Though it was already a few weeks ago, Evan and I are still flying high from our first Scrag Mountain Music concerts Jan. 21-23. We were so pleased with how the concerts went, as well as turn-out and response to our series and our approach to classical music concerts. One of the most delightful things about the weekend was feeling how distinctly different each venue felt, and how the audiences responded in different ways. Every performance is a new experience, of course, but some people don't realize how much the audience and venue play into that. Being at a farm, a cafe/bar, and a familiar home-y church made the concerts feel fun, intimate, and approachable both for us and for the audience.
The week leading up the concerts was busy, not only with rehearsing with Julia and Karen, but also in planning the interaction, which emerged only as we got to know the pieces well and decided what we felt we wanted to emphasize about each piece. One of the most popular and fun interactions came before a piece by Libby Larsen for cello and bass called "Up where the air gets thin." Evan and Julia led the audience in creating a "soundscape" of what it would feel and sound like on top of Mt. Everest. There was wind, crunching snow, panting breath of an exhausted hiker, the bright piercing sunlight, the sound of your own heartbeat in your head, and more. We had very creative and imaginative audiences. The best thing for us was feeling the sense of attentiveness and open ears that each audience had going into Evan and Julia's performance of the Larsen! And afterwards, we heard from loads of people that "Up where the air gets thin" was their favorite piece on the program!
We were sad to say goodbye to Julia and her husband Issac as they flew back to NYC, but we know we'll be seeing them soon. I'm so glad Karen lives close enough that we can collaborate again easily! We're cooking up some musical plans for this summer, which is really exciting.
So from both Evan and me, many thanks to all who came, supported, and volunteered to make our first weekend of concerts a great success! Keep your ears and eyes open for Scrag Mountain Music concerts later this month, and then again in April!
Evan Premo and Mary Bonhag, artistic directors