bringing down the wall

posted by Dana One of the reasons we began Chamber Project is that we passionately believe Classical Music can be enjoyed by anyone. We felt we could find a way to break down some of the imaginary boundaries that isolate Classical Music from popular culture. To bust the myth that you have to have some secret knowledge or privilege to understand and enjoy Classical Music. We love it, and we're just people like everyone else! Music is Music - it's all made of the same stuff. It's available to anyone, and we're striving to develop a concert format that opens the door to anyone willing to give it a chance and walk in. We think we've found a pretty good presentation that's inviting and fun, and we're always thinking about how we can go further.

This past week, we presented our program, Stings Attached, Thursday and Friday nights.  In both concerts, I felt that we accomplished our mission of opening up the joy of live music for our audience. I began the evening by putting a frame around the music we were presenting - providing context for the audience to build their listening experience on. We do this for all of our concerts. For this program it turned out that the best way to talk about this music was through a mini history lesson about how through time, the way people value personal self expression and dramatic emotional energy in music has changed. Some Eras like the drama, others don't.

I could feel the rapt attention of the audience (as performers, we have a strange 6th sense about how the audience is feeling). Both nights, they loved getting this information. I could feel the energy, I could see it in their faces as I spoke. They were eager for this information, and as the music started, the energy carried through.

At intermission, we mingled with our audience. At The Chapel I had a great conversation with an amateur clarinetist about pieces for clarinet, and he tipped me off to a composer I should look into.  At The Tavern I continued a conversation that had started before the concert began with a table who had been in for dinner as I was warming up. As it turns out, our mothers both played clarinet in high school! I handed out ballots to all of the tables at The Tavern at intermission, making contact with pretty much every person in attendance. This was a very happy surprise for me, and I plan on doing it again!

For us, conversing with our audience is just as rewarding as performing for them. Our audience is getting the hang of this too - it's not everyday someone walks off stage and right up to you and asks you if you're having a good time! It gives them an opportunity to ask questions about the music, about the instruments, about us. And we get to ask them what they think of the music, what brings them to a concert, what is their relationship with music, what is their story?

We are going to continue to come up with fun and new ways to connect with our audience! We hope you will be there! We play a 30 minute set at the Women in the Arts Conference on Saturday November 12 at 2:30 on the UMSL campus. It's free and we are in the JC Penny Conference Center. Our program will be a reprise of last years 'Superwomen Explored", a program of music composed by women.

We hope to see you there!