Britt Festivals

A Group Outing at Britt

Posted Sep 07, 2011 at 12:56 PM in Classical, Behind The Scenes

Written by Kat Koury, Britt Marketing Intern

As a photography intern at Britt, I usually just take photos and sometimes I don't know what to expect. However, one particular evening this summer I was expecting some very important people.

I kept checking my watch. Seven o'clock, no bus. Seven fifteen, no bus. Seven twenty, no bus. The August 19th, "Festival Favorites" classical concert didn't begin until 8 o'clock, but I didn't want to miss their arrival. Finally, I heard it and went down to receive the passengers. A white bus with basketballs, tennis rackets and "Medford" plastered across the side came rolling up in front of the main Britt entrance, with precious cargo in tow. They weren't athletes, they were a group of enthusiastic patrons, all senior citizens.

It's not out of the norm to see a group of people like this at Britt. However, this was a group who did not ordinarily have the opportunity to come. Queue a community outreach initiative courtesy of Britt Festivals. In an effort to increase access to classical music, and to continue to serve the community, Britt donated 50 tickets to the Medford Senior Center (MSC) for two concerts, thanks to grants from the Carpenter Foundation and Collins Foundation, and with help from Laidlaw Transit, Inc. Many residents of the MSC live on fixed incomes.

As the group got off the bus, Sky-their bus driver- took care to help everyone off and quickly supported a woman who lost her footing on the oversized bus steps. I could tell he was a compassionate guy and he later told me "what a great opportunity" he thought this was for them because "they love coming here." Sky added that the best thing "is the look on their eyes." In addition to the concert tickets, this outing provided group transportation and allowed those without a leisure fund to do something special.

When Britt's Director of Performing Arts Angela Warren greeted the audience before the show began, she asked: "How many of you are first timers?" About twenty hands made their way into the air from the group from the MSC.

Sky didn't have to tell me about the look in their eyes, because I could see it for myself. They were excited. One woman kept peering onto the stage, raising her head up and down, left and right, to take all of it in, just waiting for the show to begin. They were also thankful. Another woman gushed, "it's a great family kind of thing." Coincidentally, I later learned the same woman had met Mollie Britt (the daughter of Peter Britt, whose historic estate the music festival is built on and for whom the festival is named) more than 60 years earlier when she first moved to the Valley. Talk about a ‘family kind of thing.'

In having a couple conversations with the seniors, I could tell they were anxiously waiting for the show to start. Eyes were darting onto the stage every time another orchestra member took her place and thumbs kept flipping the same pages in the program. As I left them to enjoy the concert, I gave a word of advice: if you have a hearing aid, be prepared to adjust at the end of the 1812 Overture. I hope their eyes lit up just like the cannons.


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