We have the details almost finalized for Classical Up Close 2019, but that isn’t all we’ve been doing these last few months! In September, we inaugurated a new series of Pop-Up Performances, one each month until the Spring festival, and we’ve already presented three of these.
As you know, we are Oregon Symphony musicians and friends who want to broaden access to live classical music and create community through free performances in places that are especially convenient for members of the community. Due to time constraints, our Spring festival comprises a maximum of six full-length concerts each year along with our fun, small-scale Blitzes, which are designed to drum up interest for each evening concert within its general neighborhood. We love how many parts of town we get to visit while doing these, but we’ve come to feel that there were more communities and populations we hoped to share the music with which weren’t being reached by these programs. We were also inspired by the joyous experiences many of us had performing for the Sounds of Home series created by the Oregon Symphony last season. This new series of short events is our response! Our new Pop-Up concerts fit into more varied spaces than the full-length evening concerts and we’re enjoying these opportunities to find new partners to help us connect with more neighborhoods and communities. Genuine inclusivity is very important to us and sharing the experience of live classical music is a great way to celebrate unity and build community!
The series kicked off on September 18 with Mousai Remix performing at the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization. On October 17, Ruby Chen (violin) and Kevin Kunkel (cello) played for a packed house at The Historic Kenton Firehouse under the auspices of Catholic Charities. Most recently, on November 6, the Bridge City Four String Quartet performed works including jazz, the American Songbook and other modern genres at the Old Town Recovery Center.
The audiences for each of these performances ranged from 30 to 60 people, including clients of the partner organization and varying proportions of people from the surrounding neighborhood. For example, Kenton Women’s Village is a venture of Catholic Charities for women without homes that has been embraced by the Kenton neighborhood, and the concert in the Historic Firehouse was attended by people from both, celebrating that neighborhood’s inclusiveness and unity. Most of the time, these concerts have been and will continue to be open to the public, but some Pop-Ups may be in facilities that serve a clientele in need of privacy and may not be open to the public, or may require entering with security procedures. We’ll make sure this aspect is clear when we put the events on the website.
It is our privilege to see first-hand how music brings joy and a sense of belonging to audiences. At one Pop-Up, the mother of a preschooler in a wheelchair told us, “She loved it. You could see it in her eyes and the way she was so still while the musicians were playing.”
People thank us for coming to their neighborhoods, and they express to us that the experience of live classical music brings enjoyment and even peace. “I enjoyed this so much today. I forgot all about the election for a little while.”
This act sharing gives us joy, and we are so grateful for the opportunities to do so. It is the support of the community — churches, businesses, charitable foundations, and individuals like you — that makes it possible We look forward to continuing to bring the music we love to our community!
Up Close and