Go Out and See Live Music

Posted by Laurie Russell, Executive Director

My work day allows me to be surrounded by people playing live music throughout much of the afternoon and evening. I also have the joy of attending countless concerts and recitals throughout the school year at Winchester Community Music School. However, my family and I still prioritize going out to see live music performances whenever possible. Why? Many reasons. It inspires us to reach new levels with our own musical study; we discover new and exciting artists; we support the livelihoods of professional musicians; and we help ensure that presenting venues continue to operate. Here is how that played out over the past few months in our household.


I'm With HerLast summer kicked off with a getaway to Tanglewood. We were headed to see a performance of Chris Thile's radio show "Live from Here" with special guests "I'm With Her." We brought along two friends who did not know anything about the show, reassuring them that they would enjoy it. To watch the musicians interact on stage, recover from spots when things didn't go exactly as rehearsed, and see their earnest excitement in creating music together was mesmerizing. I am a recent adopter of the ukulele craze. I came away with ideas of few new tunes to work out on the uke, and our friends learned about some new artists to enjoy again in the future.


There is a fun ensemble that percussion faculty member Sylvie Zakarian introduced me to years ago, "Pink Martini." Their motto is "if the United Nations had a house band in 1962, hopefully we'd be that band." We decided that we would go see them and bring along family, including my parents who are in their mid-80s. Mom and Dad had a great time, bought a CD, and reminded me that you can discover new music that you enjoy at any age!

I also enjoy when I get introduced to a new artist. This happened recently at a local house concert. I was encouraged to attend to check out a singer/songwriter named Ali McGuirk. She is a very cool up-and-coming musician who has a great way of singing a phrase and letting it settle into silence before moving on. This time, I was the one who came home with a new CD.

Support For Musicians

Here is where I like to get local in my support. It is always great to go out and see our tried-and-true favorites when they tour the local area, but we need to remember to support the local musicians that regularly play at The Burren, Club Passim, Lizard Lounge, Regattabar, and many other local venues. They make their livelihoods from a variety of gigs, teaching, and day jobs. Yes, they may enjoy their teaching or day jobs but they have trained to be performers and enjoy it immensely when they see friends, students, and neighbors in the audience. And, your purchase of a ticket helps them get paid.

Patronize Local Music Venues

We are losing some great local places to see live music: Ryles Jazz Club and Johnny D's Uptown come to mind. It may be because we have not been buying tickets to ensure that these places can afford to stay open and promote local talent. Annie Haslam of Renaissance hit the nail on the head in a recent concert at Tupelo Music Hall. She thanked the audience for being there because if we do not come out to see their shows, they cannot continue to book the artists that are on tour.

We are about to enter the time of year when there will be countless opportunities to attend concerts and recitals. There are many events that are very family-friendly during the holiday season. Nothing will inspire your young music student more than to see someone playing their instrument live on stage. For more seasoned listeners, you can find concerts with almost any type of music that you enjoy. If you are looking for low-cost options for live music, check out your local music schools and churches as often those performances can be free or very accessible in pricing. What are you planning to go see in the next few weeks? Send us an email and let us know!