I admit it…I had never before heard of “Giving Tuesday,” but I have to say, I think it’s a good idea. I personally don’t participate in Black Friday; in fact, I avoid it like the plague, as I dislike shopping in general. That said, “Small Business Saturday” is brilliant. If it weren’t for the fact that Saturdays are the Jewish Sabbath, I’d be in on that 100%. I can easily find lots of interesting items to buy locally, that I wouldn’t even think to look for on the web. Both of these promotional days get straight to the idea of building better communities. Regardless of our harried lifestyles and internet access that puts the world literally at our fingertips, we human beings still crave interpersonal connection and a place to call home. The communities we build give us just that. The hitch is, we have to build those communities. It’s a do it ourselves sort of project.
Everything we need to enhance our communities costs money, but some things just don’t generate enough of it. From my perspective, it’s The Arts. Imagine a community without The Arts; without paintings, sculpture, photography, literature, ceramics, theatre, dance, film, symphonies, chamber music, opera. And that’s hardly an exhaustive list. Everywhere we go, we see Art. We surround ourselves with things of beauty…things that are thought-provoking…to inspire us, cause us to pause and take stock…and help us keep a positive perspective in a world that is increasingly challenging. Most of us take the presence of Art for granted.
The least tangible of all the Art forms is Music. When I speak of music here, I’m talking about serious Art Music, in contrast to popular styles of music. Without going into a long explanation of the difference between these, and why it’s important to understand those, let’s just say that Paul and I believe that this sort of music, classical music, has the singular, most powerful potential to enrich and transform lives. Yet, in contrast to all of the other arts, classical music, especially chamber music, is reaching far fewer people these days than the other art forms.
Without discussing the reasons this is so, because that’s a subject for another blog, let’s just agree that this needs to change. Paul and I are passionate about contributing to that change, both at home in Porter County, Indiana and beyond. Duo Sequenza’s appeal to uninitiated classical listeners has much to do with our instrumentation, flute and classical guitar. Really, what’s not to like? Our in-concert commentary about the works we perform engages new listeners with the “whys” and “hows” of these compositions, leaving the stuff of traditional program notes to our Pinterest boards. Moreso, the repertoire we program is just not at all what most people anticipate. Audiences love our choices!
Perhaps coming back to concertizing as a duo after so many years away from this endeavor has made us both more committed and more passionate about our cause. We certainly each had plenty of time to search our hearts and look over our musical pasts to discover what it was about Duo Sequenza that was so unique and compelling that we simply could not resist giving it another go.
That said, our start-up costs have been significant, and our revenues have not yet been able to off-set these. We have several very exciting projects at various stages of implementation and planning, but we must ask for your financial support. Even a modest donation of $5, especially if contributed on a regular, on-going basis, can make a big difference in our bottom line. On-line, tax-deductible donations are easy, as well as secure, and just a simple click away.
Here’re just a few examples of what’s upcoming for Duo Sequenza, and suggestions for how you might help. Already on the program for our May National Chamber Music Month “American Made” concert at the Memorial Opera House in Valparaiso, Indiana, is the World Premiere of a beautifully haunting arrangement by Philadelphia composer Andrea Clearfield. Presented in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day on May 4, 2016, Farlorn Alemen (Losing Everyone) will feature the poignant voice of the alto flute. We are in need of funding to bring Ms. Clearfield to Valparaiso for this important premiere.
Several of the contemporary American compositions we feature in our repertoire are still in manuscript, and have never been recorded. In order to preserve these pieces for future generations, and make them more accessible for live performances today, we need financial backing. We’ll be launching a crowd-funding campaign toward this end in the not-too-distant future, but you can help us get a head start by contributing now. The less we have to promote and fund raise, the more time we have for the actual making of music…however many hours of practice and rehearsal you might think go into a performance, you’re likely underestimating.
We have raw audio-video footage from three cameras of our live performances that needs to be edited, produced, and uploaded to our YouTube channel for viewing by potential presenters. This is an urgent advertising need, as concert seasons book 12-18 months in advance. Should you choose to help with this project, your name will be listed as a Producer on these videos.
Finally, we’ve already been honored with a new piece by New York flutist-
composer Gary Schocker, written for the 200th anniversary of my magnificent Claude Laurent crystal flute built in 1816. This composition is due to premiere in 2016 at a venue yet to be announced. Composed specifically for the dulcet sound of this particular rare flute and modern classical guitar, Crystal Healing promises a transformative listening experience. We are looking for multiple venues for performances of this work, particularly those with a historical context. Contributions toward this end will be acknowledged specifically in the context of this important project.
If you’re reading this after “Giving Tuesday,” please give anyway! Although we have yet to define our “Giving Levels,” because everything takes time and we’re only two people, you will be lavishly and prominently acknowledged in our printed and virtual literature. Duo Sequenza produces “Chamber Music to Move Your Mind & Nourish Your Soul!” What could be more important than that?