Playing the oboe at an open mic night had been one of my 'dreams' for over a year before this concert. Usually the atmosphere is really casual and welcoming. I thought about how beneficial that could be for both me as a musician and for the accessibility of classical music in general. I've always done my best playing while adding to the atmosphere around me instead of in a quiet hall where everyone is hyper-focused on what I'm doing. I'm also a big believer in putting classical music in everyday settings as a way to bring the culture back down to Earth and back into the hearts of everyday people.
While I was living in Pittsburgh our entire Ears Engaged team made it out to play an open mic night in Hunker, PA at Bella Terra Vineyard. We were not sure how the audience would react to a woodwind quartet playing in a space usually occupied by acoustic guitars and vocalists. Luckily the crowd really enjoyed the shift from the vineyard's usual performances! We received some really heartwarming comments as well as fun hoots and hollers from the tipsy group in back!
The general consensus after playing was excitement to go back and play as many open mic nights throughout Pittsburgh as we could! (Unfortunately the pandemic began shortly after this...) We all agreed more classical musicians should try putting themselves and their music in this setting! There is already a stage set up and the audience is already expecting to unwind with live music for the evening. It's a great stepping off point to get yourself out into your community and less formal than the usual (but still awesome) retirement home performance.
Theresa Abalos, flute
CJ Corbett, clarinet
Casey Stamm, bassoon
I arranged ABBA's "Mamma Mia!" for this performance. Download it and other
arrangements at the link below!