The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
A program of The Schubert Club, Theoroi is a select group of arts ambassadors ages 21-35 who attend a curated series of varied arts events. The program aims to cultivate the next generation of arts audiences by sparking curiosity about the arts and spreading this curiously virally through the use of social media.
On Wednesday, February 27 the Theoroi group was scheduled to see Shara Worden perform Sarah Kirkland Snider's song cycle Penelope with yMusic on the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra's new Liquid Music Series. However, because of the ongoing labor disputes at the SPCO, yMusic was unable to perform, and the group experienced a much different, yet not at all disappointing, program. The program featured just Shara Worden and her percussion accompanist, Brian Wolfe, and they performed music from Shara Worden's project: My Brightest Diamond.
Steve Seel, host of Minnesota Public Radio's The Current facilitated a discussion with Shara Worden, Sarah Kirkland Snider and Theoroi members prior to the Liquid Music performance.
Theoroi member, Libby Holden, writes about the evening: The performance featured just two musicians: Shara Worden, multi-faceted vocalist, and percussionist Brian Wolfe. While Mr. Wolfe deftly handled a drum set, Ms. Worden sang, danced and played no less than seven instruments. Ms. Worden’s music, with its emotionally intense lyrics, is evocative yet fanciful, and her voice can produce a deep resonance on command. Even more impressive, Dave Hendricks noted, is that Ms. Worden “plays a kick-ass guitar, too!” They turned the SPCO’s Music Room into an echo chamber of fluid sound, leaving a lasting impression on members of Theoroi. As member Jana Sackmeister said, it was enough to “give me shivers”.
At a panel shortly before the evening’s performance, Ms. Worden proved that her depth extends beyond her personal work. She spoke passionately about the changes facing classically-trained opera vocalists, who face transitioning to microphone-based performances and back again; the rising expectations put on touring musicians by audiences accustomed to listening to recorded tracks; and how she wished more composers would take a performer’s vocal health into consideration, among other subjects. Sarah Kirkland Snider, who composed the Penelope series with Ms. Worden’s voice in mind, also participated in the panel and was able to balance the conversation by offering the composer’s perspective. Together, the women presented a wellspring of talent that has clearly resulted in a productive collaboration. Theoroi members were fortunate to experience both the art and the person behind the art.
This evening led to many questions among the Theoroi group about the ongoing negotiations with the two Twin Cities orchestras, so as a result an extra enrichment event was organized to dig into this topic. Barry Kempton, artistic and executive director of The Schubert Club, and Euan Kerr, editor and arts reporter for Minnesota Public Radio, met with the group to talk about the challenges the orchestra and classical music world is facing.
Euan Kerr, editor and arts reporter for Minnesota Public Radio and Barry Kempton, artistic and executive director of The Schubert Club, talk with the Theoroi group about the state of classical music and the ongoing labor negotiations in the Twin Cities
The group's March outing was to the Walker Art Center where they saw Kyle Abraham's dance performance titled Abraham.In.Motion. This performance combines Hip hop culture with contemporary dance to break down gender roles and masculinity. The group had an opportunity to hear a few words from Mr. Abraham prior to the performance about his inspiration for the work and then met afterward to discuss and interpret what they had just seen.
The group has three remaining events this season. Learn more and follow the action at schubert.org/theoroi.