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  • Writer's pictureAlaina Chester

Pittsburgh International Airport (PA)


With the support of The Greater Pittsburgh Art Council, Ears Engaged performed our 2 hour long "Around the World" show at the Pittsburgh International Airport. While travelers were waiting for a flight, they were invited to stop and listen to various instrument combinations playing traditional folk tunes, choir melodies, piano pieces, or standard woodwind repertoire. Next to our stage area we set up a large world map with velcro on each of the countries featured. We moved a velcro airplane to the country that coincided with the origins of the music we were currently playing.

Theresa Abalos, flute

CJ Corbett, clarinet

Casey Stamm, bassoon

This was the first time in a very long time, and maybe even ever, that I felt like I just showed up and was able to be a true performer for my community. Like I had something to say to the audience and I fully trusted myself to take musical risks to do so. It wasn’t about me or my insecurities on stage for once.

Some people might be thinking, but you just played in a small airport, that’s not a big deal.

To me the most exhilarating and rewarding performances are the ones where your audience was not expecting to hear live classical music but you try to convince them to stop and listen anyway. Those that connect with your music stop or make eye contact, and I’m able to speak to their soul. That’s the kind of impact we can have as artists.

It’s never going to be perfect, but I felt like I was in a mental space to do some of my best, freest playing. And because of that, I was able to fulfill the responsibility I have as a musician to be an emotional escape for my community.

Many people took videos or pictures so they could remember the moment, then sincerely told us that we made their day. Maybe they’ve been inspired to go to an orchestra concert for the first time.

We all arranged many piece for this show. I created wind quartet arrangements for Sousa's Liberty Bell March and a piece from Egypt called Tomb of the Ancients. Find them both on my website's Arrangements page below!


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