I really didn’t think evening concerts could get any better than they have been already this week, but last night’s concert with Uncommon Time, featuring Time for Three’s Nick Kendall and Ranaan Meyer, and friends, blew me away.
Last night’s ensemble included Nick Kendall on violin, Ranaan Meyer on double bass, Josh Fobare on keyboards, and Matt Scarano on drums.
I had never heard of Time for Three before Summer Symposium, but I am now a huge fan. Time for Three blends jazz, funk, pop, country western and gypsy music and often quickly moves from these unique genres to a calm, deliberate classical sound. Not only are Nick and Ranaan very kind, they are incredible musicians and were a great resource to our Orchestra track students.
Music for All was very lucky to be able to have Nick and Ranaan as Artists-in-Residence at Symposium. They both worked with the Orchestra track students throughout the week.
Earlier in the week, students participated in a fiddle master class with Kendall and Meyer that helped them prepare for the unique experience of performing on stage during the evening concert.
After being at camp for 9 days, I was having a particularly long and tiring day. I went over to Emens to greet directors as they came in to watch the concert. While listening to the students and watching them do the wave, I started to get re-energized and really excited for the rest of the night.
I didn’t read up on Time for Three, and I didn’t watch any videos. I had no idea what to expect. Working for Music for All, most people assume that I’m a musician. While I play a little bit of piano, and was in choir in high school and college, I don’t classify myself as a musician, but rather more of a recreational music maker. I understand basic concepts of music, but I’m sure most of the students here at Summer Symposium could teach me a thing or two! What I liked the most about last night’s performance was that it showcases strings in a whole new and innovative way. It’s accessible and relatable to anybody, even if you don’t have an orchestra background or love of classical music. The pure talent of the performers transcends genres.
Sitting up in the balcony, I had a great vantage point of all the students down on the main floor. They were really enjoying the concert - cheering at appropriate times and just attentively listening through a lot of it.
I was enjoying the concert, and really not wanting it to end, when Nick Kendall said they would be playing their last piece with a few special guests. This was the piece that I had been waiting for all night!
As Uncommon Time started to play the beginning notes of “Ogden,” written by Ranaan Meyer and Josh Fobare, pianist; orchestra students started filling the stage one by one. After everyone was in place, the magic began with students playing fluid, powerful lines over a steady, hip-hop backbeat. The students’ playing combined with Uncommon Time was so powerful. IT WAS INCREDIBLE!
There was something extra special about this performance that really touched me. I’m still not quite sure what it was, or how to even describe it. During my short time with Music for All, there have been just a few moments that literally have taken my breath away. The first was at my first Grand National Championships during the video montage right before finale. This was the second.
I was overwhelmed with how incredibly proud I was to be part of an organization that provides these life-changing experiences to students. I can’t fully understand what it must have felt like for those students, to play with Uncommon Time on that stage in front of all their camp peers and many others. You could tell that they were connecting with the music, and therefore connecting with their audience. They were putting into use all of the lessons on movement they had received from Richard Clark earlier in the week.
As they played their last note, and the lights on stage went to black, the crowd erupted in applause that moved directly to the “Standing O” that Symposium students are known for giving to performers. Even the “adults” on the balcony joined in on this standing ovation. It was truly a remarkable performance.
As I left Emens Auditorium with one of my coworkers, I was beaming. We both could not stop saying, “wow, that was incredible.” That moment makes everything worth it. That moment is why we, at Music for All, are dedicated to these students, this camp and anyone who touches any of our programs. It is the reason why we all do what we do. I know for a fact that lives were touched last night – lives of the students who performed on stage, and for some in the audience. I know mine was.
I sincerely hope that all of the students at Summer Symposium get to experience many more moments like that one. I know I’m definitely looking forward to Saturday when we will get to see ALL of the tracks showcase what they’ve been doing at camp all week!