A conversation with Solenne Païdassi
I’m still coming down from the summer– Schoenberg, Shostakovich, “The Jury,” everything and everyone who turned up
For 21 years, the Newburyport Chamber Music Festival has worked to fulfill its vision of community-based chamber music concerts and events with world-class artists in the greater Newburyport area. The all-volunteer board of directors plans for the annual two-week summer festival throughout the rest of the year. We all know that things did not go as planned or hoped and the second half of the 2022 festival had to be cancelled due to two of the artists contracting COVID.
In an emergency meeting, where board members were brought up-to-speed, we also made the decision to pay the artists (including the composer-in-residence, Jon Deak) because they had already worked so hard to prepare for the festival.
We then contacted vendors, venues and ticket holders to explain the situation.
One minute we were numb at the cancellation and anxious about the impact on our finances; the next we were joyfully stunned by this community’s kindness and generosity.
We speak of being “community-based” to grantors, donors, volunteers, vendors, and venues. NCMF has never felt more community-based and supported.
Going ahead, the board was able to plan for the Winter Baroque concert which was well-attended.
As we look back on 2022, there are steps forward we wanted to share with you.• A concerted effort was made to expand our volunteers to help with all aspects of the festival: “planting” lawn signs and welcoming audience members to open rehearsals; helping set up chairs and serving food and drink for events; and so much more. We also got new people offering their homes for NCMF’s Hausmusiks and special events. What previously was done by a few was done by many this past year. We look forward to that continuing in 2023.• The Communications and Marketing Committee launched NCMF into the 21st Century with its visibility in many more print media as well as social media.• The board voted to offer free tickets to students in hopes that live chamber music would be heard by younger generations. As a result, we had more students in the audience of the Winter Baroque concert than ever.• NCMF participated in the Card-to-Culture program, a collaboration between the Mass Cultural Council and the Department of Transitional Assistance, the Women, Infants & Children (WIC) Nutrition Program, and the Massachusetts Health Connector, by breaking down the financial barriers to cultural programming. As a result, people who would not have been able to afford tickets otherwise attended the Winter Baroque concert.
We start 2023 full of optimism and excitement. The Summer Festival, August 1 – 13, will include Jon Deak’s commissioned piece inspired by Rhina Espaillat’s poetry. We will celebrate our neighbor and esteemed poet this year! NCMF hopes to rehearse and perform in as many surrounding towns as possible. Most of all, we look forward to engaging with you, our community, in the process of creating and presenting chamber music in Newburyport’s unique architectural spaces.
With great appreciation and thanks,
The Newburyport Chamber Music Board of Directors
Beth Dyer Clary, President John Moreland, Treasurer
Susan Swan, Secretary Anne Verret-Speck
Gage Gogswell Sherry Rogers
Bronson de Stadler Pat Cannon