesy photo | Timeless Concerts)
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Arlington resident Theresa Ross enjoys going to opera concerts with her friends several times a year — no, not the typically grand classical events such as those at Bass Performance Hall or Will Rogers Memorial Auditorium. 

Instead, Ross’ group of about a dozen people gathers in a room with about 100 other audience members to listen to performers from Timeless Concerts in an intimate setting. In between performances, the singers explain the pieces. The concerts run about an hour. When they’re done, audience members mingle and chat about music. 

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Ross called the concerts “Arlington’s best-kept secret.” 

“I had never seen a group of musicians gather like that before,” she said.

Timeless Concerts, started in 2007, is a small ensemble offering classical music in a relaxed, casual environment. The group performs 10 times a year at either the River Legacy Living Science Center in Arlington or the Jo & Holt Hickman Center at Belltower Chapel in Fort Worth. 

“I want people to get comfortable,” said LeeAnne Chenoweth, president and artistic director. “Some dress up for fun because they want to, and some don’t. And in the summer, I make a point to tell people, ‘Hey, dress down if you want. It’s hot out.’”

If you go

What: Timeless Concerts begins its 2024 season with music to accent the natural setting

When: 8 p.m. April 20

Where: River Legacy Living Science Center, 703 N.W. Green Oaks Blvd., Arlington, 76006

Price: $39; $15 for college students, $32 for seniors

Visit here for more details and here for future dates.

It is possible for the audience to listen to 400 years of music in one night, ranging from pieces by Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi to music from Henry Mancini, who composed “The Pink Panther Theme,” Chenoweth said. 

The concerts always have certain themes, from South American with tango elements to movie nights complete with cinematic theme songs, Arlington resident Ralph Sobel said. In recent years, the ensemble has added an opera component. 

“The music is serious, but it’s not such a serious atmosphere,” Sobel said. 

Unlike a large concert hall, the intimate setting allows the audience to see performers up close, he said. 

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“You can actually see them sweat — kind of, we joke — and you can see them smile,” Sobel said. 

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Timeless Concerts performers sing Feb. 11, 2023, in front of an audience at the Jo & Holt Hickman Center in Fort Worth. (Courtesy photo | Timeless Concerts)

Chenoweth had been with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra for 17 years when she came up with the idea of Timeless Concerts. She loved the symphony, but after so many years, she wanted more freedom in her personal schedule. 

Without analyzing the market, she just dove right in. 

Chenoweth struggled in the first year, she said. She received help with a venue, but she still had to pay for the location. Timeless Concerts wasn’t a nonprofit then, so it was expensive to post advertisements. She remembered losing a lot of money. 

But she didn’t stop. 

“Timeless Concerts is my life,” she said. “I love great music so much I want it to survive. And if people don’t play it, it’ll die.”  

She started with five concerts, but now the ensemble typically sells out all 10 concerts. In 2008, Chenoweth got a lawyer and went the nonprofit route. During the pandemic, Timeless Concerts boomed, Chenoweth said. 

To help struggling musicians and keep them performing, she booked concerts at half capacity. Audience groups were allowed to sit together, but other guests were 6 feet apart. They checked audience members’ temperatures at the door. There were all the protocols of the time in place, but Chenoweth focused most on one thing: She wanted to keep Timeless Concerts going. 

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“We gave a concert in July 2020,” she said. “It sold out in days because people were ready to get out and hear live music.”

Word of mouth also helped. Chenoweth would give lessons and talk to Arlington ISD students about orchestra music. Fans such as Ross and Sobel bought tickets for friends and shared the word however they could. 

“She’s making an effort in her own way to keep this style of music strong. Since both my wife and I enjoy the music, we feel it’s also small enough where we can see our contribution,” Sobel said. 

For about 15 years, Sobel has regularly attended Timeless Concerts performances. But he particularly likes the annual performances around Valentine’s Day, he said. 

He knows he is guaranteed a good date night for his wife, Alice. 

Dang Le is a reporting fellow for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at dang.le@fortworthreport.org or @DangHLe. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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