This past weekend I went to a concert at one of our local churches; Westminster Presbyterian. The Akron Baroque Orchestra was in performance. It was well attended, of high quality, in a beautiful a setting with great acoustics, and within walking distance of the rectory. What more could one ask for?
There is a great tradition of churches, particularly the Catholic Church, of being patronesses of the arts. In different times of our history the church may have been used for concerts (of certain sorts – never any age’s equivalent of acid rock or the like) and the courtyard of monasteries, often the center of old European towns, have had stages set up in them for everything from an orchestra concert to an opera.
The few churches in our area have had a wonderful concert season. This year one could hear everything from the Akron Symphony Chorus, Apollo’s Fire, Summit Choral Society, to local choirs. It is an outstanding opportunity not only to hear quality music and excellent settings, but (I dare say) an even greater opportunity to introduce families to the art of listening to a concert. (Please don’t take you kids unless you are willing to do the work to teach them how to attend a concert because chances are I will be sitting next to you and say a rosary against you if you let your kids talk and play.)
Often the concerts are of a shorter nature and usually free (save for a free will offering) or much cheaper than a more professional venue making them idea to take a family of five, six, or seven. Instead of paying $50 dollars a head, for a donation of $20 or so the family can learn (and they MUST learn from their parents – no school can do it for you) how to sit still and listen for an extended period of time AND unless they are VERY careful, they may develop a taste for higher music over time.
The unfortunate part is that there is not a community wide listing of concerts. It would be cool if somebody who has a lot of money and does not know what to do with it would put together a flier (that could also be used as a program) that listed the Churches in the part of town and all of the concerts that they provide that could go out to the community (as is found in many communities) letting them know of the gold mine – the outstanding opportunities that they have right in their own backyard.