New series of free outdoor classical music concerts will bring Agarita chamber ensemble to every San Antonio City Council district -

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Good news for anyone who desires live classical music: the Agarita Chamber Orchestra aims to bring it to the community near you.

The Secret Chamber Ensemble has launched a series of new concerts that will perform free outdoor performances in all 10 areas of San Antonio in the coming months. This is done by Humble Hall (donated by Humble House Foods) Trailer). The trailer is decorated with photos of musicians taken by photographer Natalia Sun, so that they have enough space to tow everything needed for the performance, including three-stage platform, sound system, musical instruments, music stand And chairs and piano stools.

From the beginning, accessibility has been a key part of the mission of this two-year-old ensemble-free concerts in various venues have been mixed all the time-and Humble Hall allows them to keep this in some way Security risks caused by the pandemic.

Violinist Sarah Silver Manzke said: "It falls into our mission well." "In an era when we may need living art more than ever, we are trying to find A way to maintain the development of living art."

After testing the donors, the quartet made its debut in the humble hall on Sunday afternoon at the holiday market of the Witte Museum. The forecast throughout the week looked worrying-rain was expected-but when the ensemble reached Witten, the morning mist had burned, leaving behind a crystal clear sky.

The four musicians-Manzke, violent singer Marisa Bushman, cellist Ignacio Gallego Fernandez and pianist Daniel Anas Tassio (Daniel Anastasio) uses the trailer as the background to set up the performance space. They arranged the platform as a stage, and then added musical instruments, chairs, music stands and a small sound system.

After knocking down the wires and performing a quick sound check, the musicians roamed among the slowly growing listeners who kept their distance from society. These listeners gathered on the lawn in front of Humble Hall and chatted with people they knew. These dialogues are also part of the ensemble’s mission,

"From the beginning, our hope was not to continue to use classical music and classical art to promote the ivory tower phenomenon," Manzke said, noting that the platform installed in the Hall of Humility is not very high, so that the musicians are almost at the same level. Audience level. "We hope it can be used by people, have fun, and be heard by those who may be uncomfortable in a typical concert hall."

Bill Ellison and his wife Carol Lee spread a bright blue blanket in the middle of the lawn. They are fans of Agarita, and this is the last live concert the band attended before the pandemic.

Ellison, a professor of psychology at Trinity University, said: “It’s different to hear them being amplified, but it’s very interesting.” “This is a good show. I’m really touched.”

When the concert began with Bach's three "Goldberg Variations", the wind was blowing, and Manzke's short hair blew into her eyes during the performance. Before the band started playing San Antonio composer Aaron Prado (Aaron Prado), she walked off the stage and put her hair back.

She later said to the audience: "We joked that it should be called Feng Hall." She pointed out that the wind also came during the test drive.

The musicians performed for about 40 minutes and also played works by Astor Piazzolla, Missy Mazzoli and Joaquín Turina. Bushman said that they plan to draw about 10 works from the concert series.

They talked a little before playing each piece. Their speech is in English, but when they know they are speaking to a bilingual audience, Gallego also speaks Spanish music.

He said: "I think I can express my facts in Spanish in San Antonio. It is an honor for us and a way for us to enter a community that is sometimes separated from our artistic adventures."

The next concert in the series will be held sometime after the first day of the new year. Bushman said that a canopy is being installed to protect his instruments from sunlight, which will take five to six weeks.

When they plan other performances in the series, they are also looking for volunteers who can deliver trailers. To participate in the Witte concert, they borrowed a car from the cellist Morgen Johnson of the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra, where Gallego drove.

Bushman said: "If someone owns an extra truck or off-road vehicle with high towing capacity and they want to donate in kind and become a sponsor of Agarita, that would be greatly appreciated," Bushman said.

Musicians hope that even after people can safely gather indoors for a concert, the series will continue.

"For us, this is a long-term project, not just something that arises from the pandemic," Gallego said. "It opened a door for us and allowed us to create an environment for people to appreciate music. Here, instead of letting you come to us to listen, it will bring you music."

Deborah Martin is an art writer based in the San Antonio and Bexar County area. To learn more about Deborah,


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Deborah Martin is an art writer who joined the San Antonio Express News in 1999. She mainly writes articles about drama-she watches about 100 performances every year-and helps oversee newspaper coverage of outstanding performing arts. Her first newspaper job was at the El Paso Herald-Post, where she worked as a general-duty reporter, and then became an art and entertainment editor. After the Herald closed, she spent more than a year reporting art for Corpus Christi's Caller Times before joining Express. She has a degree in journalism from UT El Paso and in 2007 worked as a researcher at the NEA Art Journalism Institute at the Theater and Music Theatre of the University of Southern California.

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