in the UK for fourteen years and co-managing the concert series from abroad, I am now a happily ‘repatriated’ resident of Ottawa. Being in the area means that I can dedicate more time and energy to the series that I have been able to previously. As a result, the 2020 season will see a number of new initiatives started up through the series, and more ambitious programming than any previous season. Some changes in 2020 include the following:
- The majority of our concerts will happen during daylight hours. This means that our audiences will be able to see the natural beauty surrounding us as they arrive at the farm, as well as making the drive less stressful (I know that our unpaved country road can be daunting to first time visitors, especially in the dark!).
- We have installed a new barn door to replace the black curtain behind the performance space, which vastly improves the visibility of the performing area for viewers.
We will be starting up two new initiatives: the Junior Artist Series, and the Visual Artist Spotlight.
- The Junior Artist Series is designed to offer a performance opportunity to students of Ottawa-based music teachers. At the start of each concert, a student will be offered a ten minute slot to perform for our audience. The students and their families will be given complimentary tickets to the concert afterwards, and the series has been organized so that the students always perform before a concert featuring their instrument: i.e. if the concert features a singer, the Junior Artist Series slot will be offered to a young singer. Young performers often only perform under ‘competitive’ conditions, or in concerts dedicated exclusively to student performance, so this will offer them a rare opportunity to perform in a relaxed setting for a different kind of audience.
- The Visual Artist Spotlight gives our audience a chance to experience some of the fantastic visual art being created in the Pontiac region and surrounding areas. I am incredibly grateful to Pamela Cockcroft-Lasserre, who has co-ordinated all of the artists for the Visual Artist Spotlight. At every concert, a few of the wall spaces around the Concert Studio will be adorned with work by an artist. Apart from the element of visual interest that this will add to every concert, this gives our audience a chance to really take in the artwork in front of them: according to various studies, the average amount of time people spend looking at single pieces of art in galleries is between 15 and 30 seconds ( here’s a great article about it!). Because of our concert environment, the audience will be in front of the artworks for far longer than that, and therefore provides the opportunity to visually revisit the pieces throughout the concert, and soak in every detail. For details on the Visual Artist Spotlight and the Junior Artist Series, see the Concerts page on our website. On each individual concert page, there is a short paragraph about each teacher and artist featured at that event.
I invite you to come and experience the unique blend of music, art, and nature that we have created here in the beautiful Pontiac region, and I look forward to seeing you at a concert in our 2020 season!
Carson Becke, co-director