Sunday in the Bar with Johann and the Preschoolers

One of [le] poisson rouge‘s motto’s may be “serving art and alcohol,” but when Orli Shaham and company take the space over on Sunday, it’s only musical art being served, so bring your own . . . whatever.  Not exotic cocktails but zippered plastic bags of Cheerios, fruit, and other treats will be in plentiful supply at the bring-your-own-snacks event. With the bar closed, might a thermos bottle of something stronger find itself lodged in amongst the juice boxes in the diaper bags?  Don’t ask, don’t tell.

No matter what you’re (not) drinking, Baby Got Bach returns to lpr this Sunday morning at 11:00 AM.  The wonderful carnival of musical exploration in the Gallery Bar space will once again precede an interactive concert in the main performance area. Orli, mother of pre-school twins, knows her audience–kids, parents, and grandparents alike–and puts on a fun, engaging event with top-level music.

I had a great time at BGB last April, even without kids in tow.  (Hey, I just remembered who I know who has kids in the city–I’m going to email them. If I had kids (and we were in New York), I’d definitely be taking them this weekend to hear Orli and a woodwind quintet play music by Bach, Berio, Schumann, Ligeti and others. My youngest child is no longer a child (a college junior), and my oldest is teaching English to first and second graders in China. Were I in New York, I might show up anyway, just to hear that combination of musical voices, and take delight in the delight of the kids.

My friend Greg Sandow has written a series of posts (here, here, here, and here) criticizing aspects of the outreach/education imperative in institutional classical music.  I’m just starting to wade through the discussion.  One thing that’s clear to me, though,is that it’s OK to play music you love for as many types of audiences as possible.  

And that’s one of the things I loved about Baby Got Bach when I attended an event last spring.  It didn’t feel like some contrived let’s-do-an-education-project-to-get-a-grant thing.  It’s a mom, who’s a fabulous musician, putting together concerts for kids, hers other people’s, and their parents. A terrific family event. In, of all places, a trendy Village venue.

Where, usually, “alcohol is our patron.”

But not for Baby Got Bach. Art isn’t free, and they aren’t selling drinks.

So if you’re in New York, take your kid or grandchild or niece or nephew, buy tickets (they aren’t expensive) have a great time, and think about making a donation.  Because this is worth it, not so someone might one grow up and one day subscribe to the symphony (although they might, or help reinvent the symphony); because it’s just a great way to share music, and kids deserve that as much as anyone.

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1 Comment

Filed under Baby Got Bach, Le Poisson Rouge, Orli Shaham

One response to “Sunday in the Bar with Johann and the Preschoolers

  1. That sounds absolutely fantastic!

    Sometimes I feel like Greg is far too much of an apologist for Classical Music and that seems to really give him rose tinted glasses with respects to how the pop industry works. One of the most annoying things about the pop field at the local level that I’ve found was precisely how little most of the musicians seem to care about children as audience.

    That, in conjunction with how incredibly sexist band musicians can be which creates a very unappealing environment for women and a few other issues of explicit exclusion just turns me off on the idea of a pop music aesthetic being any useful driving force for creativity in music.

    I just played a Kirtan show backing up Suzanne Sterling and as was expected, more than 75% of the audience was women–ranging from the late teens to maybe 50s or 60s. Evenly distributed, too (or maybe more like a bell curve distribution). You’ve seen my bellydance crowd so already know most of those fans are women–and at actual bellydance events, there are inevitably a significant percentage of children at the events. And usually those are children of dancers–so mom’s are bringing their kids to their events to see them dance and inevitably hear one of my bands play. It’s kind of strange having know some of these kids since they were practically in kindergarten (or even younger) and still seeing them in our audiences as highschoolers.

    I think the old models of pop music and that audience is dying out as much it is for Classical Music. It just happens to be the case that the pop music field has a bigger audience population as a starting point!

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