Skip to main content

Musicians for Michiana: The Music Village

Here’s my favorite thing about Kellirae Boann, of The Music Village.  When I make a suggestion she says, “Yes,” and then she says, “AND,” and she makes it bigger and better than I had even ever considered that it could be.  When I approached her hoping to perform a few concerts in her space the project rapidly turned into a four-concert series, featuring fourteen musicians, four non-profit organizations, two restaurants, a recording engineer, pre-concert lectures, a local print shop, a team of volunteers, a grant proposal, and the current crowd-funding campaign which I invite YOU to participate in. 

Kellirae and The Music Village have been my strategic partner in this project since its inception.  The Village will be hosting the concerts, in an intimate space just perfect for small-group chamber music and up-close audience engagement.  She and her superb staff and volunteers worked with me to refine the vision of the project and to craft a compelling grant proposal.  Working with The Music Village gives non-profit credibility to Musicians for Michiana (so your donations through Indiegogo are tax-deductible!), although we do intend to acquire our own non-profit status for next year. 

The vivid primary colors and friendly, casual atmosphere in their space are a dramatic contrast to many classical venues, and suggest the level of approachability I have always striven for in my own performances.  Although we can and will move upstairs to a larger and somewhat more formal hall when our attendees exceed the capacity of the room, I admit that I am quite looking forward to the intimacy and enforced proximity of audience and musicians for these interactive concerts. 

And perhaps my favorite part of the whole project is the community connection.  I’m a born introvert, so although I have lived in this town for years and eaten at the local restaurants and observed with pleasure the activities going on, I only really know people through my Symphony job and through my husband, the friendliest man in the world.  Now, through Musicians for Michiana and The Music Village, I have more connections than ever before, with people, organizations, and and happenings.  Our other partner organizations, Unity Gardens, Girls on the Run Michiana, and Hannah and Friends, are similarly outwardly focused, and I’m feeling my roots and networks growing and deepening by the day. 

I am beginning to feel as though our plan for a new chamber music series here in South Bend is more than just a pipe dream.  In fact, as our Indiegogo campaign inches through its allotted time, I not only believe in it, I believe in it wholeheartedly.  I think we’re going to do this. 

Still to come in this series of posts: The Partners.  The Concerts.  The Successful Conclusion!

Visit Musicians for Michiana HERE.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Discouraging Words

I can remember at least two old cranky violinists coming to talk to young me about NOT going into music.  There was a session, for example, during a Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra retreat in which a real RPO professional (who was probably 47 but whom I remember as ancient) told us that, statistically, no one who graduates from music school wins auditions for jobs because there are only like 4 jobs out there in the world and 7000 hotshots coming into the job market every week. 

Quit NOW. 

I may have misremembered the details of this speech, but I remember the emotional jolt.  It was designed to discourage.

Last weekend I was presenting at a Double Reed Festival, and heard some oboists grumbling about another presenter who had evidently given something of the same talk to a roomful of masterclass attendees and participants.  High school students and cheerful adult amateurs.

And look, there's an element of truth to this.  Classical music is not a growing field, and it is leg…

Shaq and the Oboe

Here’s my FAVORITE thing about that Shaquille O'Neal video everyone's sharing this week - it’s how HAPPY he is playing this silly game and how little he CARES what the oboe actually SOUNDS LIKE or how to play it. 
Almost as if the oboe is not a giant obstacle to overcome.

Instead of focusing on the CRAFT of the instrument, the precise fingerings, the quality of the sound, the finesse of the vibrato - his focus is on DELIVERING the SONG.   It’s on COMMUNICATION, not perfection.


What a LIBERATING concept!


When I am playing my best, I find that I can surpass the STRUGGLE and come to a place where my focus is on communication.   I can sing through the instrument, and I can use that voice to reach out and find someone else.  This is really what being In the Zone means for me - it's when I don’t have to engage with the OBOE and instead can be generous with my VOICE for the audience.


I seek and strive for this Zone all the time - it’s the whole point of practicing! I practice long…

Warming Up - Long Tones

I must not talk enough about warmups. I say this because recently, in my last lesson ever with a student leaving for college, I was mentioning something about my warmup regimen and his jaw dropped. Apparently long tones and intervals and scales with varied articulations are not part of his daily routine, nor had it ever occurred to him to use his band's warmup period to improve his playing. And I'm not telling this story on him, but on myself. Obviously I need to address the warm up period because it is fully half of the playing I do, and sometimes more.

Much of practicing is focused on learning a specific piece - either something you are performing at a specific time in the future, or an etude for your lesson, or the piece you're playing in band or orchestra. You are working on the specific problems or techniques that that piece requires. Of course you are working in as efficient a way as possible, and at the end of your practice period you can play the passage or pi…