While concert halls remain quiet amid the coronavirus pandemic, Columbus’ ProMusica Chamber Orchestra is heading outside and popping up around town in a summer concert series.
Between Aug. 30 and Sept. 11, ProMusica’s SummerFEST: Music Outdoors! will feature seven socially distanced performances by small groups of ProMusica musicians at four different venues around Columbus. Events also include a kickoff fundraiser and an outdoor Storytime for children.
SummerFEST marks ProMusica’s first performances at the Ohio History Connection’s Ohio Village, Gahanna’s Headley Park, the amphitheater in Dublin’s Coffman Park and The Fives, a new indoor-outdoor event space in Downtown Columbus.
“We wanted to try and make ourselves as accessible as possible,” said ProMusica CEO Janet Chen in a recent phone interview. “And a drive-in (at Headley Park) is something we’ve never done, and we just thought, Why not? Let’s try it and see how people respond. Also, the amphitheater in Dublin is a certain kind of environment, The Fives is a really cool indoor-outdoor space and the Ohio Village is a beautiful, charming reproduction of Ohio in the 1890s.”
SummerFEST kicks off Aug. 30 at 11:30 a.m. with a Classical Brunch Fundraiser at The Fives. The garage door-style walls will be open for ventilation, and ProMusica musicians will perform chamber works while audience members brunch. Chen, ProMusica Music Director David Danzmayr and Creative Partner Vadim Gluzman will host the event.
The Ohio Village is the setting for An Evening of Brass and Strings on Sept. 1 at 5:30 p.m. Concertgoers can bring a picnic to enjoy while a brass quintet of ProMusica players and a string quartet led by ProMusica Creative Partner Vadim Gluzman perform hits from the baroque to the Beatles.
It’s music under the stars and in your cars Sept. 4 and 5 with ProMusica’s Gahanna Drive-In at Headley Park series. Danzmayr conducts the orchestra, and concertgoers can listen from inside their vehicles, or from lawn chairs they set up in designated parking zones around their cars.
The Sept. 4 performance will feature works by Mozart, Dvorak and Gabriela Lena Frank. On Sept. 5, Gluzman will perform as violin soloist in Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in D Minor, alongside selections from Ennio Morricone’s award-winning scores for The Mission and Cinema Paradiso and orchestral works by Grieg.
ProMusica will repeat the Sept. 5 program in a socially distanced concert in the Amphitheater at Dublin’s Coffman Park on Sept. 6 at 5 p.m. Also in the Coffman Park Amphitheater, on Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. Danzmayr will lead ProMusica in George Walkers Lyric for Strings, Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik and other works.
The Sept. 10 program will be repeated Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. at Headley Park.
In addition to the SummerFEST concerts, ProMusica Outreach Coordinator Ann Yeh and violinist Rebecca Willie will read a story and perform music at a children’s Storytime event Sept. 5 at 11 a.m. outside the Downtown Columbus Main Library. The event is free, and tickets must be reserved in advance through ProMusica’s website.
If the SummerFEST concerts go over well, ProMusica may continue to hold outdoor concerts into the fall, Chen says.
“I think people want things to do and they want live music and art in a safe environment,” said Chen. “Hopefully what we’re doing may inspire others to do things, because there’s a demand.”