Since doing our first festival of free concerts in 2013, we’ve had three years of enthusiastic and unflagging support for our mission by Oregon Symphony musicians, community and business leaders, and especially YOU, our audiences. Now that we are a 501-3(c) charitable organization, we’re able to receive support from foundations as well, and we’ve been fortunate to secure grants from the Cultural Coalition of Washington County in partnership with the Oregon Cultural Trust, the Rose E. Tucker Charitable Trust and the Oregon Community Foundation. This support and that of the individuals who have made donations will help make Classical Up Close sustainable! We are also pleased to announce that our crucial partnership with All Classical Portland is continuing. Exciting details about that will be coming soon.
This year, as in the past, we have a mix of old and new locations, all made possible by generous community partners. We’re returning with our signature interactive concerts to St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in SE Portland, Lake Grove Presbyterian Church in Lake Oswego and Maranatha Church in NE Portland, and presenting Blitzes again at Powell’s City of Books, the Oregon Symphony Ticket Office, Portland’s City Hall, Beaverton City Library, and American Legions Post #134. For the first time, we’ll be at Trinity Episcopal Church in NW Portland, First Congregational United Church of Christ in Vancouver, and Nordia House in SW Portland. New Blitz locations include Symposium Coffee in Tigard and Salt & Straw on SE Division St. Some of these venues approached us with their interest in hosting an event. Others were brought to our attention as places which have the attributes we need to create a nice experience for the audience and which help us get to different parts of town. (In the coming weeks, we’ll share some of the stories behind the concerts.)
In addition to having locations, dates and times settled, we now have the musical selections programmed. The orchestra has had a few weeks to sign up, and it’s been fun to see clusters of Oregon Symphony musicians gathered around the bulletin board backstage during rehearsal breaks, looking at the sign-up sheets — charts, really — and discussing what they’d like to play. Some groups play together outside the orchestra on a regular basis, and others are friends and colleagues who use the opportunity to play chamber music with someone they’ve only played with within the orchestra — sometimes sharing a piece they know well from the past, and sometimes deciding together to learn something new. Sarah Kwak, Jen Arnold and Nancy Ives got together with the filled-out charts and used post-it notes to put together programs using what the musicians have offered. It’s always amazing how well everything adds up, and how there are interesting selections from all sections of the orchestra that give us just the amount of music we need to make each event musically eventful!
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