Dream On 2009 Festival January 21-January 31
Education, Outreach & Performances
Musicians arrived on January 21st to prepare for the Dream On season which was the first full festival since the ClefWorks Premiere Season in August 2007. The festival opened on Thursday evening, January 29, with the engaging sounds of the “Dance and Romance” concert at 129 Coosa. Concergoers were immersed in the heart-rending melodies and pulse-racing rhythms of Astor Piazzolla’s Le Grand Tango, Robert Schumann’s Piano Quartet in E-flat, Op. 47, John Adams’ Habanera, Johannes Brahms’ Hungarian Dances, and Antonin Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances while soaking up the intimate atmosphere of 129 Coosa.
Local elementary aged children enjoyed sample music styles ranging from bluegrass to jazz to ragtime to international folk at the ClefWorks Children’s Concert on Saturday morning, January 31, at First Baptist Church of Montgomery. Everyone discovered the variety and excitement of live musical performance and learned the differences between a tango and a waltz and the similarities shared by a violin and a fiddle. The talented ClefWorks musicians walked their audience through the unique histories and special features of pieces by Scott Joplin, William Kroll, John Adams, Joaquin Turina and Dawn Wooderson and explained how these composers sometimes inspired or required the modification of musical instruments. Concertgoers also enjoyed viewing the colorful and creative entries of the inaugural ClefWorks Children’s Art Contest, whose winners were revealed during the concert. This concert was made possible by ClefWorks and its community partner, The Junior League of Montgomery.
The final concert of the Dream On season, “Celebrate Montgomery”, was performed on Saturday night, January 31, at 129 Coosa. Listeners’ civic pride was inspired by the fascinating rhythms of George Gershwin, the viscerally powerful tones of Dvorak, and the world premiere of 2008 ClefWorks Composition Competition Winner Scott Robbins’ “Quartet for Violin, Viola, Cello, and Piano (1999/2008).” Concertgoers explored with ears, eyes, mind, AND feet Montgomery’s storied past and newly-revitalized present while enjoying the casual atmosphere with Chris’ famous hotdogs, popcorn, peanuts and Coca-Cola. With its winning combination of historical landmark and modern party place, 129 Coosa provided the perfect address for this exciting exploration and celebration of our city’s yesterdays and tomorrows.
Players for the Dream On performances included returning Montgomery Symphony Orchestra violin fellows Andy Simionescu and Ben Sung, along with former cello fellow Hrant Parsamian. Other performers were John Pickford Richards from the Alarm Will Sound ensemble and August concert favorite, pianist Xak Bjerken along with Kevin Manderville on guitar.
Touch the Music. Hear the Art. Yesterdays from the collection of Robert Fouts highlighted both evening concerts as ClefWorks continued to masterfully weave other art forms into its performances. Eyes feasted on projected images as ears soaked up the delicious mixture of music. Vintage photographs of Montgomerians enjoying afternoon picnics and dancing flapper-style complemented “Dance and Romance”. “Celebrate Montgomery” spotlighted times past with historical photographs displayed in the 129 Coosa space. For a modern twist, selected cityscapes contrasted to their historical counterparts inspired “Celebrate Montgomery” patrons to envision the city’s promising future.
ClefWorks and Junior League of Montgomery volunteers teamed together to create ClefWorks’ first Art Contest. Fourth graders from Montgomery’s four magnet elementary schools submitted artistic creations depicting their favorite place in Montgomery. The resulting colorful pieces provided the perfect backdrop for a Saturday morning of musical fun as enthralled children listened to the sounds of Americana and danced to ragtime favorites and new music. Junior League President, Susannah Cleveland, who was on hand to present winning participants with a special gift, watched as League volunteers partnered with ClefWorks in a morning of musical delights for children from all over the city, along with proud teachers and parents who joined the fun.
While the young winners were less thrilled with parting with their art for even a second, ClefWorkers cleverly convinced the budding artists to turn loose of their pieces just long enough for inclusion in ClefWorks’ Saturday night “Celebrate Montgomery” concert.
Education and Outreach Inspiring young dreamers with a sampler of music styles was the theme of outreach efforts to local children, including the fourth graders of Paterson Elementary School located in downtown Montgomery during the 2009 Dream On Season. ClefWorks musicians took kids on a journey through time as they experienced a frolicking roller coaster ride of musical styles that dipped from bluegrass to jazz then back up again to ragtime to international folk. With listening ears, open hearts and tapping toes, mesmerized children entered uncommon worlds of opportunity to think beyond computer games and hitch their holiday bikes and scooters to a new star.
To make sure that ClefWorks spun its dream-like web for those among us who still feel like kids and who enjoy a good tune or two, ClefWorks musicians made visits to Montgomery Area Council on Aging Centers located in the Normandale and Newtown communities of the city. What a treat! This was not rocking to or with the oldies. Instead, it was Touching the Music. Hearing the Art in places that musicians and audiences found to be spirited and inspired.