On Sunday, February 25, there was a field trip to
see the Boston Philharmonic up in Boston at Sanders Theaterat Harvard University. It was a wonderful
experience going to see them play. The trip was also a lot of fun! We ate
Subway on the way and nuts on the way back! Thanks to Community MusicWorks. We
also learned about the music that was going to be performed, thanks to Jesse
Holstein. The soloist, Stefan Jackiw, was a wonderful violinist. It was a nice
sight seeing him play and giving all of himself to the music. His way of
playing was just... astounding. He must practice a lot! It was nice to see
how the orchestra worked as one, and each contributed to make the music be
projected as best as possible. They make the playing seem so effortless, but
maybe that is because they have practiced a lot.
Later on, we met with the conductor
and took pictures with him. It was definitely one of the best trips I have
attended. I loved it... -Sidney
M. Argueta, CMW student
1. 30 CMW students and their families made the trip in the Blue Bus up to Sanders Theatre in Cambridge for a performance by the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and old friend/mentor Benjamin Zander. 2. (Two thirds of) The Ladies of CMW performed John Cage's String Quartet in Four Parts on Sunday evening at Firehouse 13, a new and exciting venue for music and art in the West End. 3. Congratulations to proud parents, as of of 5:13 pm and 5:14 pm on Friday evening!
You'll have to match up the photo with the event... I've got dinner plans!
Just how does one locate the Providence String Quartet online?
"I did a search for string quartets on Google, got way too many, andadded teaching to the criteria and then looked at lots of webpages. Iwas looking particularly for community outreach and your program jumpedout at me. Since we can't afford to pay big bucks, we are looking forpeople who are interested in sharing their music and aren't necessarilyhaving to make their living with money from gigs. A spirit of adventureis always a good thing to have around here also so I was looking forfolks who seemed to take a creative approach to music making." -Laura N.
Dobbs stood a little shorter than his luscious dark brown
double bass (or bass violin, string bass, contra bass as he told us it may be
called). He introduced us to his friend Luigi Cavalli, born in 1863 in Italy,
moved to Argentina in 1900, and to New Hampshire to live with him in l980. “A
double bass” he said, “is the biggest, most beautiful member of the string
family,” thereby provoking some reactions from the violin, viola, and cello
playing members of the audience.
Dobbs himself first learned to play the piano,
which he loved, but he really fell in love with the double bass when he was
around 12, and he has played it ever since. Since Dobbs has a shock of
white/grey hair, a somewhat craggy face, and a full beard, you know he is no
longer a kid. You could also tell what a deeply musical person he is when he
played the C major Bach cello suite, which requires feats from his hands
–stretches and leaps – to create three and four note chords, make the long
phrases come to life, and build the increasing momentum of the Prelude that
opens the suite.
After the Bach, Dobbs told a story, a spoken
narrative with musical background. (I later discovered that this form, which
was used in the late 18th and 19th centuries was called a
melodrama, but not to be confused with the same word meaning “a highly
sensational spoken play” which is now the meaning of the word.)
Dobbs’ story was accompanied by nine Phase II
students, who had learned their parts in a short rehearsal preceding the workshop,
and who followed the minimal guidance that Dobbs gave them (while he was
narrating the story of Billy and Brenda) with impressive facility and
The tale focused on the loves of Billy (a birch
tree) and Brenda (a beaver) for whom “Love was Hard” – the anguished wail of a
periodic refrain. Dobbs detailed the responses of each lover’s parents to the
proposed match, like “But Billy, beavers EAT trees!”
Perhaps the best part of the story was being
offered several different possible endings, leaving it up to each of us how the
story of Brenda and Billy might be resolved. One was predictably that “Love can
conquer all.” You can imagine some others!
Since Dobbs had recently spent time in Ramallah and
Afghanistan, he showed us pictures of the places he had gone to play Bach and
find accompanists for his narratives. One was a conference of 60 musicians
(from other countries as well as 30 from Afghanistan), another an orphanage, a
third the High School of Performing Arts in Kabul, which had been closed for 35
years under the Taliban, who forbade playing music. We discovered that when
Dobbs had told CMW about how desperately the School needed instruments, CMW had
sent six violins to the school. That gave us an extra special connection with
the faces we saw in the pictures he shared with us from his PowerPoint
This year is CMW’s 10th anniversary.
Dobbs was the first workshop guest at CMW in its very first year of existence.
There were a few youth and audience members who remembered his first visit, and
did everyone rave about this latest visit!