Of course it’s perfectly possible to have amazing, enriching, standing-up-whooping-with-joy level of enjoyment of a Mendocino Music Festival concert, knowing only that you love it. We also know that when music becomes more intricate, and expressive of more nuanced levels of human experience, knowledge can greatly deepen the listening experience. The Festival’s founders envisioned a community of musicians and music lovers; a richly symbiotic atmosphere of mutual learning and shared experience.
In the early years there were pre-concert lectures (see past years), and eventually, the Piano Series (see past years), with its lecture/performance format. Next came our Emerging Artists program, in which young string player professionals are coached throughout the two weeks, culminating in their concert on the final Friday afternoon. By the mid-years, Susan Waterfall had begun her scholarly productions (or see current year only). You keep telling us that you want to know more; what is music made of, how does it work. We’re working towards producing more lectures, to keep us all inspired during those long months between Festival seasons.
In 2015, realizing the need for youth music education, we partnered with the Community Center of Mendocino to create our first week-long day camp, Operation Opera, to correspond with the Festival’s opera production. In 2016 we added Operation Orchestra, to take place during the second week of the Festival.
The Festival Chorus is a vital part of our community of musicians and music lovers; dedicated, skilled amateurs, from around Mendocino County. In 2018 we created the Festival Chamber Chorale, a sixteen voice auditioned ensemble, for singers who want to take choral singing to the next level. As part of our emerging vocal music department, Fall 2019 saw the addition of courses in sight-reading and vocal pedagogy.
Although we didn’t invent the program, we’re pleased with our developing symbiosis with Alex de Grassi’s Intensive Guitar Workshop. This week-long workshop culminates in a concert in Preston Hall, which includes some of the students.
The Festival Orchestra is the heart of the Festival, and its rehearsals are open to the public. Children can be exposed to the glories of this music and adults revel in listening to ways in which the music is honed.