‘This is all new’: InConcert Sierra presents virtual Third Sunday Concert Series
KNOW & GO
Who: InConcert Sierra’s Third Sunday Series
What: Encore performance of the September 2019 performance FREE
Where: Available online
When: Sept. 20 and up for two weeks, series runs through May 2021
More info: http://www.inconcertsierra.org
“Right now, a live concert performance would be so healing,” said InConcert Sierra Executive Director Julie Hardin. Unfortunately, as with other nonprofits that are known for bringing quality musicianship to our community, InConcert Sierra is also going virtual, kicking off the 2020 Third Sunday Series with an online presentation.
Hardin said they have taken steps to make certain when live performances return, the organization will still be around to present them. “It’s definitely a challenge. We have had to reduce expenses to make sure that we come back in a strong position. We are lucky to have a nice reserve that will see us through, and we are really glad that we have that, obviously, because it will sustain us.” She added that staff was laid off for lack of work and to stretch the funds for as long as necessary.
In his previous role as conductor, Ken Hardin leads the orchestra in the Third Sunday Concert Series kick off this weekend, Sept. 20, at 2 p.m., with a virtual (streamed) encore presentation of the September 2019 InConcert Sierra Orchestra performance. Audience members can enjoy what Julie Hardin describe as “some of the greatest classical pieces ever written — breathtaking, passionate, heart-wrenching and fully explored.” Including Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet, Fantasy Overture,” Debussy’s “Petite Suite,” Brahms’ “Variations for Orchestra on a Theme of Joseph Haydn, and Sibelius’ “Finlandia.”
Hardin said these concerts are offered free of charge. “One of the really cool pieces performed last year was called “Three Pieces on Seedlings by Maria Apostoles,” composed by John Neufeld and written specifically for InConcert Sierra.”
Neufeld is a Hollywood orchestrator for the likes of John Williams. As told in their press release, “Neufeld is known for his work with Hollywood studio orchestras, recording for film and television. Some of the films he worked on as a player or orchestrator include My Fair Lady, Spartacus, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, and Star Wars.”
Hardin said, “You can hear the influences of Hollywood and Star Wars. It’s an incredibly moving, beautiful piece so I am really excited to have that one again so people who weren’t able to enjoy it last year and hear it now.”
The concerts will be on the InConcert Sierra YouTube channel, Facebook page and website for two weeks. Hardin said, “We have some wonderful ‘techie” volunteers who are helping us with getting the concert online.” While the encore performance is free, a donate button will be available on the webpage.
Hardin said they have not been actively seeking contributions. “We know there are a lot of other organizations and businesses that we need to have in this area so are not making (fundraising) an active pursuit.”
Hardin said at this point, InConcert Sierra can continue their education programs with Mark Vance working part time. They are looking at ways to bring the choir back as well as Artistic Director Ken Hardin, but for now, the organization benefits from the proximity of the couple to one another. “Luckily, I have his ear. It helps be able to run things by him. He continues to share ideas.”
InConcert Sierra began as Twin Cities Concert Association in 1946. The organization had 1,110 members at the Vets Hall under the auspices of the Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce. Hardin said, “This community has always been starved for world-class entertainment.” Most recently the organization has about 200 season ticket holders with past concerts bringing about 400 patrons. Hardin said that’s “pretty impressive” for a small, rural community.
“We are always delighted by the audience, which is weird not have anymore,” Hardin said. “It’s really difficult, if not impossible to bring back the presence of a live performance. This is all an experiment. If people have ideas, we are open to them, but this is all new.”
Hardin said they have had people ask them to put things up, so they continue to have a presence, but there are many high-level performances available (siting examples such as the Met or Yo-Yo Ma). The organization is working to use the reserve wisely so they can come back strong when it is appropriate.
“As soon as we can, we will do some sort of chamber, outdoor performance, but right now, it is not possible. I have talked to local health officials and we cannot put a performance together for even 20 people,” Hardin said. “(I am) missing the energy from a live performance. I miss it so much. It’s music that courses through you when you are watching a live performance. It’s being around the audience and having that communal experience with the music. You just can’t replicate it through virtual or television.”
Hardin said she and others have realized it (live performance) was something we took for granted. “I took it for granted. It was my life, not just what we do. When that was sort of ripped from us, it hurts. It’s painful. It’s something that is missing, and you sure feel it inside.”
She continued, “We are doing this because people have requested it and we want to stay vital in the community and it is important to continue presenting music in some way and we are trying to find that way.” The Third Sunday Series will continue through May 2021. “We will try different things each time. It’s a moving target but we will definitely be presenting something for the public each third Sunday.”
Hardin concluded, “The one line we keep using is that we are laser focused on live music and that is what we want to be spending our money on. We are finding ways to make it through the ‘pandemic pause’ and to make sure people are getting what they expect from InConcert Sierra and that is great music.”
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire, as well as a podcaster at HollieGrams. You can hear her episodes at https://www.buzzsprout.com/1332253. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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