The Lakeside Association in Lakeside, Ohio, presented Cantus in July 2010.
This Performing Arts Fund—supported engagement featured a full-length public performance by vocal ensemble Cantus, along with several educational activities, reaching nearly 900 people in the Lakeside community over the ensemble’s three days in residence. Cantus is recognized as one of America’s finest vocal chamber ensembles, and is known for adventurous programming that spans many periods and genres, including chant, Renaissance music, contemporary works, art song, folks, spirituals, world music, and pop. In addition to its busy performance schedule, Cantus is also an active proponent of music education, working with more than 10,000 young people throughout the United States each year in educational activities ranging from master classes to festivals and collaborations.
The Lakeside Association’s goal is to introduce as many people to the arts as possible. Its season attendance, for the 75 events presented each year, averages over 50,000. One of the strengths of Lakeside is that there are a variety of inter-generational activities scheduled for its guests to enjoy together. Through the public performance and the outreach activities, the organization was able to reach area children who come from economically depressed families and who had not attended a concert nor had access to vocal workshops in the past. In particular, the handful of youths who were able to attend the workshop were very connected to the program.
Cantus’ repertoire for the evening concert spanned a wide range of periods and genres, including “Khorumi,” from the folk-dance music of Adzharia, a Georgian province; contemporary composer Eric Whitacre’s “Lux Aurumque”; Franz Schubert’s “Die Nacht”; and commissioned pieces, spirituals, and Broadway songs. Lakeside and the surrounding community enjoyed this wonderfully diverse concert which helped to expand the audiences’ exposure to unique choral music. The nine-member a cappella group had a wonderful stage presence and interacted well with the audience, through their narratives before each piece as well as through their sense of humor.
The ensemble also led educational activities that included a workshop for youths of all ages (called “the hit of the residency” by Lakeside staff; the attendees talked about it for days), a post-performance dialogue, and a mini-concert for residents of the Otterbein North Shore Assisted Living Facility community in nearby Marblehead. In addition, more than 30 Otterbein North Shore residents came over on their tour bus to attend the public performance. This collaboration helps form a deeper bond between Lakeside Association and the Otterbein-North Shore community.
“This event [at Otterbein North Shore] was geared for those residents in the highest level of the care facility who are unable to move unassisted, and therefore unable to attend programs outside the immediate facility. Most don’t have verbal skills any more, and music is a perfect way to communicate with them. This program is one of the highlights for the Lakeside and Otterbein staffs as well as those residents who attend. The performers interacted with the residents and seemed to enjoy this opportunity as well. Most meaningful moment was seeing the residents clap along to songs from their past; it was obvious the music was connecting with them.” –- The Lakeside Association staff
This engagement was a Star Project that engaged a Midwest artist.