Bach, Boston, Urban

Get down with the sickness

So, today was a bit different mostly because thanks to Boston’s crazy weather and my ever running around, I finally got sick To top it all of, things were narrower in terms of location choices because Simone and I will be taking part on a Scandinavian concert with our friends Stefan and Hannah (shout out to them!) and our rehearsal was scheduled at 10 o’clock at Longy so as Simone suggested, Cambridge Common would be a great place to do our performance today given how close it is and let me tell you, this one was pretty self indulgent performance

Cambridge

I mean, look at how nice this place is

There was barely no one around in the park and even though we were basically playing for ourselves, at ssome points we still managed to get a small audience to come and see us and funny enough, there’s always a kid in the mix, they always wanna listen and they are always curious about what’s happening The downside of this concert is that the breeze that was going on was INSANE, I mean, look at her hair

She looks like she's riding a bike, right?

She looks like she’s riding a bike, right?

Sadly, due to my health condition playing for a long time wasn’t the best idea so we only played the 2 Sonatas which made it really short today but given that a lady thanked us for making the park even more pleasant I would consider our single short performance a success Not too much to say today due to the short period of time we actually performed but I will say again that if you are in Boston, you definitely should come to our performance on July 2nd at Longy’s Pickman Hall to enjoy some Bach. Remember, 27 Garden St, Cambridge MA 02138, 7:30 pm, free admission! Have a good night, folks and thanks for reading!

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Bach, Boston, Urban

And finally, we got our most wanted spot…

So today was FINALLY the day when we got to sit down at Harvard Station (no guitar guy around for a change) and you know what? now I understand why it’s such a hard spot to get

Sitting here to play made us recover our faith in Cambridge in terms of appreciating art because lets face it, people in this area tend to be a little bit of a stuck up and their level of appreciation has a “high standard” regardless…

I live in Cambridge, trust me on this one! heh…

But anyway, people here were very nice and welcoming, many just stood and watch (including an adorable kid and his mom that even asked which “song” were we playing) and we liked it so so much that we decided that the best would be to do our two performances there and it was a quite good decision, let me tell you

As a lady who was listening put it “it’s just so nice to have these kind of things here!”

I think what helps Harvard Square to be special is that it’s also a melting pot, just like Downtown Crossing… It is only in these two places where we had people actually applauding after we finished performing a piece… It’s a great feeling!

Another interesting thing the day brought was that a friend of us, Paul Sayed (shout out to Paul!) came by and took some pictures of us that we could use for many things so we had that going for us, which is nice

Here’s a link to the gallery (again, click on the picture to access the slide show):

Tomorrow is gonna be a very warm and humid day so we’ll see where we end up!

For now that’s all and again, remember to come to Pickman Hall at the Longy School of Music of Bard College (27 Garden St, Cambridge MA, 02138) at 7:30 pm on July 2nd to our closing concert! free admission so bring a friend!

Have a good night and thanks a million for reading!

FINALLY!!!

FINALLY!!!

 

 

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Bach, Boston, Urban

Don’t you just love kids?

One of the organizations I work at is called North End Music and Performing Arts Center (http://www.nempacboston.org/) and everyday their outreach program grows more and more while they create partnerships with schools in this neighborhood

Its executive director, Sherri Snow, asked me if I could come over and do some subbing for some K2 classes and I agreed gladly, I just love working with kids and luckily Simone was game to come over too so in a way we did our project with these group, but before that we took a chance at playing at Haymarket Station which is pretty close from NEMPAC

I gotta say one more time that the acoustics at some MBTA stations are beyond belief and Haymarket has probably one of the best ones so far, it’s just so pleasant and boomy, like a church, just perfect for Bach’s music

again, immaculate acoustics! I wish our concert was here!

Again, immaculate acoustics! I wish our concert was here!

The only downside to our performance there was that the time that we picked was at a time where there’s not enough traffic to have a big audience but as I said so before, if we get just one person to stop his/her day and listen to us perform, day is made…

And so it happened… a guy just completely stopped to listen for a little over 5 minutes and he said as he had to take off: this is great! I wish I could stay here and listen to some more… thank you for that!

We have a pretty nifty profession, eh?

After this we went to NEMPAC to meet Sherri and she took us to the Eliot School which is literally behind NEMPAC and we had so much fun with this group of kiddos, they were just so receptive and respectful!

Some playing for the kiddos!

Some playing for the kiddos!

We talked about Bach, about the cello and the violin, how they can make music together, different colors of sound and we even managed to get a couple of the kiddos to play with us

We had lots of fun plucking through "Twinkle Twinkle" together

We had lots of fun plucking through “Twinkle Twinkle” together

It was also a beautiful day today and the North End is just a lovely place so we can’t complain at all about how good it went

For now that’s it but remember that our concert is July 2nd at 7:30 pm at Longy’s Pickman Hall (27 Garden St. Cambridge MA 02138) and that it’s free so don’t hesitate to come, bring a friend and enjoy an evening of Bach with us

Have a good night, everybody!

One more down!

One more down!

 

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Bach, Boston, Urban

Open air is the way to go: “Part Deux”

If you live in Boston, you would know that today, Sunday June 15th we had a BEAUTIFUL sunny day with clear blue skies so when Simone and I met I couldn’t resist asking if she would like us to do our performances today in the street instead of the subway and I’m glad she agreed

Our first objective was the ever pleasant Boston Common

When we got there we found a great spot right under a tree, not too shady, not too sunny and with a lot of pedestrian traffic.

Do we look happy?

Do we look happy?

Yes, we do!

Yes, we do!

Probably today was the day we have gotten the most attention of our entire project, we had a cellist asking us about our project and telling us how he also plays the inventions sometimes with his daughter who is an oboist, a family of tourists (that I’m pretty sure were Colombian but silly me didn’t dare to ask) and finally, there was this guy with a camera taking pictures of us so when he was going away I asked him if he could send me one of the pics he took of us, to which he replied: sure! do you want me to take some extra ones for you guys?

Uhm… let me think: YEAH!

Meet Daniel Koenig, photographer/videographer extraordinaire (if you like his work, contact him at daniel@power10films.com)

Meet Daniel Koenig, photographer/videographer extraordinaire (if you like his work and would like to hire him, contact him at daniel@power10films.com)

Here’s a link to Daniel’s complete “photo session” of us (click on the photo to see the whole set):

And here’s the video he recorded of us (make sure to set it up in 1080p HD so you can watch it in all its glory!)

All in all, Boston Common was great!

After that we moved to a place I’ve been wanting to play ever since we started this but was sort of intimidated by it, but having in mind that we already had been kicked out of a station I thought that it wouldn’t be the worst if they kick us out of a park so Copley Square, here we go

Copley is just a beautiful place and with this great day, it was only better so we just needed a perfect spot…

How about... here?

How about… here?

Luckily we didn’t get kicked out or arrested and we even got one of the nicest compliments here: “such a beautiful music… it goes along so well with this beautiful day… thank you!”

Day objective: achieved

That background suits us nicely!

That background suits us nicely!

For now that’s all the day recap we have and we’re very excited because tomorrow aside from performing in the morning at Haymarket station (10 am, if you are around, come by), we will go to the Eliot School in the North End to do a class with a K-2 group and we’re very excited because working with kids is the best!

You don’t believe me?

Ok, let me convince you with a story… today after we were done playing, a kid came up to us and the following conversation ensued:

Kid: do you guys do magic also?

We: sorry, no, we don’t

Kid: oh, it’s a shame, that would be awesome, imagine if you played and do magic everybody would throw 10 dollars bills at you like crazy!

The kid’s gotta point, doesn’t he?

Good night friends and remember: July 2nd, 7:30 pm, Pickman Hall at the Longy School of Music of Bard College (27 Garden St. Cambridge MA 02138) FREE admission!

Come one, come all!

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Bach, Boston, Urban

Downtown Crossing, you’ve been great!

Today Simone and I agreed to meet early to do our usual 2 performances per day so I could come back in time and watch the Colombia debut in the World Cup and I’m glad we did because the game was GLORIOUS! 16 years of wait and we won 3 – 0!

But I’m rambling here…

We decided to try and find the Harvard Spot so we went there at 9 am and guess what!? IT WAS TAKEN AGAIN!

By a guitar player, not less, but a different one this time (?)

Anyway, we again improvised and we went to Downtown Crossing to see if it would work and by God it did

First we went to the very first busking spot I saw in Boston which is on the Forest Hills platform at this Station

It went SO well! people stopping to listen, thanking us and such. Of all of them, there was this kind lady who approached us asking if she could take a picture of us to which we agreed with the condition that she would take one of us for the blog while we played given that so far we haven’t been able to get one (I’m not one to give my phone to a random person in the street but she seemed reliable)

Luckily, this lady was really nice and took this great pic of us:

I wanted one of these since the project started!

I wanted one of these since the project started!

Also, the lady got really intrigued about our project so I told her she could come over to this blog and check the whole story out so she took a pic of the URL and said she would… if you’re reading, hi! and thank you!

Finally, the very nice lady on the right asked us for a business card and I was prepared, so, we’ll see 😛

Then, we moved to the Red Line section of Downtown Crossing that goes to Alewife and we got a fair amount of attention also, with people being super appreciative of our job

So yeah, to all you buskers out there, Downtown Crossing is a great place to do your performances, great tipping, nice appreciative crowds and last but certainly not least, killer acoustics

For now this is it and remember that our performance at Pickman Hall (27 Garden St, Cambridge, MA 02138) it’s on July 2nd at 7:30 pm and it’s free, so come get your Bach fix as God intended it to

Have a good night, everybody!

You are the best, Crossing!

You are the best, Crossing!

 

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Bach, Boston, Urban

Sometimes, all you need is one

My last day of work of the 2013-2014 finally arrived and by God I am not who I used to be in every sense…

I’ve learned so much about teaching this year (shout out to the great J. Garvs! you are THE man!), about myself, about others.

This whole OPT path that I took, which is a visa status for immigrants that completed a degree that allows them to work for a year, has been one of my life’s best decisions

Now, having said that, because the end was here, I felt so wiped out this morning (actually, I still do now as I write this post) but our project can’t stop so I met with Simone down south at JFK Station to do our 1st performance of the day

As soon as we started playing, we knew this would be a nice spot to do our thing; less than a minute into playing people was already stopping to watch and listen and there was this BEAUTIFUL thing that happened that left me with a feel good vibe all day

Although we got a good amount of attention, there was this one guy that as soon as he arrived to the station he fixed his eyes on us and took a sit in a bench nearby and listened to our ENTIRE program. For a moment, I thought he was waiting for his train but more than 4 trains passed by going in all the possible directions at JFK and he didn’t took any of them and I can dare to say that he was sitting there just for us…

Sir, you most likely won’t be reading this, ever, but you made my day, thank you.

I didn't tell Simone that the real reason why I took this picture was that I wanted to get those focused eyes in the shot... sorry, Simone! :p

I didn’t tell Simone that the real reason why I took this picture was that I wanted to get those focused eyes in the shot… sorry, Simone! :p and again, thank you, kind sir.

After that, we left the place and we agreed on meeting late  in the evening to do another one somewhere because the afternoons are off the table. Why? because if you have read my profile here, you can assume by my personal description that the World Cup is and will be commanding my life these days and most of what I do now works around it (go ahead and judge me, I don’t care!)

Regardless, as the evening arrived I felt that I just didn’t have it in me so I agreed with Simone that instead tomorrow early in the morning we will chase the golden spot… again: Harvard Sq.

Also, as I announced yesterday, our closing concert is going to be on July 2nd at 7:30 pm in Pickman Hall at the Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge, MA. Having this in mind, I created a little strategy to try and attract some of the people that see us play in the streets or the MBTA stations to this final performance and I’m really looking forward to try it and see how it works out.

Basically, I went to VistaPrint and selected the free business cards option (yes, they will give you 250 cards for free) and instead of putting any company info, I made an invitation to the concert in them.

Anyone that stops to listen to any of our performances can take one of these cards and that way they can have the chance of going to an actual classical music concert and I can only hope that many of those that take an “invitation” with them are the kind of people that don’t usually go to such events.

It looks something like this:

I know the address isn't right but don't worry, the final version is fully corrected

I know the address isn’t right but don’t worry, the final version is fully corrected

That is all for today, as always thank you for reading and more to tell tomorrow for sure!

Have a good night, friends!

Great acoustics in this place... it's a sad thing that every MBTA station doesn't have a performer at every minute of the day...

Great acoustics in this place… it’s a sad thing that every MBTA station doesn’t have a performer at every minute of the day… It should be a law, somehow…

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Bach, Boston, Urban

Today’s big crescendo

So, rollercoaster day today…

I met with Simone around 11 to try and get the coveted Harvard Square spot but AGAIN guitar dude beat us to it so it was time to improvise

Luckily, Simone has a very “ok, lets do it” attitude (shout-out to my partner in crime for that) and we decided to go again for Kendall but in the Northbound side

We got there and as we started setting up we weren’t prepared for what was going to happen next, that is sure…

The MBTA employee that was doing her shift at the moment all of the sudden said “No! not there! no no no!” and I asked her what she meant… she started saying that that wasn’t the designated spot and that we should go to the platform and perform there…

According to the list that I got from the Transit Realty Associates we were indeed in the right spot and it’s my understanding that if you perform in an unauthorized spot you can get your permit revoked if they wish to

As I don’t want that, of course, I tried to show her she was wrong and that that was indeed the spot but she was having none of it and just said “no, no it’s not, no it’s not”… so shout out to MBTA employee number 8331 (at least that’s what she claimed be), you are sad, bitter individual and I pity you for your unpleasant take on life

I also called the TRA people to complain about it and they said they will check up what happened and get back with me but my money is on that they won’t

Anywho…

As we had failed to get a 2nd spot for the day, we decided to give it a try to the Red Line section of Downtown Crossing and even though you won’t be reading this, thank you for kicking us out of Kendall you awful woman because this was one of the best (if not the best) performances we had so far

Shaky view, I know, but I kept this pic because it shows how happy we were there

Shaky view, I know, but I kept this pic because it shows how happy we were to be there

Downtown Crossing is such a melting pot, everybody just merges in this place and you get people of all ages and social statuses coming your way.

POV

POV

Having said that, let me tell you, it’s ALWAYS the ones that you typically expect to appreciate something like this that will ignore you *coughuppermiddleclasscough* and it’s ALWAYS the ones that you don’t see it coming that will make you feel like you are doing the absolute right thing *coughworkingclasscough*

Shame on us for thinking that

We had SO many people saying nice things to us today, from a guy that looked like Lil’ Wayne smiling at us while we played and saying “that’s really cool, man”, to a girl that came up to me and say “hey, I play the cello too and I think this is so cool”, to a couple of guys saying to Simone with a smile as she played “that’s just beautiful” (even though I wonder if they were hitting on her…)

We felt SO SO welcomed there and it was an absolute joy and a made us forget that bad experience at Kendall

Also, this might be silly but I got some tips for this and among them there was a 2 dollar bill, a bill I’ve never seen live!

Silly, I know, but I loved it!

so shiny!!!

so shiny!!!

We picked up our stuff and on our way back on the train I got a text message were we got the confirmation we were expecting to make it public so time for big news…

*drum roll*

Phase 3 of this project is gonna lead up to a final performance that it’s gonna be on July 2nd at Pickman Hall at the Longy School of Music of Bard College (Simone’s and yours truly Alma Mater) where Ms. Trollmo and I will be all spiffy looking to close this great Bach adventure, as I said before, with a bang.

More details on this performance soon, I promise

Good night to you all, friends, followers and occasional readers

Downtown Crossing, again: you are GREAT! ;)

Downtown Crossing, again: you are GREAT! 😉

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