One of Classical Music Indy’s newest initiatives, Random Acts of Music, features spontaneous opportunities to experience classical music. These pop up events, in addition to many other locations, were recently located at Indianapolis’ Monument Circle as part of SPARK. Spark is Indy’s initiative to engage the community through connectedness, curiosity, and creativity, to perform with a trio of two clarinetists and a bassoonist.
The scene is set. It’s a windy Friday afternoon, approximately 12:00 p.m., in the beginning of October. Amidst Indianapolis’ staple Monument Circle, the classy eye-catching bit of architecture and a populous driving round-about route, sweet music flows. Filling the side walk, are people getting a bit of sunshine on their lunch breaks, but their attention is caught off guard. Green turf, pottery spinning tables, a food truck and the pop of ping pong balls echoing in the background, set this afternoon apart from an ordinary work day.
We, Classical Music Indy, joined Indianapolis’ SPARK initiative with our own trio: Eric Salazar and Kevyn Bailey on clarinet, who taught at the same school, and Heather, our lovely Bassoonist, who met Eric at a week-long music festival hosted at Butler University. Together the trio performs as people walk by; watching, dancing. Eric plays a song he composed, then Kevyn and Heather join; entertaining, exciting and lifting the moods of all who come to hear the melody. Some take pictures from afar. Others watch, sit back, and relax on the folding chairs set up. They shake hands and make introductions. Meet, mingle and enjoy the sounds.
Ahmed Alemazi, a 19-year old enrolled in a local English program is hearing classical music for the first time. Coming from Saudi Arabia, he and his fellow students search the crowd for anyone to join in on their English experiment. Upon hearing the music played, he felt relaxed and proclaims it to be “very good.”
Alexis Tucker, 24, says the clarinet attracted her to the scene. “It brings back memories of when I used to play,” she says.
As a rising musician, Eric Salazar says that SPARK plays a major part in presenting local artists.
“It’s true, superstars are superstars for a reason,” he says. “In my experience though, a local artist can be even more engaging than a visiting superstar. You can meet with a local artist for coffee, you can track their growth, or you can really be a part of their career by supporting them. Everyone is crazy about local breweries right now, why not local artists too?”
Our heart behind our ‘Random Acts of Music’ is to allow the listeners of Indianapolis to fall in love with classical music for the first time or to re-surge that love. Providing performances, re-opening childhood memories, and increasing awareness of what classical music, defines our heart behind our performances.
Eric says, that he forgets that there’s a large population who haven’t been exposed to classical music. “True, classical music is on TV commercials and used in movies,” he says, “but there are a lot of people who have never sat down and listened to a classical performance live.”
“If we are going to increase awareness and interest in classical music, CMI’s ‘Random Acts of Music’ is a great way to do it,” he says. “When I played on the circle, I had people come up to me and say ‘I have never heard anything like this. This has been great to hear. Thank you so much for playing!’ I think this speaks for the success of the project and shows a hopeful future for classical musicians in Indy.”
Through this initiative, SPARK has gathered the community and has enlivened the Monument Circle atmosphere, offering a great environment to de-stress or provide a new change of pace on a lunch break or after work.
Mike Salazar, 52, sits enjoying the full set. He smiles, claps, and is engaged in every song, fulfilling the role of the number one fan. “I love that people can just come here on their lunch hour and enjoy the music,” he says. “It has a calming affect and gets the creative juices flowing. Also, I heard somewhere that classical music makes people smarter,” he says jokingly.
The performances transform Monument Circle. “They have taken an area that everyone knows and reinvented it in a spontaneous way,” says Eric Salazar. “I meet new people every time I play here. It’s really special. There are a lot of hardworking people in the city and they deserve an area where they can visit to play games, view art, and listen to live music.”