Friday, February 01, 2008

Mega-Friday...three sold out houses in a single day

Not everyone knows that Spivey Hall draws as many people (sometimes more!) to Young People's Concerts for children in grades K through 12 from public, private and homeschools in more than 12 counties as it does to its Spivey Series concert presentations. Today the Jose White String Quartet (hailing from Mexico) plays to two entirely sold-out houses (ca. 800 listeners) between the hours of 9:45 AM and 12:00 PM.

I was grateful to the sea of kids waiting in the lobby before the second concert who kindly let me through to get into my office...! We've just had the "changing of the guard" -- with dozens of school busses dropping off the 11:15 AM audience and picking up the 9:45 AM audience -- which can be quite a commotion!

But a truly happy one, since the students (which today are from grades 6 through 12) seem really excited to be here. For many of them, hearing a Spivey Hall Young People's Concert is their first introduction to fine music in a concert-hall setting. Because of Spivey Hall's renowned acoustics and intimate size, it's a fantastic place for such an introduction, because the students (like the adults) can feel truly connected to what's happening on stage. What better way to discover chamber music? Tickets for these concerts are only $1 each; we also have senior citizens who like to attend, and admission is free to Clayton State University students.

Working in close consultation with the Spivey Hall Education Committee chaired by Jay Wucher, Spivey Hall Education Manager Amber Dimkoff leads the booking, promotion, ticketing and front-of-house operations for Young People's Concerts, with the help of Education Assistant Bonita Clark, our wonderful volunteer ushers, and our backstage crew headed by Production Manager Lorenzo Callahan. Hats off and our sincere thanks to them all; with the YPC artists, they make great music happen -- music that enhances the learning and lives of young people from throughout metro Atlanta.

Tomorrow night (Saturday, February 2nd), the Jose White String Quartet teams up with CSU faculty pianist Michiko Otaki for the Brahms F-minor Piano Quintet, plus two great works for string quartet by Mozart and Schulhoff. We're grateful to the Jose White Quartet for their commitment to music education and for collaborating with us in this way. The Quartet has won numerous international awards and garnered warm praise from the Cleveland Plain Dealer. For more information and online tickets, visit or call the box office, (678) 466-4200.

Spivey Hall's partners in welcoming the Quartet to Atlanta are the Mexican Consulate General and the Instituto de Mexico, and they join The Friends of Spivey Hall in hosting a post-concert reception in honor of the artists, with the entire audience cordially invited to attend. Dr. Otaki joins her CSU Dept. of Music colleague Dr. Kurt-Alexander Zeller for a pre-concert talk at 7:15 PM, in which Dr. Otaki will give musical illustrations into the glories of the Brahms Quintet from the pianist's point of view.

This evening, Ladysmith Black Mambazo makes its Spivey Hall debut. These phenomenal cultural emissaries from South Africa have a strong following in Atlanta, and have also sold out Spivey Hall (even after adding pit seats, we have a wait list of more than 30 names). CNN is scheduled to do a feature on them today at Spivey Hall. We're delighted to welcome them for one the most highly-anticipated world-music events ever here. Their bus has already pulled up to the loading dock...and we look forward to a tremendously high-energy communion of artists and audience tonight.

And Sunday afternoon (February 3 at 3 PM) brings the Atlanta debut of the superb German soprano, Christine Schaefer, lately of the Metropolitan Opera and the Lincoln Center's Rose Theatre, who's singing a beautiful program of songs by Henry Purcell, Charles Ives, and a second half of Lieder by Richard Strauss. Her pianist is the renowned Martin Katz, no stranger to Spivey Hall, who played exquisitely in recital with David Daniels last weekend. We may expect our ears to be be amply rewarded! Good seats are still available for this performance, which includes an informative pre-concert talk by Dr. Zeller at 2 PM.

Okay...I'm going to go catch the end of the Jose White String Quartet's second YPC. No matter how many concerts I attend, it always inspires me see how great music continues to speak to people of all ages. In addition to the exuberant applause, you can see it on the kids' faces. It's amazing.


Anonymous Amber Dimkoff said...

This morning's YPCs were truly important experiences for the students and are an ever-present part of Spivey Hall's programming. Just this week teachers and students attended six sold-out YPCs held over three days. As programs continue to fill, it appears that more students will attend a YPC at Spivey Hall this year than any other year since 1999 (before the testing mandates of No Child Left Behind). I am so grateful to the teachers who entrust their students to us on "field trip mornings" and look forward to publicly thanking them next Friday, Feb. 8 at our Teacher Appreciation Night at the Imani Winds' concert.

12:56 PM  

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