Kirby in the Big Apple

My first time to NYC was great. Everybody was getting
annoyed by me because all they heard was “ooh” and “wow.” It’s definitely an
amazing city and definitely not Providence. I loved it but I don’t think I’d
ever want to live there. Sometimes I just want to rest and I don’t think I’d be
able to rest there. Also the Westin hotel was great and had an amazing view. My
favorite part had to be the Ferris wheel at Toys R Us because it was new. But I
don’t think that I didn’t like anything about NYC. Thanks for taking us!

~*~Kirby~*~ (a.k.a Fidelia Vasquez)


Kirby, Itza and Carolina accompanied the PSQ to New
York City for a fundraiser on Saturday. Carolina was a NYC veteran, but for
Itza and Kirby, it was their first trip to Manhattan. I had a great time
checking out the musical instrument exhibit with them at the Metropolitan
Museum. How amazing, some of the early stringed instruments, such as the arpeggiones, the lutes, the mandolins with their intricate carvings and additional resonating strings! Grace, a former CMW cello mentor and current NYC school teacher joined us at the Museum after Kirby managed to rouse her from her peaceful Saturday morning slumber. On Friday evening with Sebastian and Minna, we even scored some free tickets for a
chamber music concert at Carnegie Hall performed by the Fellows of the pilot
Carnegie-Juilliard-Weill Institute "Academy."

Marlow, CMW staff

NYC report from mem1

Being new to the East Coast, I was incredibly
excited to have the opportunity to perform in New York in December. With the
help of Rachel Sokolow and the Om Factory, my electro acoustic duo mem1 was
able to give our debut in NYC, in a small benefit concert for CMW.

I never really got to spend much time in New York and never really believed
what people told me about it. How could a city be so vibrant and alive as
everyone had been telling me? But after just a couple hours of being in town, I
understood, and I was in love. There was this incredible energy everywhere we
went and I felt as though the opportunities to experience amazing music, art,
and food were endless.

After fighting horrible traffic packed with herds of aggressive cab drivers we
made it to the Om Factory with just enough time for a sound check. We were
greeted by our very warm and open hosts and felt very comfortable the whole the
evening. mem1 did two sets, and then Mark and I each did solo performances:
Mark presented an audio/visual work he had completed during his first semester
at RISD and I played "Curve with Plateau" by Jonathan Harvey.

The Om Factory was a wonderful space to play in with great natural acoustics, a
wonderful view, and an inviting audience. We couldn’t have asked for a better
introduction to New York. We look forward to returning this summer as
Artists-in-Residence at Harvestworks, where we will be producing a surround
sound recording that will be a "visceral sonic tour through the bowels and
ephemera of the cello."

-Laura Thomas-Merino, CMW Fellow


On Friday, the Providence String Quartet, Minna, and Heath visited an amazing program in Harlem and were rewarded with an energizing, affirming experience. Brotherhood/Sister Sol was started in 1995 by two Brown University grads, Jason
Warwin and Khary Lazarre-White. Our contact there was Tara Mack, another Brown grad involved in the project, operating out of a brownstone near the corner of 143rd and Amsterdam.

Bro/Sis serves two hundred Black and Latino kids after school, providing mentoring, leadership development, international study, academic
tutoring, internships, community service, job training, and youth organizing activities. Like CMW, they strive to empower youth to develop into creative thinkers and community leaders.


The highlight of our four hour visit was the teen writing circle that we sat in on for a couple hours, with the PSQ members supplying improvised music under gritty, powerful, funny, often challenging poetry shared by the Bro/Sis teen group. Here’s a scrap that I managed to jot down:

Look at all the Blacks in jail
Seems like America’s having a slavery clearance sale.


"The music enhances the emotion and the strength of the poetry… It was great how you could give them two or three words about what the poem was about and they could make something up." -Marsha

"It was just hot. Some people the way they wanted their poem to sound, the music made it sound better. It tried to show what the emotion of the poem was." -James

-Heath Marlow, CMW staff

Visiting Bro/Sis was unusually inspiring. I met a very talented cellist named Chris who became my instant buddy. He performed for the first time in front of his buddies that day (with some accompaniment from the quartet). The smile on his face after the performance was infectious and kept me going all weekend! He kept asking me how far Providence was, and I started wishing, for the first time, that Providence was a suburb of New York!

-Sara Stalnaker, Providence Quartet

Master of the violin AND the viola

Yes, it’s true. Our fearless leader Sebastian Ruth has been selected by the Providence Monthly Magazine as one of the ten people in 2007 who you don’t yet know but are likely to change the face of Providence.

Not only that, he is the only one of "this year’s class of future local celebrities" who is a "master of both the violin and viola." But seriously, congratulations Sebastian on this recognition for your personal commitment to changing lives in Providence’s West End over these last ten years.

Click here to read the feature while it is online this month.

-Heath Marlow, CMW staff

The violin project

Three Rhode Island violinmakers (each wonderful supporters of CMW individually) are currently working on a new project: they are collaboratively building a fine violin that they will donate to CMW when their work is completed in April.

Modeled on a 1742 Guarneri "del Jesu," the violin is being constructed from the finest Boznian maple and high altitude Austrian spruce.

More on this exciting project later, but here are three photos from a mid-December violin building session hosted by Andrew Ryan, pictured along with Tucker Densley and Karl Dennis. All photos donated by Krzystyna Harber.

-Heath Marlow, CMW staff

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