The most common remark heard from students participating in the Fellows and Outreach programs is “It’s changed my life for the better.” This change may happen over the course of a few years, a semester, or even a single day. On April 5th, 2016 the change was quick as the Provos Winds performed four community concerts in one day.
Within 12 hours, the members of the ensemble experienced an array of people from all walks of life, ranging in age from 5-101 years old.
“I feel like I’m serving more of a purpose than just performing.”
As the 2015-2016 school year drew to a close, the members of the Provos Wind Quintet sat down with Thornton Community Engagement Program Director Kathleen Janert to talk about the impact of this day and their year in the Gluck and Outreach Programs:
Kathleen: You had one particularly busy day awhile back, I think four performances in one day: two at a school, one at a children’s hospital, and then at a care facility for people nearing the end of their life. How was this for you?
Vinnie: It was emotionally very taxing, especially the last one. You could tell they loved having us there. Their eyes just lit up.
Amber: It was very sentimental for a lot of people. One man told us afterwards that his father was the principal flutist in the Philadelphia Orchestra and the performance was a really special connection to his dad. Another woman at that performance didn’t want to listen and she almost left. When she came back though, she danced to all the pieces and even knew some of the music. At the school performances some kids wanted to take pictures with us afterwards and we could tell that they really looked up to us. Some would tell us that they play music too, and we could really engage with them on that aspect.
Emma: When you go to these places, you can tell they rarely get to experience music like we do when we are in school. We get to bring these concerts to them, which is really exciting for our audiences.
Zack: For us, changing the environment in which we experience music changes the way we view it.
Amber: Yeah, in a concert hall you have to be perfect but for Outreach you get to be enjoyable and have a good time and transfer these feelings to the audience.
Vinnie: Bringing the concert to someone is a different experience. They live there and we’re going to them — it’s like we’re treating them with a gift. It’s more personal since we’re playing for people out in the real world.
Kathleen: How do you prepare for each performance when you’re traveling between them?
Vinnie: It’s so stressful [everyone laughs]. We want to be professional and give the best show we can possibly give but logistics are the most difficult.
Amber: In planning for the children’s hospital, we were unsure about the spacing in the room.
Zack: Yeah, our performance for kids has some running around so it was funny trying to chase Sean around this small little room and pretending to not see him when he was only standing about five feet away.
Vinnie: In terms of preparing, it’s hard to do it before you get there. You have to make last-minute adjustments and sometimes your personality has to completely change to fit the room.
Kathleen: Have these experiences altered how you see yourself as a musician?
Vinnie: I understand my duty more now and have a better sense of self-worth. People look up to us and I’m proud of what I do because of these performances. From my experience, performing is fulfilling but when you have a personal connection with the audience, like these Gluck performances have, it’s an even better experience. I love playing, but when I get out in the community I feel like I’m serving more of a purpose than just performing for the sake of performing. [In a traditional recital] you can prepare for what the audience is going to give you. But going to an Outreach performance, they determine what the energy is going to be. That’s the exciting part. I always get some good butterflies—I just hope they like us.
Although our program facilitates these performance opportunities, they would be meaningless if not for our supportive audiences. If you’d like to support our performers, you can catch both of our 2016-2017 ensembles at KUSC Kids Discovery Day on April 9th. The event runs from 10:00 AM- 3:00 PM at the National History Museum. Woodstock will perform at 12:00 PM and Shasta will perform at 2:00 PM. If you can’t make it on that day, feel free to call our office at (213) 740- 5600 for a list of additional performances.
To get involved with the Thornton Community Engagement Programs, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.