Apollo’s Fire, the Cleveland-based baroque orchestra currently dazzling reviewers worldwide, sold out their upcoming Carnegie Hall debut seven months in advance, but students and teachers of the Catamount Arts EPIC Music program can preview the show for free next month in St. Johnsbury.

On March 20, Catamount Arts and the Northeast Kingdom Classical Series will present Apollo’s Fire at St. Johnsbury Academy’s Fuller Hall as part of the KCP Presents Performing Arts Series. The orchestra will perform the same program in St. Johnsbury that they’ll debut two days later in Carnegie Hall. Tickets are on sale now, and thanks to a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, students may attend free of charge. It’s an excellent opportunity for students, particularly of Catamount’s EPIC Music program, to see a critically acclaimed professional touring orchestra.

EPIC Music, in partnership with the Northeast Kingdom Community Orchestra, St. Johnsbury School, and the Northeast Kingdom Classical Series, offers free intensive violin instruction to St. Johnsbury grade schoolers.

The program, modeled after Venezuela’s El Sistema, promotes social change through inclusive music-making and gives children experience working in ensembles where they learn to respect and listen to one another. While children may not be the first audience that comes to mind when people think of classical music, EPIC Music’s popularity challenges the notion that kids can’t appreciate—or play—ensemble music, and Apollo’s Fire challenges the notion that such music is anything less than exhilarating.

Founded in 1992 by the award winning harpsichordist and conductor Jeannette Sorrell, Apollo’s Fire was named for the classical god of music and the sun and has appropriately earned a reputation as one of the hottest groups of classical musicians playing today. Hailed by The Independent of London as “one of the pre-eminent period instrument ensembles,” Apollo’s Fire is dedicated to the baroque ideal that music should evoke certain passions or emotions in listeners: joy, triumph, despair, aggression, tranquility.

The scheduled Apollo’s Fire program, “A Night at Bach’s Coffeehouse,” is dedicated to the spirit of the 18th century coffee house in Leipzig, Germany, where J.S. Bach held court with fiery panache and conducted concerts performed by university students. Referencing a musical heritage dating back more than 400 years, the program will include the Brandenburg Concertos no. 4 and 5, Telemann’s Don Quixote Suite, and conductor Jeannette Sorrell’s acclaimed arrangement of Vivaldi’s La Folia (“Madness”), which Apollo’s Fire performs from memory.

Support from The Northeast Kingdom Classical Series for the Apollo’s Fire concert and Catamount’s EPIC Music program helps to nurture a new generation of baroque music fans and students. A portion of proceeds from the concert will benefit Catamount’s EPIC Music program.

Apollo’s Fire will perform “A Night at Bach’s Coffeehouse” at St. Johnsbury Academy’s Fuller Hall on March 20, at 7 p.m. Catamount Arts produces the popular KCP Presents Performing Arts Series. For tickets or more information about this and other KCP Presents shows, visit www.kcppresents.org or call 748-2600. To learn more about EPIC Music, visit www.epicmusicvt.org.