Friday, November 30, 2018

Rick Robinson: CutTime Newsletter - Noel Night at La Palma Dec. 1, 4:30 PM

Rick Robinson writes:

November 30, 2018

Dear Friends,        
It's been awhile since I wrote to you. CutTime® had a rather wild August followed by a disappointing 4th quarter. Upcoming gigs and some new plans promise to make us irresistible if a bit less public next year.

Thanks to grants from ArtOps to some Highland Park (MI) non-profits, CutTime Simfonica was invited to perform more than a few times in my hometown with our new project partners, the Urban Requiem Project. My compositions, and some improvisations based them, dramatically supported the street poetry of Claretha (Peace) Bell and Kevlar Afrika.

Live music and spoken word knock classical music into the Highland Park! We performed for Literacy in the Park, Nandi's Knowledge Café, Detroit Repertory Theatre, the Boys and Girls Club and 333 Midland art gallery. URP Founder Virgil Taylor caught some great video. Watch Can You Hear Me Now and Art As a Weapon.

By GK Photo

My hopes ran even higher when Bedrock Detroit and Library Street Collective invited CutTime Players to perform for the launch of the colorful new light display of artist Phillip K Smith on the Detroit Skybridge. We were asked to play mostly slow classical to enhance the slowly-changing colors of the display.

For the occasion I composed two short, new works; a deep, colorful, breathing meditation, plus a rather exhilarating prelude about Henry Ford (Model-T Magic) cranking up the very first car engine and flying off into the future (since the theme was reinvention). Sadly, it drizzled most of the first hour we were to play on Spirit Plaza downtown. The sound system malfunctioned as a result and our shortened concert was missing critical bass and percussion.

In September, CutTime Simfonica finally debuted in Ann Arbor, at U Mich Hospital's main lobby for the Thursday lunchtime series, Gifts of Art. They gave us some video I've been posting on our YouTube channel, and invited us back for Valentine's Day at noon.

Specially requested to return, the weather prevented us from playing October's Open Streets Detroit event in Corktown/Mexicantown. It was slightly too cool to play under the train overpass at Michigan Depot. At 60-degrees, it's neither fun nor healthy to play strings with cold fingers. Here's a cool video, however, from the year before. 

While we made the final round, the Urban Requiem Project ultimately lost a Knight Foundation Arts Challenge grant this month. Our grand proposal was to compose a full-length, URBAN REQUIEM commemorating the industrial century of Detroit (and Highland Park) with our poets, classical and soul musicians, gospel choir and old footage of Detroit's people, factories and life. Numerous community and popup concerts would have led up to and inspired the process. On to plan C.

In December, CutTime Simfonica plays its 3rd annual Noel Night (Dec. 1) at the Mediterranean restaurant La Palma 4:30-5:45 featuring lots of Baroque favorites, Charlie Brown music and MOT Concertmaster Eliot Heaton.  The food is great and you might as well get a table if you're around.

And CutTime Players returns to Rocky River Senior Center Auditorium (near Cleveland) for its 2nd Christmas concert on Thursday Dec. 6 at 7:30. This is our 4th CutTime concert there in 2 years; they love CutTime® so much! For Players, I recruit and rehearse Cleveland freelancers there. For Simfonica lately, I've been bringing my A Team from Detroit, as we will again March 24 (Su) 3p to Rocky River Presbyterian.

Besides a number of private bookings so far, in 2019 around Detroit, Simfonica will play a full-length public concert at Birmingham Unitarian Church on Feb. 8 (Fr) 7:30.

Other related events are the orchestration premiere of my Elegy (2009) by Colour of Music Festival Orchestra in Pittsburgh (PA) on Feb. 13, and that of Highland Park, MI: City of Trees by Michigan Philharmonic in Canton (MI) Apr. 6.

With the repeated failure of my efforts to work the edges of the non-profit world, I'm resigning myself to hit more commercial buttons in 2019, adding visual projections, songs, a dancer and some "purple cows."

Have a great holiday season and stay tuned for surprises in the next newsletter. It's time to cut classical music loose!


- Rick Robinson (Mr. CutTime)

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