Thursday, March 24, 2011

Orchestras Feeding America: Harrisburg, March 2011

This weekend's concerts with the Harrisburg Symphony are part of the League of American Orchestra's national drive, "Orchestras Feeding America."

Please consider bringing non-perishable food items to the Forum for Saturday night's or Sunday afternoon's concert.

Donate to the cause: help support the Harrisburg Symphony supporting this national food drive.

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Had you read the book or seen the film, "The Soloist"? Then you know what inspired this drive.

There are probably few free-lance musicians I've known - myself included - who haven't at one time or another had nightmares about something like this: I'm sure the Forum stage is filled with talented musicians who feel very close to this, whether they make their living full-time as a free-lancer or hold down a day job that supports their choice to make music for you.

Dreams don't quite come true, despite the training, the talent; the gigs don't pay enough the make a living, pay the rent, put food on the table; governments cutting support for the arts don't take into account the human toll for those people who are the artists in our community, bringing a very important contribution to the table that helps identify who we are as a society, help make our lives more fulfilling.

And in today's economy, how many people do you know - from your friends, neighbors, those schoolmates you wonder "where are they now," perhaps even yourself - who have not had these same fears or concerns, no matter what their profession?

Think about this:

In 2008, 49.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 32.4 million adults and 16.7 million children.

In 2008, 17.1 million households were food insecure, increased from the 13 million households in 2007.

In 2008, households with children reported food insecurity at almost double the rate for those without children, 21 percent compared to 11.3 percent.

In 2008, 2.3 million households with seniors were food insecure.

Feeding America provides emergency food assistance to approximately 4.5 million different people in any given week.

Please consider bringing non-perishable food items with you to the Forum for Saturday night's concert at 8pm or Sunday afternoon's concert at 3pm.

And then listen to music Bach composed for the good citizens of Leipzig, hanging out in Zimmermann's Coffee Shop listening to him conduct his 3rd Orchestral Suite (especially its famous 'Air') with the Collegium Musicum, the town's closest thing to an orchestra in a public concert hall - yes, even before it was fashionable to play in 'alternative venues' and before there was Starbucks, Bach was playing in coffee shops!

And music of Beethoven who once was arrested as a vagrant by the Viennese police because of the way he was dressed, a man we normally think of as a Titan Among Men, writing this sublime music but who, during the years he was writing his 8th Symphony, was having trouble making ends meet because the aristocratic patrons who were supporting him financially were unable to make their contributions due to the failure in the economy after the French army took over Vienna.

You can find out more about the concert - which includes the orchestra's principal violist, Julius Wirth, playing a viola concerto by the Czech composer, Zdenek Lukas - by listening to the podcast of the recent conversation Stuart Malina and I had.

Read more about Beethoven and his 8th Symphony in these posts:
Getting Behind the Music
Life Behind the Music
That Old Odd/Even Conundrum: Listening to Beethoven's Symphonies

- Dick Strawser

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