“I’ve been teaching at CCMS for at least 20 years, and I’ve never been a part of something like this.”
Clarinetist Stephanie Ratte Jenkins wasn’t the only one with this reaction when nearly 20 Concord Community Music School faculty members gathered in the recital hall for a showcase concert this past Friday. The unprecedented number of participants played everything from bassoons to djembes, in styles that ranged from jazz to blues to classical and beyond.
Audrey Budington, who followed the opening act with two original pieces on the fiddle, was elated to be a part of such a momentous night for CCMS: “It’s so cool that we could all come together from all our different traditions and be part of something so big and wonderful. It is absolutely the meaning of community for me.”
Pianist Kathy Southworth appeared twice as an accompanist in the program, and reiterated how special it was to have so many faculty performing together on one night: “I made a point to sit in the audience so I could see and hear everybody, and I kept hearing from the faculty how great it was to have the chance to cheer each other on.”
The event was the definition of collaboration; the program featured a plethora of musicians playing in a variety of styles and the hall was filled with an appreciative audience, thanks in part to Intown Concord’s promotion of the recital as the culmination of its Arts Walk – themed First Friday celebration.
Not only did the concert serve as a landmark event for CCMS and the finale for First Friday attendees, it also wrapped up the inaugural Concord Classical Concert Series, which launched earlier this fall. This series was established via a generous grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Fund’s Ellen Downing Waite and Edward Osgood Waite Fund, with the intent of making classical music accessible to populations who have traditionally had less access to it. CCMS furthered this goal through onsite partnerships and free performances at Concord-area libraries, retirement communities, health organizations, and schools.
Jenkins served as the Concord Classical Concert Series’ coordinator and oversaw six concerts this fall. Part of what made these concerts unique was their approachability and how musicians strayed from the formalities usually associated with classical music in favor of what Jenkins described as “collaborations between the audiences and performers.” Each event in the Series featured plenty of discussion, explanation, and audience participation to accompany the music. “I really enjoyed going to the venues and meeting the people that were going to host our musicians, and getting to know some faculty members that I didn’t know as well,” says Jenkins.
While a second edition of the Concord Classical Concert Series depends on the re-approval of the Waite Fund grant, its vision is clear, thanks to a successful first run. The hope is to continue building partnerships within the greater Concord area, integrating with band and string programs at local schools, and bringing professional classical music to an even broader array of audiences and venues.
– Jeff Selesnick
FACULTY RECITAL PARTICIPANTS
(in order of performance)
Andrew Emanuel (tenor sax) and Jared Steer (drum set)
Audrey Budington (fiddle)
Jennie O’Brien (soprano) and Kathryn Southworth (piano)
Natalie Talbot (baroque flute)
Jarred Garneau (slide guitar)
Erin Dubois (flute), Maria Isaak (bassoon), and Stephanie Jenkins (clarinet)
Anita Yu (piano)
Steven Lundahl (recorder) and Kathryn Southworth (organ)
Olga Patramanska-Bell (viola)
Jan Fuller (cello)
CCMS Executive Director Daniel Acsadi (guitar)
Grace and Lindsay Schust (djembe), with special guests Emilie Meadows (djun-djun) and Paul Currier (mandolin)