Cleveland Orchestra members conducting pop-up chamber concerts in the community

Updated: Jul. 6, 2020 at 4:56 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -The World Renown Cleveland Orchestra has not gone silent during this pandemic, despite having their entire calendar at Severance Hall and Blossom wiped out.

“What we want and love to do is to play with each other and play for our community,” said violinist, Katherine Bormann.

Members of the Cleveland Orchestra have been keeping their performance skills sharp, staying relevant and giving back to the community that supports them so generously during normal times.

For the past couple weeks, small groups of the world-class orchestra have been popping up around town.

“If people can’t come Severance, we’ve got to take it to them,” Bormann said.

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“We always want to be relevant to our community, pandemic or not. We always want to feel like we’re sharing this very special, yet very complex art form,” said Bormann.

Over the last month there have been 24 chamber concerts at atriums and lobbies at University Hospitals, The Cleveland Clinic and MetroHealth to honor front line workers.

“There’s so little it feels like we can do. But right now, while we can’t play as a large ensemble we can still play in small ensembles and we can try to bring even a few minutes of peace, reflection, beauty, or just even a healthy distraction to all the health care workers who are doing so much,” Bormann said.

Small ensembles are also popping up in neighborhoods, on porches and in driveways, and even on the lawn of a development pool on the east side.

“If we can do that to keep that joy in music and performance alive for everybody until we can go back to our usual full time, then that’s the least we can do for our neighbors and our friends, and the people who support us and come to our concerts. If we can do even a little bit of that, then we’ve at least done something,” said cellist Martha Baldwin.

She says they’re trying to recreate the Blossom experience.

“I know it’s not the big beautiful Blossom pavilion, with thousands of people but if we can recreate that experience a little bit in some small way it’s really our way of giving back to the community,” she said.

For the sake of safety, they’re trying to keep these pop-up chamber concerts small, so they’re not advertising them ahead of time, apart from the individual musicians who hold weekly ones at their homes.

But Baldwin says someone is playing somewhere nearly every day.

“If you know somebody who loves music, they probably know where one is going on,” she said.

If you’d like to view some of the pop-up concerts that have already taken place, there is a public Facebook page for the Cleveland Orchestra Musicians.

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