Saturday, October 8, 2016

Kelly Hall-Tompkins: Music Kitchen Receives National Endowment for the Arts Grant!

Happy Fall!  I am so excited to finally share with you that Music Kitchen has received its first grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in the amount of $10,000!  I am so happy that the NEA has recognized not only the wonderful programming that Music Kitchen has offered to homeless shelter clients now on both coasts for 11 years, but also now facilitating concerts coming up this season.  These grants will support piano rental and moving to once again feature world-renowned pianist Emanuel Ax here in New York and former New York Philharmonic Concertmaster Glenn Dicterow and viola soloist Karen Dreyfus in Los Angeles, so stay tuned!  I am also happy to announce that Music Kitchen has received a $7,500 grant from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council to support presenting what I like to think of as the "Gold Standard" of Chamber Music repertoire which inspired me to create this series.
Now, to whom much is given, much is expected!  The NEA grant must be matched dollar for dollar!  Won't you help make this a reality?  In case you were wondering, no gift is too small, and no gift is too large!  Many thanks to the Jacksons whose family gift of $2,000 got us started towards the match!  Please click HERE to Donate Now!
Good News Comes in 4s! 
(1. NEA Grant)
Read Below for:
2. News about Stravinsky Soldier's Tale at the Park Avenue Armory Shelter (New Venue!)
Stay Tuned for:
3. Glenn Dicterow Concerts in LA
4. Music Kitchen and Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway!
Thank you for alll you do to support Music Kitchen- Food for the Soul!

We will happily receive your donation check at this address!
Music Kitchen-Food for the Soul
   c/o Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
    3 West 65th Street
    New York, NY 10023 

Stravinsky Soldier's Tale
Music Kitchen 84th Performance
Park Avenue Armory Shelter
Kelly Hall-Tompkins, violin; Dan Krekeler, bass
Liam Burke, clarinet, Brad Balliett, bassoon
Billy Hunter, trumpet; Weston Sprott, trombone
Joe Tompkins, percussion
(Photos by Gregory Routt)
Wow!  What a wonderful afternoon today's concert was!  Thanks to the Sphinx MPower Grant we were able to reprise another performance of the Stravinsky Soldier's Tale and thanks to a new partnership with Andrew Heinrich of Project Rousseau, we were able to identify a perfect new venue in which to present it.  We performed today at the Lenox Hill shelter for Women housed in the Park Avenue Armory.  The massive venue is just beginning to present public concerts.  In fact, I was one of the artists in the freelance orchestra several years ago which played a brief performance as an exploratory exercise for the possible new venture.  So it seems fitting, now alongside that public series, to also bring great concerts to the shelter clients upstairs.  
Though I know and fully appreciate what an amazing piece of music the Stravinsky Soldier's Tale is, I'm always a bit nervous about how the discordant lines will fall on the ears of the clients in a shelter who yearn to be soothed.  I discovered the answer right away- they were energized and excited by it!  Not only were several clients seen dancing to the music through the glass door during our rehearsal, but after the brief first movement they cheered joyfully.  "You are wonderful!" one woman blurted happily.  Another woman, who would become a frequent voice throughout the performance captured it brilliantly when she said that the music felt smart and perfectly crafted.  
As with the previous performances of this work, I explained the story of L'Histoire in broad strokes, saying that yes it is a Faustian theme, but for our purposes we are going to think of it as the struggle with trouble and difficulty which we ultimately leave behind, slamming the door shut behind us. That is again where the musical interpretation can serve this notion by the final statement of percussion getting softer and distant, before the final slam.  Once again, our audience was very pleased to hear this pronouncement, nodding as they made it their own.  
At most Music Kitchen concerts, it typically takes a while a while for the clients to open up.  Not so today!  The ladies were brimming over with comments and questions right away.  One woman asked each musician in turn in a variety of different ways until she was satisfied- how does the music feel to us as we play it.  We each had a personal way of framing it, but fairly central is the idea that music, especially this piece, has complexities and difficulties, and there is a time to work through those.  Then one must, having assimilated all that, play from the heart.  
There were some interesting characters in our audience- one woman, arriving in the middle of our discussion, said, "I just arrived- I haven't heard anything yet, please play for me!"  We launched into the soldier's March.  "Does that make you feel like walking?" I asked.  "It makes me feel like dancing!"  said several ladies.  After each movement, the same lady had more and more questions for us, to the delight of a few and the chagrin of others. But it was a delightfully interactive performance with lots of laughter.  We concluded as always with a group picture.  When I was leaving, a woman touched my arm and said, "You are like an angel passing through, thank you so much for coming here."  
Following are the notes from the listeners:  
“The music was delightful and enchanting.  Thank you all for taking the time to share your love of music.”  All the Best!  Katherine  
Great  Great  Great
Thank you
Thank you for playing with fervor!  
All you musicians were extremely focused on the journey this gentleman wanted to dedicate.  I know he smiles upon you all for making life’s journey more exceptible.  The sky is the limit; and goals. Beverly  
Thank you for your support of Music Kitchen concerts!  
Kelly Hall-Tompkins, Violinist/Founder/Executive Director 

We welcome your checks at the following address:
c/o Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
3 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023

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