A few years ago, I visited England and found out that (some) churches provided free lunch concerts. For some kind of reason, I now have the impression that lunch is great time to go to church. Why go on Sundays? That’s so out of style.
All joking aside: I discovered that a church uptown had free (Summer) lunch concerts too and have been attending them as much as I could. Last week, for example, a trio of (classical trained) musicians filled the Church of St. Stephen and St. Andrew with baroque compositions: not my kind of music, but impressive and enjoyable. Today, I returned back to work with slightly mixed feelings: the Kidd family (3 daughters, father and wife) sang and played a mix of modern and semi-classical pieces. To throw it right out, the quintet was capable but needs better (musical) arrangement: At times, it felt like the violin was fighting with the piano for the crowd’s attention. I find that this happens when musicians love the music they play so much that they end up trying to ‘out volume’ the other musicians. There was a (self-composed) musical piece that (how can I say this nicely) more or less ended up sounding like a cacophony. Unintentionally (I’ve heard my share of intentional musical chaos). Sometimes subtlety is key and I missed this at crucial moments: I dare to say that the piano player should have toned down, since the violin player appeared to be the most talented musician of the family.
On the good side, (as I mentioned above) the violin player (Rachel) impressed and played some remarkable counterpoint (particularly on self-composed pieces ‘Barney’s Hill’ and ‘Celtic Hora’). The piano player (Richard) showed an affinity for rag, Scott Joplin-style. The Mrs. (Janet) sounded like she was classically trained (mezzo) and for a moment I was (silently) hoping to hear a German cabaret song being belched out. The other two family members didn’t really get too much time to present themselves and more or less served the two major musical instruments, the violin and piano.
I think the Summer lunch series are sponsored by the Saint John Community Arts Funding Program: Looking at the sizable crowd that attended today’s concert, it looks like there’s a general interest in local music.