As a composer, one of the steps in the creative process that I often find mentally difficult to grapple with ...
This week, Lisa and I attended a performance by the Ladom Ensemble, a wonderful Canadian chamber group that performs new music along with unique arrangements of old music, all within the brilliant confines of their diverse blend of instrumentation and varied musical inspirations. I had seen Ladom’s videos online but had never seen them live. What an engaging presentation. They really provide a template of how art/classical music should be presented in the 21st century. Music that enlightens and broadens the perspective of the listener, with an added plus of being entertaining.
Near the end of the performance, Ladom’s accordionist, Michael Bridge, told a story of the group’s recent trip to Northern Quebec to present a concert at a school. At the end of the performance, a 12-year old boy in the audience came up to Michael and told him how that performance was the first time he’d ever seen a live performance of music. When Michael told our Toronto audience the story, there was a collective subtle gasp in the hall. Michael described it as a “crime against humanity”.
I’ve used previous blog posts to question whether or not live music is relevant anymore and whether I should make an effort to perform my own music in live settings.
Well, after attending Ladom’s performance and hearing Michael’s story, I have to say that it is unequivocally 100% essential that live music continues to be part of our cultural fabric. The masses might have their fingers, eyes and earbuds constantly glued to smartphones, but there’s still something emotionally relevant to sit in a room and experience a live performance. It’s essential not just to the audience, but to the performer as well. I think back to the countless performances I’ve given over the years and remember in great detail the positive vibe I felt during and after each performance. There’s an energetic field within all of our bodies that we share in the room that Virtual Reality can’t replicate.
So I call on my fellow citizens to get out there and give yourself these wondrous feelings. And to my performance colleagues, keep putting yourself out there…don’t give up! It’s a win-win for everyone.