The organization, which formed in January 2017, has a goal of making classical music accessible to populations who might not otherwise get to hear it.
Annie Blanks @DestinLogAnnie
NICEVILLE — The Emerald Coast Music Alliance is bringing art back to the Emerald Coast, one concert at a time.
The organization, which formed in January 2017, has a goal of making classical music accessible to populations who might not otherwise get to hear it, said Dr. Bob Morell, a founding member and coordinator of the alliance.
“A group of interested citizens have been working together to form the Emerald Coast Music Alliance, which is dedicated to the mission to bring classical music on a no-cost basis to populations that otherwise would have little or no access to it, such as the elderly, disabled individuals, special needs citizens, folks in nursing homes and children in schools,” Morell said.
The group works in partnership with the Northwest Florida State College Foundation and relies on private citizens to donate to fund its efforts, which consist of taking a quintet (five-person musical ensemble) directly into classrooms, nursing homes, homeless facilities and other places. The alliance is the brainchild of Alon Goldstein, an Israeli-born pianist who has played all over the world and now spends much of his time traveling throughout Northwest Florida to be part of the five-piece symphony.
Goldstein said he formed the group in the hopes of keeping the magic of art, specifically the art of classical music, alive.
“Art has the power to make anywhere a better place to live, and we are all voicing concerns that there is less and less art in school,” Goldstein said. “I think the reason we’re still listening to Bach and Mozart and Beethoven is because it’s music that transcends time and space … art is greater than we are, it’s an incredible power, and we have this gift that people left us and we need to be using it.”
The concerts have been played at local elementary and middle schools, homeless shelters and nursing homes. Goldstein said the 45-minute concerts are interactive in that he explains the pieces and the instruments to the crowd, lets them ask questions and sometimes lets them touch and interact with the instruments, which include a piano, cello, violin, viola and bass.
Goldstein said at a recent concert, he informed the crowd of schoolchildren the last song was about to be played, and a child raised her hand and asked if they could play “20 more songs.”
“The reaction from people, especially young children, is extraordinary,” Goldstein said. “When you go to an elementary school and ask if they have any questions, and 200 kids raise their hands, it’s just a powerful and wonderful thing.”
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