Professional musicians Dieter Wulfhorst and wife Susan Doering lost almost everything they owned when the Creek Fire ravaged homes in and near Shaver Lake in September. They did manage to save several instruments, some sheet music and Charlie, their feral cat. Their mountain home in Auberry went up in flames and may never be rebuilt.
But in the midst of this devastation, their passion for sharing music is still intact. The couple, who have appeared as the Emerald Duo and with many symphonies in California and throughout the U.S. and Europe, are performing in a concert being posted Sunday on First Congregational Church's YouTube page. Filmed at the church, the concert is part of the Fred and Beverly Dukes Concert Series.
This seasonal concert features pieces by Cirri, Paola, Massonneau and Thomas Brameli. The new Brameli work appears as a world premiere, followed by the classic “Amazing Grace.”
Of the couple's harrowing escape from the fire, Dieter said, “We had only a few hours of warning before we left home."
Hoping to return the next day, they packed several precious instruments as well as sheet music, some photos and Doering’s concert dresses. It was a shock when they first realized that their mountain sanctuary had gone up in flames.
The musicians currently reside in a private apartment in an orchard in Reedley that was offered by a fellow musician after they grew weary of motel living. They continue to teach lessons online and record for church services and the Sequoia Symphony. They appreciate having access to public libraries and four PBS channels, but have yet to finish tabulating their losses for insurance purposes. Many of their books, CDs and huge sheet music collection are irreplaceable.
Dr. Wulfhorst received master’s and doctorate degrees at the University of Maryland and has made numerous recordings commercially including his most recent CD of cello works by Clara Kathleen Rogers. He plays a cello made by Giovanni Bautista Rogers in 1693.
Dr. Doering’s advanced degrees are from the University of Maryland. She also maintains a private music therapy studio in the Central Valley. She plays a 1995 copy of a 1742 Guarnerius del Gesu violin made for her by Robert Clemens in St. Louis.
The free seasonal concert will be posted at 7 p.m. Sunday at the First Congregational Church's YouTube page at youtube.com/channel/UCmSGCw3sba_K87k3luroaDg.