Thursday, May 15, 2008

Greencastle Summer Classical Music Series

The 2008 Greencastle Summer Classical Music Series begins this coming Wednesday. It's about as traditional a classical music series as you can get, so there's some irony that it's organized by someone (me) who is a fan of Greg Sandow, a believer in alternative and innovative concert presentation, improvisation, etc., etc. There's a warm and appreciative audience for classical music in Greencastle, and the culture of our small town is such that "classical" is a selling point, not something to call by another name, not something that needs to be transformed into a post-classical something else.

It started three years ago with six bi-weekly concerts as a way to keep me playing and practicing during the summer, and I played on most of the concerts. Now it's grown to fourteen concerts, from the week after DePauw's Commencement until the week before classes start, and while I play "support cello" on a number of them, only two or three really feature me in a significant way. When I started it, I didn't want it to be too much of an "Eric Edberg and friends" sort of thing. There's an aspect of that to it, of course, but hey, I am the one putting it on! This summer, so many colleagues and friends wanted to play it was hard to fit everyone in. The original plan was twelve concerts, so I added another two.

It helps that we're not trying to make any money. The performers get small honoraria; we all are just happy to have a place to play or sing. The administrative costs are zero; I donate my time organizing the concerts, and the church where we hold them provides some secretarial support. (The piano tuner usually makes more off the series than anyone else.) So we do just fine with donations from a few businesses in Greencastle and about 40 individual donors.

Audiences range from 40-120; there's a feeling of intimacy, and informality. OK, there's where I'm untraditional, I suppose. No black or white tie--usually no ties at all. And the performers talk to the audience about the music during the concert and with them after.

It's going to be fun.

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