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Music for People Workshop Being Held Oct. 26
Musicians of all ages and abilities are invited to attend a daylong Music for People (MfP) workshop at Onondaga Community College (OCC).
Titled “A Day of Improvisation,” the workshop is Saturday, Oct. 26, from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in OCC’s Academic II building at 4585 West Seneca Turnpike in Syracuse.
The event features six facilitators, including Mary Knysh, a world-renowned multi-instrumentalist, recording artist and educator, and Alina Plourde, an oboe instructor in the Setnor School of Music in Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA).
“A Day of Improvisation” is open to the public, and costs $75 before Oct. 21 and $85 after Oct. 22. Family rates, scholarships and sliding scale tuition are available. For more information and to register, visit www.musicforpeople.org, or contact Plourde at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Co-founded in 1986 by cellist David Darling (Bobby McFerrin, Paul Winter Consort) and flutist Bonnie Insull, MfP is a nonprofit worldwide organization dedicated to music making and music improvisation as a means of self-expression.
MfP boasts satellite programs throughout North America and Europe, including a new one in Central New York.
“We believe any combination of people and instruments can make music together,” says Plourde, who regularly plays with Symphoria and other local groups, such as the Society for New Music and Tri-Cities Opera in Binghamton. “Whether you’re a professional performer, a teacher, a student, a dancer or someone with an interest in music-making, you’ll get something out of the workshop.”
“A Day of Improvisation” is open to vocalists and instrumentalists of all stripes, and seeks to provide inspiration and new ideas for composers, songwriters and music educators. Electives include singing, drumming, movement, visual art, chamber music playing and group facilitation.
Plourde extends a “special invitation” to people who do not read music and to classically trained musicians who want to explore other idioms, such as folk, rock, jazz or world music.
She also is excited to reunite with Knysh, an MfP teacher and trainer who travels the world, offering music improvisation seminars and drum circle facilitator trainings and performances.
In addition to working for MfP, Knysh has founded a company called Rhythmic Connections, which advances health, education and creative development through ethnic-influenced music improvisation activities.
“She is a cutting-edge facilitator who can work with groups of any age and experience,” says Plourde, who also teaches music at OCC and the Montessori School of Syracuse. “Her energy is contagious.”
Knysh and Plourde are joined by four other facilitators:
- Christy Clavio, a professional teaching artist and musician from Asheville, North Carolina, specializing in multicultural music;
- Jimbo Talbot, a Syracuse-based drum circle facilitator, sound therapist, vocalist and performer;
- Jessica King, contrabassoonist and second bassoonist of Symphoria who, along with Plourde, is a founding member of the New Leaf Ensemble improvisational collective; and
- Laura Enslin, a soprano soloist and recitalist and former VPA instructor, who is founder of the CNY Singing Garden voice studio.
Plourde says that while attendees are encouraged to bring their own instruments, they may experiment with any of the dozens of multicultural instruments at the workshop, ranging from mbiras, hand-pans and pianos to a variety of djembe drums.
“This is our third year offering the event. The feeling of community, the deep listening, the artistry and the beautiful music created on the spot amaze me every time,” she adds.
MfP offers seminars and workshops on both sides of the Atlantic, in addition to the three-year Musician and Leadership Program. The organization’s humanistic and inclusive philosophy (in which “there are no wrong notes,” Darling writes) is popular among performers, composers, music educators and expressive arts therapists.