Buzzards Bay Musicfest

There are many reasons why people flock to Marion each summer; sandy beaches, fine sailing, and a quaint village atmosphere have made it a seasonal haven for over a century. For the last 22 years, though, Marion has attracted crowds each July for quite a different reason: its music. Since 1997, Marion has been home to the Buzzards Bay Musicfest, a multi-day concert series featuring some of the world’s finest and most accomplished musicians. 

            The Musicfest’s original concept was based on the remarkable success of the Sunflower Music Festival, as many of the nationally recognized artists involved in that Topeka, Kansas festival expressed interest in locating a similar event in the Cape Cod area. After identifying the outstanding location of Tabor Academy – with its excellent Performing Arts Center – as well as host families to house the artists, a steering committee from Marion and the surrounding area organized and incorporated the Buzzards Bay Musicfest, Inc. The articles of incorporation include three fundamental goals: to produce and present annual festivals of professional orchestra concerts & chamber music programs of the highest quality possible, to add to the cultural and educational life of the community and surrounding region through performances and educational activities, and to stimulate interest in and support for the arts and make outstanding presentations available for both residents and visitors to the Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod areas, as well as throughout the region. 

            By design, all concerts are free. It was the mission of the Musicfest’s founding members to provide an extraordinary opportunity for cultural enrichment to the public — without cost. Totally underwritten by its Founding Board members for the Musicfest’s initial seasons, the size and scope of the presentations have grown, and a number of generous supporters have enabled it to continue for 23 years. While the Buzzards Bay Musicfest Foundation provides a small percentage of the festival’s operating budget, the vast majority of funding comes from donations. In past years, a whopping 93% of the Musicfest’s funding came from individual donations and small grants. Staged at Tabor Academy’s Fireman Center, the series opens and closes with orchestral concerts, with two chamber music concerts, and a jazz performance held in-between. A highlight of the festival is the Open Rehearsal, a unique opportunity for young, old, and aspiring musicians. This event provides, for many people, their first classical music experience; it includes a post-rehearsal meet & greet session with the Musicfest’s Guest Conductor, Antony Walker, as well as its many distinguished performers, and the Artistic Director, Charles Stegeman. These gifted musicians have presented hundreds of works in a variety of styles and ensembles, ranging from chamber music duos and trios to full orchestra. Each year brings new works from a variety of composers. This year’s selections will include works by Bach, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Spohr, Dohnanyi, Ligeti, Debussy, Dvorak, Vivaldi, Grieg, and Brahms. 

            With each season, the Musicfest continues to grow and expand its range. Four years ago, a performance by the sensational Sean Jones Quartet was added to the concert series, a complement to the classical variety of the Musicfest’s traditional offerings. This year’s return of the BBMF ten-piece ensemble Swing Band in “A Tribute to Duke Ellington”, under the leadership of Phil Sanborn is bound to be a memorable event.

            The 2019 BBMF concert series is pleased to announce Antony Walker as Guest Conductor. 

Walker is the Music Director of Pittsburgh Opera and Artistic Director of Washington Concert Opera in D.C. Since making his debut in Sydney, Australia in 1992, Maestro Walker has conducted over 100 operas, as well as large scale choral orchestra/symphonic works with companies and orchestras in Australia, the U.S., Asia, the UK, and Europe. He is the founding Artistic Director and now Conductor Emeritus of the award-winning Pinchgut Opera in Sydney and has recorded over 40 CDs, many of which are complete rarely performed operas, on ABC Classics. 

            The 2019 Buzzards Bay Musicfest begins with its Open Rehearsal for All (children welcome with accompanying adult), to be held on Wednesday, July 10th at 2:30 pm. Orchestral performances will be held Wednesday, July 10th at 8 pm and Sunday, July 14th at 2 pm. Chamber music performances will be held Thursday, July 11 and Saturday, July 13th at 8 pm. The BBMF Swing Band performance will be held Friday, July 12th at 8 pm. For more information about the BBMF, or the performances, visit or email

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