When the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra performs this Tuesday night, it will be for their biggest audience of the year. For the past six years, the orchestra has held annual concerts at Casa de Dios, a Hispanic church in East Nashville with over 2000 congregants.
Since the 80-member NPO doesn’t have a permanent home, they’ve done a lot of playing of non-traditional venues, including churches, universities and elementary schools. “We get to explore parts of the city we’ve never been to before,” says Susan Dupont, NPO’s Marketing Chair. All that exploring works well to help fulfill the organization’s mission, which is to bring “high quality symphonic music to areas that rarely experience live orchestral music in their neighborhoods.”
For many people, attending an orchestral performance for the first time can be intimidating. In addition to bringing music into accessible venues, NPO’s performance on Tuesday will be free. “We think of ourselves as ambassadors of classical music,” Dupont explains, “and we like to take the hesitancy out of taking that first step.”
Dupont says the response from audiences has been overwhelmingly positive, and that many return to see another NPO performance or purchase tickets to the Nashville Symphony or events at TPAC. Overall, she hopes that audiences will continue to seek out other opportunities to hear classical music and make it a regular part of their lives.
Raquel Rodriguez, a member of Casa de Dios, says the church truly enjoys working with NPO. In addition to Nashville audiences (who can attend in person or tune into a broadcast on Radio Vida 1130 AM), the church will also live stream the concert to a gathered audience at a sister church in Guatemala. Anyone can tune into the stream on the Casa de Dios Facebook page.
NPO Music Director Christopher Norton has thoughtfully chosen a program that Dupont hopes audiences will find accessible, familiar, and a little bit challenging. Brahms’ Double Concerto (featuring cellist Michael Samis and violinist Denise Baker) will anchor the evening with Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music. NPO will also perform Mexican composer Arturo Marquez’s lively Danzón No. 2, chosen specifically with Casa de Dios audiences in mind. Several seasonal and popular selections round out the program.
Tuesday night’s performance will begin at 7:30PM and is free and open to the public.