24/7 Concert to Mark the War Approaches

A few weeks ago, I posted the press release from the organizers of a 24 hour concert to mark seven years of war. The “24/7 Concert” is fast approaching: The music will start in the Weiden + Kennedy building at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, 2009 and continue until the same time on Sunday.

A few nights ago, I crept around the internet looking for information about the event and located an updated schedule on W+K Radio. But I got worried when I failed to find much more than that online. Indeed, my post on Culture Shock was eerily at the top of the search results – always a bad sign.

Yesterday, I called organizer Bill Crane for updates. In addition to being swamped by programming details and rehearsals (he’s not only producing the event, but will also be performing and conducting), Mr. Crane was ironing out niggling details such as liability insurance (which will be needed if a musician dozes off at 3:00 in the morning and causes a bassoon accident).

I applaud the vision and fortitude of Mr. Crane and his co-conspirator, Thomas Lauderdale. Imagine the logistics involved in putting together a program with over 250 artists performing over 24 hours. (Clarification: All 250 won't be performing for 24 hours). Just figuring out where to stack all the instrument cases must be a huge problem. Will a piano tuner be needed in the middle of the night for a quick adjustment?

Along with an updated performance schedule, Mr. Crane generously shared what he called his “stream of consciousness” ramblings about the scheduled acts, and his enthusiasm leaps delightfully from the page. Mr. Cranes concludes, "Does it matter? Will it do any good for a bunch of musicians to make a bunch of music as a comment about war? I don't know. Conversely, I know that remaining silent won't do any good ... If with all this great effort we wind up with at least one person who goes on and does what she must do, I'll be happy."

Mr. Crane's narrative was originally sent to David Stabler at the Oregonian, who is working on a story for Friday’s A&E. I don’t want to scoop that story by sharing further details. (Plus I’m lazy and not a journalist).

I will note that the schedule spans a range of musical genres from the opening with Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" (from a big brass band) and its conclusion, 24 hours later, with Beethoven's 9th (performed by an orchestra of 50 musicians and a chorus of 75). The event will include rousing percussion from Obo Addy to wake things up on Sunday morning, and more drums from Portland Taiko Sunday evening. The Oregon Symphony's concert master, Jun Iwasaki will show up at 5:00 in the morning to play with Thomas Lauderdale. Third Angle is appearing in the wee hours, along with plenty of solo piano, jazz bands, chanteuses, and piano prodigies throughout.

Donut makers, insomniacs and dairy farmers who are up at 4:00 a.m. on Sunday morning should drop in to hear the indescribable Sneakin' Out, featuring the crazy mandolin stylings of David Gerow, with the just-as-crazy rhythm section of Don Henson (percussion) and Mike "Cheddar" Schmitt (bass). Here's a video of the band playing a little classical music at the White Eagle.

I regret that Culture Shock doesn't have a cadre of interns to do our bidding. Had we such, I'd assign one to attend the entire event and live blog with posts at no less than 15 minute intervals. I'd do it myself, but I already know I wouldn't make it.

UPDATE: A poster for the event is now out (designed by Tony Frusciante), and is posted above.

UPDATE #2: Charles Noble, violist for the Oregon Symphony, has posted about a rehearsal for the final performance of the event on his blog "Daily Observations: Classical Music Insights."

UPDATE #3: David Stabler's piece on 24/7 is in today's A&E. In addition, on his OregonLive blog, Mr. Stabler has printed Bill Crane's entire "stream of consciousness" description the event.

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