This Weekend: 'Come As You Are' and Get to Know C.O.D.E.

Nov 20, 2015

It has become common practice to shop and eat local. But what about listening local?

The Columbus Ohio Discovery Ensemble has joined forces with Wild Goose Creative to bring a free concert of 'Ohio Made' music to the public this Saturday afternoon. The entire program focuses on New Music made here, in the capital city, and they are encouraging the public to come as you are, 4:00 PM Saturday.

"You don’t need to know anything about music to experience it and for it to affect you." -Michael Rene Torres, Executive Director of C.O.D.E.

I emailed the Executive Director of Columbus Ohio Discovery Ensemble (aka C.O.D.E.) this week, and asked what he would say to someone intimidated by the concept of "New" music, and "You don’t need to know anything about music to experience it and for it to affect you," was his response. 

That statement is so encouraging and truthful, I want to print it and frame it in my home. 

It is time to come as you are, and simply enjoy music in Columbus, and it seems that just about every ensemble in town in on board with that sentiment. The CSO has a season of crowd-pleasers mixed with "Access" concerts, Early Music Columbus is gearing up for a concert at Wolf's Ridge Brewing, and now C.O.D.E. has teamed up with Wild Goose Creative and the Johnstone Fund for New Music to bring new compositions to the public. 

Michael responded further to the same question on what to say to folks who might be intimidated by music they have never heard: "Embrace it!" he said, "We tend to be afraid of things we don’t know, but if we turn that sense of uncertainty into wonder, then we’re opening our imaginations to new levels of discovery."

That is exactly what C.O.D.E. stands for; Discovery and Curiosity. 

Wild Goose Creative Hosting New Music

Wild Goose Creative has a long history of hosting bands and jazz ensembles, but this concert will be their first New Music venture.
Credit Wild Goose Creative, Justin Jonston

You might have heard that Wild Goose Creative has welcomed a their inaugural Executive Director, Justin Johnston, who also plays clarinet for C.O.D.E.

Justin is a unique Executive Director for many reasons, but his continual involvement in music and his background with such orchestras as Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Toronto Symphony makes him the perfect person to understand where the music industry can interact with other arts enterprises, and how to provide community support and artistic growth for Columbus. 

When I asked Justin why the ensemble had chosen Wild Goose Creative and vice versa, he said simply:

"We decided to play at Wild Goose long before I had even applied for the job here. Really it was a no brainer. Wild Goose is all about welcoming artists and patrons of all stripes. For CODE it’s a great fit because we love the vibe of the space and they are easy to work with. Their whole mission is making the space accessible to everyone and affordable for artists. It’s the perfect to try out new ideas and new music."

The Program

So, what is New Music, and why is it important? Simply put: newly composed music is economically and artistically sound. It provides jobs for composers and ensembles alike, and the product is inherently more near to our current human experience. We do not live in the 18th Century, and whilst the music of that era is important and incredibly rich, it does not address what we experience today, here in Columbus, Ohio. Handel did not write music that anticipated and responded to the lifestyle and interests we have today.

The music on this weekend's program does. 

Fanfare by Otterbein University professor, Charlie Wilmoth, commissioned for CODE by the Johnstone Fund for New Music.

Desen by Johnny Mendoza, described by the composer: “Desen has multiple meanings. For this work it’s about creating patterns from naturally occurring designs.”

Aus Tiefer Not by OSU Professor of Composition, Thomas Wells. The work is based on a chorale by J.S. Bach, and translates to "In Deep Distress."

Vermillion by Jonathan Sokol reflects the composer's interactions with various Shinto shrines while visiting Kyoto.

Attentional Control by C.O.D.E.'s Executive Director, Michael Rene Torres: "The title is a reference to an individual’s capacity to choose what they pay attention to and what they ignore; an individual’s ability to concentrate. That being said, the piece subtly shifts the listener’s attention a lot with both atmospheric and rhythmic episodes.

The ensemble members for Saturday night's concert include Erin Helgeson Torres on flute; Justin Johnston on clarinet; Kerry Haberkern on bassoon; Michael Rene Torres on saxophone; Johnny Mendoza, percussion. 

Members of the C.O.D.E. ensemble pose for a photo following their debut performance at Short North Stage, May 2015.
Credit C.O.D.E. Executive Director, Michael Rene Torres

  This weekend's concert at Wild Goose Creative is free to the public and there is no dress code. Both Justin and Michael have made it abundantly clear that anyone and everyone is welcome, and their goal is for the audience to come as they are and have a meaningful experience.

In short, music is not affected by what you wear or how much you pay to hear it; music is only affected by a listener's curiosity and reception.

"Let the pieces take you to where your imagination wants to go. The music is so different that it won’t be hard to lose yourself in the new sounds you’re bound to discover." -Michael Rene Torres