Several folks have inquired regarding details of this weekend's concerts by musicians of the Columbus Symphony. If you don't have time to read my passionate philosophical explorations 🙂 on the implications of the phrase "musicians concerts", all the information you need for the concerts is HERE. Also, we need volunteers to sell tickets and usher for the Saturday evening concert. Please contact Donna Gerhold at email@example.com to find out what you can do. Breaking news: Now you can buy tickets at MCSO Concerts, the musician concerts website.
Now for my philosophical entreaty on the value of live classical music:
I can't help but notice the playful redundancy of the phrase "musicians concert"; yet there it is, in all it's ironic nakedness. It sounds so honest and real, as opposed to the "such and such symphony orchestra", which already sounds corporate. (although the word corporate, beyond its business use, also means "united or combined into one", an ideal for a group of musicians from a musical point of view)
When did the "musicians' get replaced by an "institution" or an "organization"? As if they didn't exist in the flesh, but only in terms of something else!
Has the time come when all sides will band together, no pun intended, to make the music happen?
Judging from the recent event here in Columbus and also the longterm history of professional music making, the question arises; How do we traverse this sludge of tradition and habit to attain the pure goal embodied in the phrase musicians concert? We don't want to throw the good out with the bad. Yet, isn't that part of the American spirit, to look unflinchingly with fresh eyes and see, or attempt to see, what is of real value and what is dead weight?
Another question; Are these upcoming concerts just a "job" for us, the musicians? After all, we have to make a living at what we do to continue to do it. Then there's the aching question, what constitutes "making a living"? But we won't go there just now. Let us assume the concept of "free market" thinking will fumble it's way to some real truth, if we continue to ask the right questions. Such as, what is the value of the music we play? Can a dollar sign really be placed on the complex emotions aroused by great classical music?
The quality of the music is certainly an important factor. Any "product" (I hate to use the word here) has a "value". But what system, or organization, determines that value? Are fads valuable because they sell well for awhile?
Continuing with the idea of fads, why is it that many, many people gravitate toward classical music as they age? Shouldn't their wisdom and experience count as a meaningful indication of the "value" of the music they wish to hear?
Bear with me, I need to work this through.
A few weeks ago, I drove the seven hours trip to Bethesda, MD, where I grew up, to visit with my mother and sister for a few days. I always listen to music on the trip. Since classical music has trouble cutting through the substantial hum of the highway, I picked a half dozen pop/world pop CDs from the library to play during the driving time.
I didn't listen to more than 5 minutes of any of those CDs. These CD's were so insipid, all of them, Shafqat Ali Khan, pseudo Indian music (I grew up in India, and heard numerous "classical" Indian concerts), Jolie Holland (get a composer), Astor Piazzolla (a real classical composer) remixed (huh???!), even Steely Dan, whom I used to listen to, seemed washed out, stale. Am I getting old? At least "rock" music didn't try to impress anyone, and won over hearts and minds with that idea!
Back to the subject: musicians concerts! I could go on with the yadayadayada of how dedicated we are, how much time we spend practicing, how much money we spend on our equipment. Even though it's all true, we made those choices, after all. So what is all our effort worth? Is it up to the public to decide? You're darn right? People with whom we share all our passion and dedication, the process and the outcome, the suffering and the joy, the growing pains and the growth spurts, will be like family to us, and us to them. They will love us for what we do, not the product we make.
That's the real value of music, and especially classical music, which is by FAR the most difficult AND rewarding type of music there is, both for members of the audience and the musicians. (except for really great jazz)
OK, I've had my say. Now for some details about this weekend's concerts. Friday's concert is for kids of all ages. David Tanner, whose untiring efforts to produce the most complete web site about and for musicians and their supporters, has put all the information you could possibly need, including a big satellite photo with big red arrows pointing to parking, and red warnings of problems you might have getting there, plus really nice, big photos of the venue, HERE. (Hint: You will need to bring your own chairs/blankets)
Saturday's 7:30 PM concert is at Vets Memorial, 300 West Broad St. Columbus, OH 43215. We need VOLUNTEERS for Saturday's concert, at least 20, to help out with ticket sales and seating and other very important details to make this concert work for all of us! Please contact Donna Gerhold (firstname.lastname@example.org) for how you can help.
Please forgive us all (the musicians as a group) for any glitches in this process. We are on a steep, steep learning curve. But don't worry, we learn fast, but we can't do it without you. We may be experts at the unbelievably complex details of phrasing Brahms, but need all of you to stay the course with us as we begin to make Brahms' music, and all classical music, YOURS!