Building Community Through Music

By Suzanne Besser

Working hand in hand with the Longy School of Music of Bard College and Beacon Hill Civic Association, Joy Street resident and artist Emily Weiskopf recently reinvented how neighbors can experience the arts and by doing so build community among each other.

More than 50 neighbors came together at An Evening at 74, which was held recently at 74 Joy Street in space transformed by Weiskopf and BHCA Executive Director Patricia Tully to resemble a warm and illuminated 19th century Beacon Hill parlor.

The Neave Trio, Longy’s 2017 Ensemble-in-Residence, departed from the way classical music is traditionally performed by musicians separated from the audience. Instead Violinist Anna Williams, Cellist Mikhail Veselov and Pianist Eri Nakamura engaged themselves with the audience by welcoming them to sit informally around them as they performed – just as they would have in the parlors of old.

Much-enjoyed artisan foods were prepared in the open kitchen by local Chef Nate Phinesse of Shepard restaurant and served by the musicians and others at an extended communal dining table.

Weiskopf, Longy School President Karen Zorn and Tully were pleased with how the evening turned out. “It was magical and more than I envisioned,” she said. “Everything came together naturally and the energy of the room continued to grow all night. What warmed me most of all was getting to spend time and getting to know people in the community in a relaxed, but meaningful fashion which created joy around us all.” 

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