I went to the concert of an oboe-playing friend Sunday. The 3 p.m. event coincided with the anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that took place a year ago in Japan. My friend, of Japanese heritage, was moved by the music he was playing, and so was I. The modern pieces really sounded like an earthquake to me. I had visions of Poseidon, the Bull from the Sea, rising up in anger against humankind, and later of hope dawning.
The Charles River Wind Ensemble, where my friend plays, has a new conductor. I liked Matthew Marsit’s energetic style and his explanations of the pieces. Marsit, a clarinetist himself, is also a conductor at Dartmouth College, where he practices his belief in music outreach to lower-income communities.
“An advocate for the use of music as a vehicle for service, Matthew has led ensembles on service missions in Costa Rica and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, collecting instruments for donation to schools, performing charity benefit concerts and offering workshops to benefit arts programs in struggling schools. His current work at Dartmouth allows for outreach projects in the rural schools of New Hampshire and Vermont, working to stimulate interest in school performing arts programs.” Read more.
I think musicians can be very giving people. Indian Hill Music in Littleton, Massachusetts, offers scholarships and more. Someone I know on the board tells me that Indian Hill has “a program to bring music instruction to schools in the region that have cut out music due to budgetary constraints. They also offer free concerts, a Threshold choir (music for dying patients), and a number of other outreach efforts.”
In Providence, Rhode Island, Community MusicWorks demonstrates how music builds community and teaches social responsibility. You can read about this and other innovations in Rhode Island’s creative economy here.