With concert halls still shuttered and indoor live events suspended, Jamaica Plain-based A Far Cry has planned a fall season of virtual programming that listeners can watch from home. But before the wind takes a turn for the chilly, the conductorless string orchestra will take the show under the open sky this weekend with an interactive outdoor concert, featuring chamber music miniatures alongside visual art curated by local teaching artist Zahirah Nur Truth.
Originally, the concert — titled “Treasure Hunt” — planned to send audience members along a preset path to encounter musicians. However, to allow the most people possible to experience the concert while adhering to restrictions on gatherings, the audience will now be split into small groups at a few mystery locations, with small ensembles of performers rotating between spots.
For the visual arts component of the event, Truth called in 10 local artists; four will contribute to the in-person event, having their work paired with live music, and six will have their work showcased online where at-home audiences can tune into a livestream. Artworks include a tribute to Black lives by Adebukola Ajao and paintings connecting nature and dance by Jeremy Goldberg, Truth said. The musical program centers on living composers, including Katherine Balch, Jessie Montgomery, and A Far Cry bassist Karl Doty; pieces by Grazyna Bacewicz and Antonín Dvořák are also on the agenda.
“What we’re really trying to do is have people be present in their bodies, remember what it’s like to be outside, and be expressive and creative," Truth said. “They get to interact with visual art in person, live music — there’s also a dancer — and each participant will receive a care package with materials for them to create their own work.”
With this experience, Truth aims to leave participants with something more substantial than the memory of a pleasant afternoon surrounded by art and music. “I’ve been hearing from friends that people are a little stir-crazy, or if they’ve had creativity, it’s dwindled,” Truth said. “This is just a way to spark people’s creativity, or have them think differently — and take a moment to focus on something intentional, for yourself.”
Zoë Madonna can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @knitandlisten. Madonna’s work is supported by the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.