Wednesday, September 6, 2017

CutTime: Free Program 7 PM Friday at Detroit Institute of Arts, painful elegies to joyful dances to recall the 1967 Race Riots in Detroit and across the country

Dan, Davis, Jason, Rick and Leslie at McGregor Library

CTS at Brigantine Avenue Records

Rick and Derek make fun with serious Mozart            

September 6, 2017

Hello Friends,      
I hope you had a great holiday and will forgive me that this newsletter is overdue. CutTime® just had a very good 5-month stretch and I've been quite busy managing 10 projects, part of 23 gigs that wrap up this Friday at the DIA.

Our streak began appropriately enough on April Fool's Day with our first Grosse Pointe War Memorial kids show that suddenly moved to the GP Central Library. We had a tremendously jumpy time with about 75 kids, parents and other surprised onlookers. Then the quartet played two private restaurant fundraisers. On May 6 in Boston, my classical rendition of The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald premiered by Michigan Recital Project. (I couldn't be there.)

ArtLab J danced to City of Trees again at the DIA May 28: her design of an open arts org is a model for CutTime. I attended the League of American Orchestras annual conference, held in Detroit, and learned and met and spoke up for connecting orchestras outside the arts bubbles. Simfonica has also started playing corporate HQ employee cafeterias this year. One company has hired us three times this year!

Then I took a chance in June to play for a Chicago crowd of 40 in a house concert series called Sofar. They give artists access to high quality promotional videos in exchange for a free performances, mainly of songs. We were their first classical and the audience had some great cowbell players to join the fun of Pork 'n Beans! Eliot, Davis and Leslie improvised magically! Sadly, the video files were somehow corrupted and we gained nothing.

In July Simfonica played Highland Park Music Festival, helped open the new Beacon Park inspiring a yoga session, then we played a "popup residency" at 6 locations in 25 hours around Manistee and Ludington for the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts.

But in August... in August we were everywhere! We played the Sidewalks street festival again, then we played both a house concert and a church set in Rochester, NY as part of the biennial Gateways Music Festival. People were excited to see classical music played like this!

Then there was a lot of preparation for a week with two CutTime Players concerts in Detroit (private) and Cleveland (public), but with two different teams! Both were wildly successful, esp. since the private gig demanded four Friday Simfonica concerts in June in a campus classroom for working scientists as part of the run-up to the big private celebration! The Cleveland concert was a return to the Rocky River Senior Center with fellow CIM alumn. We had so much fun with A Symphony in Your Pocket, they immediately booked us for two dates in 2018!

I returned to Cleveland four days later when Charith Premawardhana, the defacto founder of Classical Revolution, and I agreed to play at the Happy Dog with Classical Revolution Cleveland on Aug. 22. We read some Simfonica charts with Ariel Clayton and friends, who were tickled they could play the Ruslan Overture in a noisy bar... and it MATTERED! If we could put this in every city, imagine what could happen!

The Simfonica quartet played at two local senior communities in July and August. Many declared we were by far their favorite group! We hope to become your favorite classical group too, if you haven't yet seen us LIVE. The thing is, we're intentionally CHEAP, because that's where the people we want to turn on to classical music feel comfortable. Rather than always making classical music special, as we do with our institutions, CutTime is a charitable service making classical music common, middle-brow even low-brow when necessary.
Finally, still in August, I prepared, recruited, directed and played a recording project of commercial songs with a new partner, Brigantine Avenue Records with Simfonica, composer Roberto Basile and the singer Cristina Caro. People may be very surprised by this duo.

The best thing for CutTime this year has been the presence of Michigan Opera Theater new concertmaster Eliot Heaton. He is a vigorous, delightful and most versatile musician with natural musicianship at classical, jazz improvisation and bluegrass fiddling to explore. The potential for cross-pollination is already breeding new arrangements, such as my new Be-Bach arrangement on our next program.

So, we have a special free program this Friday at the Detroit Institute of Arts 7pm-9:20. In Rivera Court we serve up a highly contrasting menu from painful elegies to joyful dances to recall the 1967 Race Riots in Detroit and across the country. Watch me attempt to turn this painful episode into a joyful celebration of American resilience, even though we seem at times on the verge of rolling back civil rights. This rare performance features the full, rich sextet of strings, rather than just the quartet.

With deep appreciation to our generous donors who've made CutTime grow, esp. Barbara Van Dusen, I want to thank you ALL for your continued interest, referrals and support for new classical across America. It's working, albeit still slowly. Please try to come Friday, and share this Facebook link with friends! It's time to make classical music work for everyday people.

- Rick Robinson (Mr. CutTime)

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