Back in the day, many moons ago, fancy people would host little gatherings in their homes in a special area meant for entertaining. They called this room a chamber. And because iPods and CDs and even records hadn't been invented yet — 'twas a wild world indeed — these folks had to hire real, live musicians to perform and offer entertainment and a measure of ambiance at their parties. But, of course, full orchestras wouldn't fit in these party rooms, nor would the music written for such groups — it would all be too big, obviously. So then composers set about arranging music for these smaller spaces, aptly calling this work "chamber music," and lo and behold, chamber music is still celebrated and performed today, thanks to groups such as the Chamber Music Society of St. Louis (, founded in 2008. What's more, this group stays true to this "party" idea and ensures that folks aren't just having a listening experience at these concerts, but also a politely social one — seating is friendly cabaret-style (four people per table), and wine and nibbles are available. How genteel! The CMSSL season kicks off with Baroque Is Back — featuring Charles Metz and special guest Nicholas McGegan (pictured) on the harpsichord, and works by Vivaldi, Handel, Bach and more — at 7:30 p.m. in the ballroom at the Sheldon Concert Hall (3648 Washington Boulevard); tickets cost $35. Call CMSSL at 314-941-6309 to add yourself to the waitlist. — Alison Sieloff

Tue., Oct. 16, 2012

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