Audience Engagement, Community Outreach, Education, Future of Music, Inspirational Stories, Travel

Familiar Territory


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This is the third update from Music in Familiar Spaces on musicovation. To read their first two posts, click here: Music in Familiar Spaces: Two Months In, Music in Familiar Spaces: January Update

We are Steuart and Michelle Pincombe. Every week we travel to a new place, meet new people, and present concerts in new places. We tell people our story – in a nutshell – of how we grew tired with our busy careers in Europe and decided to live in a 1959 travel trailer for one year, travel the country and bring classical music to non-traditional venues. We call the project Music in Familiar Spaces, because on its most basic level, that’s all it is: [classical] music in [people’s] familiar spaces.

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Steuart played for a packed house at Port City Brewing in Alexandria, VA.

One of the most difficult things for us has been the unfamiliarity of each new space or community we enter. We need to somehow figure out a venue in which to play, one that is well-connected and well-respected by their community, and figure out how to tell people about the concert. When we arrive, we need to figure out where to get groceries and a good cup of coffee, and where we can let our dog run around. We need to figure out how to tell our story to each new audience in a way that will be clear and relatable. As we enter places that are familiar to most everyone else there – the local cafe or bar, their church or home – we feel like strangers.

And then the music starts.  At once we are in familiar territory – we know how to do this. This shared experience gives us all something in common. It gives us all permission to relate to each other in a way a bit more intimately than strangers. We can’t tell you how many profoundly meaningful conversations we have had with audience members after concerts, people whom we had just met. At once we are no longer strangers.

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Steuart’s Bach & Beer concerts draw a great mix of people. Here he is at Anthem Brewing in Oklahoma City, OK. Photo by Nigel Bland.

We still have almost six months to go on our yearlong journey. It’s an incredible privilege to be able to do a project like this, and there’s no way we could have done it alone. In fact, there are thousands of people who have supported Music in Familiar Spaces in one way or another: letting us park our home in their driveway, recommending a venue, inviting their friends to concerts, coming to concerts, playing in concerts, sharing a news article about our project on social media, and so on. That is what makes this project so special: people of all backgrounds are supporting classical music in a direct way, from the ground up. We just get to bring it to them.

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We hope you will take a moment to get to know our project by visiting our website. We still have much of the country to visit, so be sure to check out our route and upcoming concerts.

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