Classical Up Close 2016 had its finale on Friday, May 6 at Maranatha Church. The evening began early with a prelude performance by some young string players from Bravo Youth Orchestra playing alongside Oregon Symphony musicians. There were viola duos, bassoon duos, and the delightful combination of oboe, horn and piano. A string quartet showed considerable stylistic range by playing Beethoven and Piazzola back to back. The entire bassoon section of the Oregon Symphony was on hand, because in addition to Principal Bassoon Carin Miller and Bassoon Adam Trussel playing duos by Mignone, Assistant Principal Bassoon and Contrabassoon Evan Kuhlmann was on hand to stage manage. (Evan may well have the longest title in the orchestra!) The bassoons really evoked some interesting questions from the audience!
This year's festival was thrilling for all of us who played, organized and volunteered. 47 Oregon Symphony musicians participated and 9 special friends joined us, along with behind the scenes help from 10 volunteers. Attendance was fantastic, with many of the venues being filled to capacity. There were approximately 1300 in attendance at the concerts and about 460 at the Blitzes. As in the past, we had a cadre of repeat audience members who followed us around the metro area with smiles on their faces. Our mission to thank the loyal supporters of the Oregon Symphony certainly was met, and our other dearly held goal to make new friends had some delightful successes. One young woman told us after a Blitz that she used to think the Symphony was something "fancy people" did, but now she realizes that" it's people sharing something they're excited about." So true!
One thing we particularly loved this year was how readily audience members took us up on our offer to sit on stage. At Maranatha, a young boy sitting on stage was clearly paying close attention and asked the bassoonists about how they used their air to make the sound. Others told us that they love the opportunity to see us as individuals in such close proximity, in contrast to their relatively distant seats in the Schnitz. (We're glad they took advantage of the opportunity. It's part of why we're doing this!) The questions continued to be really fun, spanning a wide range from quirky requests to a wish to know the basics all the way to some detailed queries that revealed deep knowledge on the part of the questioner.
If you came to a concert and didn't have a chance to fill out the questionnaire on the back of the program, we would be grateful of you took the time to do it here! We are looking forward to reading all the surveys and learning more about our audience and hearing what worked and what we can do better next time.
Here is a sample of the fun we had in pictures. For more, check out our Facebook page!
"This has been a GREAT night! Loved the casual, Q & A, 'learn more about us' tone of the evening I can't imagine anyone NOT loving classical music (and the Symphony musicians!) after experiencing this concert. THANK YOU!!"
"I felt connected with the music and musicians."
"It makes classical music more personal."
"I love learning about the instruments!"
"I thought that classical music was slow and repetitive, but this concert proved me wrong."
Up Close and