On Saturday, Oct. 20, the Wind Symphony invites Boulderites to have a drink and listen to some good music.
For the second October in a row, the College of Music’s premier wind ensemble will put on a concert at Rayback Collective—part beer garden, part food truck park, part concert venue—on Boulder’s north side.
It’s not exactly the kind of place where you’d expect to hear wind, brass and percussion chamber music. But Director of Bands Donald McKinney says that’s kind of the point.
“We’re always trying to find new ways to build interest and attendance. In this case, one of our grad students, Brittan Braddock, was pushing the boundaries and thought Rayback would be a good place for a concert.”
It turned out to be an insightful idea: The group played before a packed house last year, which led to this repeat appearance.
“Rayback took a chance on us, and they emailed us the next day because they were blown away by the attendance,” McKinney says. “We made music accessible to people. They felt comfortable sitting back and chatting, while, at the same time, enjoying the music.”
The format of the concert lends itself well to the Rayback’s atmosphere: Small chamber groups, made up of the members of the larger Wind Symphony, will perform eight different pieces from varying genres, including jazz and even vaudeville.
Clarinet master’s student Ellen Kennedy will return to the Rayback concert for its second year, performing this time in a clarinet quartet. She says this setting gives performers and audience members a chance to build a connection that is often not possible in large concert halls.
“I remember little kids in the audience being fascinated by the different instruments,” she says. “We were able to connect more because people could see and pick out the individuals playing each part, as opposed to having the large group all together on stage.”
McKinney says that’s what makes the experience of performing in a more inviting, casual environment special—and worth repeating. “We can’t expect them to come to us. It’s also important for the community to recognize that what we’re doing is exciting, vital and important to society.
“That’s what playing music is like in the real world,” Kennedy adds. “It’s about going out into the community, playing in unique spaces and creating new experiences for people who might not otherwise come hear you perform at a concert hall.”
The Wind Symphony at Boulder’s Rayback Collective is Saturday, Oct. 20, at 1 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public. Rayback Collective is located at 2775 Valmont Road in Boulder. For more information, visit cupresents.org.