A What? A VOR?

post by Dana


What is a VOR? It is a Very Open Rehearsal. Well, what is that? It's an interactive music experience, where the audience works with the musicians during a real rehearsal.

Musicians practice for hours and hours individually, locked in a room, alone with our instruments and the music in front of us. Coming up for air to look up a term or check in with a recording, then back to work. Then we rehearse with other musicians, behind locked doors, and then finally, we go public in performance. But what exactly are we doing behind those locked doors? Why does it need to be such a secret? I think most musicians would agree that one of the most interesting aspects of being a musician is the transformation that takes place between the rehearsals and the performance. For me, this is the single most interesting thing about music, the transformation from start to finish. And now you get the chance to be a part of the transformation.

Next week, Chamber Project will be having our first ever VOR. To our knowledge, this is the first VOR that is open to the public in St. Louis. Pioneered in New York by Thomas Cabaniss and the New York Philharmonic's education initiatives,  the VOR invites the audience to engage with music in a new and active way. The musicians rehearse but the audience can interrupt at any point and ask any questions that they have about what is going on in the rehearsal. Yes, that's right. The audience interrupts and asks questions.

Our musicians; Jen, Dana and Melissa, will be rehearsing music that we are performing on our January 21st concert. This will be the first time we rehearse this particular music. We will play through the selected music (about 5 minutes long), and then begin rehearsing, at which point the audience is invited to question anything we say or play. We might just ask a few questions back. After we've rehearsed, with your help, we will  finish by performing the musical selection.  You don't just hear the transformation, you get to be a part of it!

Piston sheet music

One of the things we have learned from getting to know our audience, and from being educators, is that musicians hear differently than everyone else. But we also know that it's because we are trained to hear. All those lessons our parents paid for? All those years and years of college?  It's not to learn to play, it's to learn to listen. If you cant' hear it, you can't do it on your instrument.  The act of listening is something that is learned. The more you know, the deeper your potential for enjoyment is. Having personally meaningful and fully engaging listening experiences is a joyful and even empowering event. We want to open the door to everyone to a deeper listening experience. We think that the VOR is the perfect way to do this.

VOR will be held on Thursday January 12, 7:00 at The Tavern of Fine Arts. It will last about an hour. Come anytime during that hour, and enjoy the great wine list and food at The Tavern!

313 Belt Avenue, St. Louis MO 63112         http://tavern-of-fine-arts.blogspot.com/