This weekend was the 2013 Annual Columbus Arts Festival where folks from all over central Ohio had the opportunity to journey downtown to enjoy a day of wandering amongst beautiful art of all kinds from artists around the region and country. In addition to 270+ artists’ hawking their wares all along the Scioto Mile downtown, festival attendees were also treated to some great food and live music and storytelling all day long on three different stages interspersed throughout the festival.
This weekend and along with other local arts organizations, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra (CSO) had a great presence next to CATCO and CAPA. Musicians (and other assorted volunteers) were out in full force talking to everyone who stopped by – or even walked by! We had a great time talking to everyone about the pops season that starts next week and the upcoming Classical Music series which is going to be absolutely incredible (slightly biased opinion admitted) in 2013-2014. Seriously – it’s like Candy Land for classical music lovers!
People we talked to were very excited about the upcoming performances of Beethoven’s 5th, Rossini’s Barber of Seville, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto #2 and one person stopped dead in her tracks when I told her about Mozart’s Requiem. “They’re performing his requiem? Really? WHEN?!” I loved her enthusiasm! And by the way, it’ll be performed April 11-12 along with Four Last Songs by Strauss.
We all wore name tags which included a picture of the instrument we play (or in my case, played – past tense!) I was always pretty amused when people would ask me if I played clarinet for the Symphony. HA! “Oh heck no! The Symphony is GOOD! They don’t want me to play. I just stay back and watch from the balcony. You should join me!” Whenever they’d ask that, I’d also refer them to the real musicians, such as Betsy – Bassonist or Jude – Harpist or Adam who plays the French Horn (pictured above with his wife, Kat). I discovered that he and I have a shared appreciation of the theme music to several Star Trek movies (including the two recent releases) which employ French Horns for the main melody. Gorgeous! I also learned that he played in a concert down in Cincinnati that showcased music from various Star Trek movies. I’m guessing that was his version of musical Candy Land!
I’ve never been to a Picnic With the Pops performance with the CSO before so it was interesting talking to people about it based on zero experience. That’s OK – learning a lot along the way, I muddled through and could talk at least about upcoming performances like the Pointer Sisters this weekend to kick off the series (Chaka Khan had medical issues and had to cancel), Kansas and Natalie Merchant on July 6 and 13th, respectively. A lot of us also talked about a group I’d never heard of before, called Pink Martini, which is performing on June 22. No one could really describe their music, except to say that they were extremely good and quite entertaining. One couple I spoke to said that NPR’s Ari Shapiro occasionally performs with them which they liked because they think he’s cute. Had to laugh at that one!
I did talk to a couple who just moved to Columbus from Portland, OR, which is apparently Pink Martini’s hometown. This couple, who was kind enough to fill out one of my Arts surveys, told me that Pink Martini was indeed a terrific group that not only plays an eclectic mix of music, but that also sings in a variety of languages. As a linguist, hearing this totally piqued my curiosity. Now I have to check them out!
As you can see, it was a beautiful day in downtown Columbus, Ohio yesterday. While my feet were completely sore after standing on hard pavement for 4 hours and then walking the festival with my mom for another hour and a half – even stopping by the water color-filled booth of my friend’s aunt, Wanda Zuchowski-Schick, – I must say that the day was a good one.
Downtown Columbus has so much going for it in terms of night life, festivals, live music performances of all kinds, shops, you name it. I hope that more and more people will continue to take advantage of it as the summer progresses. We’ve got a great city here, folks. Come on over and check it out!