Monday, June 16, 2008

Another musical discovery

I honestly don't understand how anybody who lives here can ever be bored unless they're really going out of their way to make an effort. There is always something going on and whenever you think you've done everything there is to do, you'll come across something new.
For example, this past Saturday night I found myself in an art gallery in downtown St. Pete listening to chamber music. Believe it or not, that's actually not how I spend every Saturday night. Studio@620 was hosting a performance of chamber music by the FloriMezzo Music Festival. It was very casual (nobody was wearing a tux) and entertaining. The musicians experimented with the music and bantered with the audience, explaining things and soliciting feedback. The gallery staff was very friendly and accommodating. Not at all the stuffy, intimidating atmosphere that your average ham-and-egger (like me) might expect. In fact, the exhibit on display "Purses and Passions" featured photos of some of the beloved Tampa Bay Derby Darlins! It was there (Studio@620, not the roller derby) I had the opportunity to speak with Eryn Bauer. She is from Tampa (a 2006 graduate of Chamberlain High School) and is currently a Bassoon Performance Major at the Eastman School of Music in New York. She has soloed with the Tampa Bay Symphony. and is a member of the "Arabesque Winds" woodwind quintet, who recently won the International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition which was held in Carnegie Hall. That means she's talented and stuff. I asked her a few questions:

What the hell is a bassoon?
A bassoon is a double reed woodwind instrument. It is known for having many thumb keys, nine for the left thumb, and five for the right one, and having a humorous and mellow tone.
Ha ha! That is humorous! Why do you play one? You don't have that many thumbs.
When I started playing in middle school nobody else played bassoon and I liked being the only one on my instrument. My mom had always told me that the bassoon is a good instrument to play, and once I started playing it I really liked the sound of it, so I stuck to it!
It's always a good idea to listen to your mother (Hi mom!). But what about chamber music should appeal to jamokes like me? I don't even own a tuxedo.
Everything in chamber music should appeal to the average person. Chamber music is different from an orchestra in that there aren't as many musicians, so there is no conductor. That means that it is the ensembles job to make the musical decisions, decide the tempos, and lead the cues.
No authority figure in the front telling everybody what to do? I like that (Hi mom)! What's FloriMezzo all about and what's so special about it?
FloriMezzo is unique because it allows musicians of many different levels to play together and learn from each other. When you attend a FloriMezzo concert you will be hearing professionals, students, teachers, and community musicians all playing side-by-side.
Can I be in your group? I can play woodblock and triangle and tambourine and cymbals.
So you're a percussionist?
I don't know what how I celebrate holidays has to do with anything.
Well, there might be a place for you with FloriMezzo but the instruments in a woodwind quintet are the flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and horn.
What kind of horn?
A French horn. The French horn is commonly referred to simply as a horn.
That must be strictly a music thing. If you go into a restaurant and just order toast, all you're going to get is hot, crumbly bread. Count your lucky stars, Eryn Bauer!
It would work with fries though.
Ok then! Thanks. I have to go now. I hope to see you at another performance some time.

Upcoming FloriMezzo concert performances:
  • Thursday, June 19th Festival Chamber Concert 7:30pm - First Presbyterian Church, 701 Beach Drive N.E., St. Petersburg, 33701.
  • Sunday, June 22nd Festival Finale Chamber Concert & Reception 2:00pm Palladium Theater 253 5th Avenue N., St. Petersburg, 33701.

Tickets are $10, $12 and $15 and are available at the door before each performance.


Wildhair said...

I want to move to the Tampa/St. Pete wherever you are area. We have nada! zilch! zero! to do up in these parts. Chicago is too far of a drive and traffic is just... infuriating.
Of course, I'd have to have a better paying job because with things-a-plenty to do isn't always free.

Eggs: if you order 'eggs' they ask 20 questions. Even the most astute server won't know what style you desire.

citizen jane said...

Fabulous article -- and great "pimpin'" of not only a wonderful group but of the arts/music community in my fair city.

I'm especially partial to the Palladium -- have a long personal relationship with it and just adore its whole vibe.