A conversation with Solenne Païdassi
I’m still coming down from the summer– Schoenberg, Shostakovich, “The Jury,” everything and everyone who turned up
There’s a book that I can’t seem to part with called “How Things Work.” There are all kinds of information in it that, maybe, someday, will help me. What is NOT in this book is “how to put together a summer music festival.” These past years on the board have been an education for me on all that’s involved in doing just that.
Since its inception, NCMF has been brought to life by volunteers, starting with the moment Jane Niebling said “yes” to David Yang, to create what was then a week-long festival with only three artists. Now, over two decades later, it is a 13-day festival with 14 events of various kinds. The all-volunteer board and a handful of individuals tend to all the tasks, from finding venues, hanging banners and more. The time has come for more volunteers to help. Perhaps you?
There are large actions such as hosting a musician for the duration of the festival or hosting a Hausmusik at your home. There are smaller but no less important actions such as handing out concert programs and setting up chairs for open rehearsals. If you are willing to do one or more of the tasks written below, this year or in the future, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My husband, Bill, and I hosted cellist Clancy Newman. We are delighted he is returning this summer. He has brought so much to our lives beyond his beautiful playing. Earlier this spring, we went to hear him play with the Boston Chamber Music Society and I heard a few pieces that surprised me. One by Ernst Dohnányi captivated me with its rich emotion and unusual instrumentation. Learning about Boston Chamber Music Society and hearing this piece is just one of the many benefits of hosting Clancy.
One of the most satisfying aspects of volunteering with NCMF has been the people who bring an incredible work ethic and great humor to everything we do. We have been talking recently about the healing power of music in the face of the violence and divisiveness in our world today.
Remember when David ingeniously conceived the idea for “Quartet Caroling” around Newburyport? At one block on Federal Street, the musicians started playing. People appeared, keeping a distance and smiling and sighing. One woman came out of a house close to where I stood. She looked at me, tears streaming down her face, and said, “I didn’t realize how much I needed live music.”
Some inexplicable shift occurs when we hear live music. The individual bubbles we all live in pop and for the length of a concert we share the emotionally uplifting experience of music that expresses something words can fail to do.
The NCMF board voted earlier this year on some initiatives to expand accessibility to all our concerts. With support from the Institution for Savings Charitable Foundation, NCMF will offer a pay-what-you-can ticket option for the Finale concert that includes the world premiere of our commissioned piece, inspired by a poem by Rhina P. Espaillat. We hope that translates into people coming who may have never attended in the past. Perhaps you want to bring friends or family but found it cost prohibitive. This year we hope for this one concert you will come, bring others and join the NCMF community in the soothing and uplifting experience of live chamber music.
Please let me know if you can help with this year’s festival or want to be on the volunteer roster for the future.
Beth Dyer Clary, President - NCMF Board of Directors