By Annalisa Boerner, Resident Violist
“I’m not sure about this one. I think we might just be playing for an empty bus stop.”
I wasn’t optimistic when I texted a friend about Wednesday’s String Quartet Truck stop at the College and Chapel Street corner of the New Haven Green. It was in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week, in the middle of the city. In comparison to our popular lunch stop by the Cedar Street food trucks, the sparsely-populated Green felt inauspicious.
Our lively truck driver (Keith Galberth of the New Haven Parks and Recreation Department) cranked his F350 up onto the green with the quartet’s trailer bumping along behind. We brought the trailer to rest in a puddle of shade, its “String Quartet Truck” banner facing out toward Chapel Street. There were pedestrians occupying our newly created audience area on Chapel. As it turned out, they were willing to hang out for 10 minutes before we played, waiting for us to unpack and plug in (we play on amplified electric instruments for these outdoor shows).
In the glow of their attention, I began to feel more optimistic about our little pop-up concert’s chances for success. We began to play. The sounds of Astor Piazzolla’s fiery “Libertango” created a magnetic pull, drawing additional people in toward us. We followed the tango with a “Concerto Grosso” by Vivaldi, and our audience grew a little more. A man approached the side of the truck and called up to us that he had heard us at the train station the night before — we even had a repeat customer.
The rest of the show progressed similarly, as passers-by of all ages glommed onto our growing audience. We toggled among an array of classical and pop tunes from J. S. Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No. 3″ to Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me,” arranged by our very own Resident Cellist Philip Boulanger.
Even in the middle of the afternoon, in the middle of the week, downtown New Haven had plenty of those passers-by, the kind who were happy to stay awhile in order to hear some music. It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind of being a practicing musician and forget how arresting our music can be. As it turned out, Wednesday afternoon’s concert was the perfect reminder that music can bring people together, even when the circumstances may look rather inauspicious at first.
Click HERE to see photos of the String Quartet Truck performing in front of the Yale Whale and Union Station, on June 14, 2016!
Click HERE to see photos of the String Quartet Truck on the New Haven Green on June 11, 2016!
Photos by Kathleen Cei