Crescendo Chamber Music Project - Concept
Three hub cities - Chicago, Seattle, and New York - are providing work through Crescendo North America by each engaging 11 local musicians for 12 weeks to have fellowship with one another, engage in a spiritual discussions relating to art and faith, study a piece of music, and perform those pieces in a culminating final concert.
An honorarium was paid to each participating musician (unless otherwise instructed) as a thank you and in efforts to be a blessing to those who were out of work as a result of COVID quarantine.
As the project has evolved Seattle actually has 13 musicians broken into 4 ensembles. At their weekly rehearsals they spend the first 15-30 mins discussing the convergence of musicianship/the music being studied and faith. In addition to their final concert, several ensembles will dedicate time to playing at local retirement homes, churches, and other areas within the community.
Anthony Spain, Hub leader of Seattle, has expressed that, "the musicians so far are really enjoying playing with each other, for some, this is the first time they have been able to play with another person since the quarantine, almost a year [ago]."
Chicago has a total of 11 musicians broken into 3 ensembles - Flute Quartet, Brass Quintet, and a Flute and Piano Duo.
Their rehearsals occur individually, but each group completes a log to keep account of the piece of music rehearsed, the spiritual discussion topic, members in attendance, and asks to upload a photo/video clip of the rehearsal. Discussions have been rich and exploratory.
As Brian Reichenbach, the Chicago hub leader, pointed out, "it's causing us all to dig deeper into our faith and express our beliefs and share personal experiences from our relationship with God."
NYC has a total of 11 musicians - Piano Quartet, String Quartet, and Piano Trio. Each ensemble hosts their own rehearsal, however the spiritual discussion topics are thoughtfully curated by Heather Bixler, NYC Hub leader, and disseminated at the beginning of the week. Like Chicago, each ensemble completes a log that outlines what movements were rehearsed, their individual reactions/discussions to the spiritual topic, members in attendance, and asks for a photo or short video clip to be uploaded. Below, members of the Brahms quartet beginning their rehearsal.
"Pray for us..." Heather Bixler asked in a hub leader meeting, "It's been so nice to play with other people, and the discussions are really rich, but are also challenging with so many different personalities...This has never been done before, musicians talking about their faith and how it connects to the piece of music their studying, it's exciting, but it's also an adjustment for some of the groups."
In step with the spirit of this project, to enrich musicians of faith, NYC is hosting a Masterclass with the concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, David Chan, on June 6, 2021 at 6pm EST.
As a believer, Chan is enthusiastic about the project and to offer his insights and critique to each of NYC's three ensembles.
All 11 NYC chamber music project musicians will meet in Heather Bixler's living room (large enough for social distancing), engage in a 20-30 minute spiritual discussion created and led by David Chan, play two movements or up to 20 mins of their final concert piece and receive feedback and critique from Chan. The masterclass will be broadcasted live on Zoom for the other hub cities and Crescendo members to view. It will also be recorded for archival purposes and may be posted on the Crescendo YouTube channel. To prevent any intruders, the Zoom link will only be made available to those with a password.