Thursday, September 30, 2010

I've Got a Secret

by guest blogger Janey Sarther

The MAC is hosting Frank Warren on Tuesday, Oct. 5 for a presentation of his work “Post Secret.”

It wasn’t until the MAC booked this show that I became aware of this phenomenon of sharing secrets via postcards which started in Nov. 2004

And now I must admit – I look forward to his weekly posting of secrets. But my intrigue makes me question my impulse to want to know about such things that people have chosen to keep private. Why do we have secrets? Why do we desire to know other people’s secrets?
One could argue that secrets are detrimental to our health, and if so then why this fascination to know others’ dirt?

I don’t have any answers, other than to share that I’m grateful for Frank’s work.
I’m grateful that this artist has designed a simple technique to allow anyone to be an artist.
I’m grateful that this creative process offers a chance to cleanse your soul.
I’m grateful that this forum for sharing allows others (such as myself) to engage with these secrets and feel alive in knowing about others.

I’m hopeful that Tuesday night brings a bonding experience at the COD like none other.Tuesday evening is a chance for someone to laugh with others, a chance to cry with others, a chance to share in the realization that “you are not alone in the world – someone else feels or has experienced it too.”

For me that is what this performance and Frank’s work is all about – finding community and connection, and using the perfect tool to do so – Art.

PostSecret Video

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Giving Back by Kirk Muspratt

Hello Friends!

This past week was the VERY first national "ARTS IN EDUCATION WEEK!” This summer, Congress passed Resolution 275 stating that the second full week in September would now be designated as a week to recognize and focus on the value of arts in our schools.

Bravo to Congress!

For all of the musicians of NEW PHILHARMONIC and the staff of the MAC, we, too, want to do our part in GIVING BACK to our wonderful community, supporting music in the schools in Illinois, supporting young people, helping families to learn about and enjoy music together.

Ergo - our very first concert of the season!

Are you bringing your son and daughter and/or grandson and granddaughter to the concert? Think of it! It could be generation 1, generation 2, and generation 3 - all sitting together enjoying PETER AND THE WOLF!

I like that image very much and think what a meaningful and joyous time that would be for a family.

Ohhhhhh - maybe you are saying: "Peter And The Wolf? That's for kids!" YUP! - it sure is. ...and the cartoons I am going to show up on the screen before the concert, have the most fun wolf you ever did see. (actually - the hunters may be the funniest.) They should tickle you pink.

And yes - if your granddaughter is 6 years old - perhaps in the intro I have written with the slides - she will learn the oboe is a woodwind instrument and the sound of that oboe portrays the duck in the story.

However, for the adults too - it IS Prokofiev!

Genius Prokofiev. The Prokofiev that uses Leitmotivs to tell us a dramatically apt and attractive story.It is mature Prokofiev of 1936; the Prokofiev that had just finished writing ROMEO AND JULIET; the Prokofiev that had escaped to the west but decided to return to his mother Russia and live behind the iron curtain. It is a Prokofiev whose life is full of tragedy and a man living through the depression in the Soviet Union; but a man who finds it within himself to enchant us with the beauties of orchestra music and a captivating fairy tale for children and adults alike.

So - yes -on the first half of the concert we are playing PETER AND THE WOLF and we hope it helps brings more families to the concert and it supports awareness and appreciation of music for all generations.

The second half of the program is made so the pieces are not too long at all and they are extremely accessible. Finlandia and Forza del Destino are a blast. They give us a chance to show off the virtuoso chops of our wonderful musicians.

I will grant you that the Tristan and Isolde is longer - and much more weighty and involved - certainly has LEITMOTIVS eh??!!

Besides -- you are an audience with great expectations and if I do my job well, and with the musicians giving 101%, we want to be able to take you on a journey that at one point is the playful, Russian PETER AND THE WOLF and later in the concert we bring you to the nexus of one of the most searing, intense musical statements of late German Romanticism.

You will want to know, too, Emanuele, our assistant conductor, is going to conduct the Brahms Academic Festival Overture. He is a very talented young man and certainly deserves opportunities to conduct. (He and his wife just had their first baby - Davide - so I need to push his career as much as possible too right now! He tells me that little Davide is drinking up ALLLL the milk in Chicagoland!)

Emanuele is not only going to conduct OUR orchestra but added onto this will be the gifted string students of the Adlai Stevenson High School Orchestra. Stevenson High is one of only 5 schools in America selected to receive the 2010 John. F . Kennedy Center For The Arts - Distinction In Arts Education Award. This coveted award is considered one of the highest honors for any high school arts education program in the nation. In the entire state of Illinois in the past 12 years, only Neuqua Valley High School and the Chicago Academy for the Arts have ever been awarded this honor.

This ties in completely with - GIVING BACK. These deserving students will have the chance to join our professional musicians, work at a new and different niveau , and grow with the same kind of superior experiences that each of us in the orchestra were afforded as we matured in our studies. Hopefully, too, this encourages the parents and teachers of these young people and is a thrill for the young artists who are joining us.

If your grandson joins you for the concert, he will see high school students up there on stage at the end of the concert and perhaps he will decide it would be great to play the cello too.

I look forward to seeing you all at the concert!

(I now have to change hats and go study for my American immigration test. I have had a green card now for many years but last year, I thought it was time now to attempt to be a citizen of the country I have been educated in, have lived in for so many years, and where I make my living and try to help make art flourish. It is not easy to legally become an American citizen. I am in the last stages now and I have to memorize lots and lots of American history. Wish me luck, ok? )

Oh - and please tell me afterwards at COOKIES WITH KIRK - which cartoon you thought was the most fun will you? The wolf is a gas, but I do think that the hunters will have your chuckling even more.

Hoping to, GIVE BACK.