On Charles Ives

Barb has a story worth hearing at length, so get a mug of your favourite libation and she’ll tell her tale:

The most memorable concert of my life was one I had the pleasure to be involved with. Fortunately, my involvement was minimal so I had the opportunity to experience most of it from the audience’s point of view. In the mid seventies, the Paul Winter Consort and the Yale Theater Orchestra collaborated for a series of concerts celebrating the one-hundredth birthday of American composer Charles Ives. I was a member of one of the sub groups, the West Redding Jews Harp Sextet, that performed only for ‘Washington’s Birthday’. Yes, the score was written for jews harps by Ives. The highlight of these performances (spanning about a three year period) was the one at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, on June 16, 1975, as we represented Connecticut in the Bicentennial Parade Of American Music. I’m sure Uncle Charlie was sitting in the back of the auditorium smiling and sneering at the scene.

Ives was a huge fan of parades and the aural cacophony they presented. The opening event for the concert mimicked the parade sensation by having the Consort and the Theater Orchestra (conducted by Ives scholar James Sinclair) playing a piece in the key of D major on stage while The Danbury Civil War Band (modeled after Ives’ father’s band) entered one door in the rear of the house playing in G major, and through the other rear door the Connecticut Rebels of ’76 Fife and Drum Corps came marching in playing in Bb major. They all converged in the front of the hall, the two marching bands mingling in front of the stage, then after a few moments they continued to march out of the hall leaving the stage musicians alone still playing in D. No one ever missed a beat or a note. They kept playing their original tunes, never playing together. It was incredible. And that was just the beginning of the evening.

There cheers and the requisite jeers, even some bah-humbuggers leaving in the middle, all evening. For the finale, all the artists involved converged on the stage. Having been so inspired by Paul Winter through the process of these Ives concerts, the two marching bands left the stage and marched out to the lobby just as the other two theaters were letting out. They marched through and around the crowd, then spilled outside the Center and marched around the building and out of site. That part was completely spontaneous. The other theater crowds had no idea what hit them. I could probably write a book about my whole experience. Paul, James and Charles changed my musical life and Charlie still makes appearances now and then to say hello.’

Barb Truex

Barbara Truex r has been involved with the Portland, Maine, performing arts scene since 1989 and before that in southwestern Connecticut. As an administrator, performer and/or designer she has worked or continues to work with several local organizations and individuals including Mad Horse Theatre, The Theater Project, Acorn Productions, Figures of Speech Theatre, Portland Stage Company, Ram Island Dance, Bates Dance Festival, Maine Jazz Alliance, Michael Lane Trautman, Loopin', the Maine Squeeze and more. As a volunteer she has served on the boards and committees of WMPG, Maine Composers Forum, Maine Jazz Alliance, and hosts a weekly radio program at WMPG. She is currently the Executive Director and resident sound designer for Mad Horse Theatre in Portland. Arts Resource Service is a full spectrum arts consultation company founded in the mid-1980's by Christopher White. Truex and White utilize their combined talents and experience to serve a broad based group of clients, providing an extremely large range of services including brokering art sales, exhibition design and installation, database creation and management, grant writing, Board development, fund raising, booking performances, financial management, and more. The couple ran the C.W. White Gallery from 2001 - 2004 presenting contemporary art from Maine and around the world. A performing musician since the 1960's, Ms. Truex has been active in a wide range of musical genres and contexts. She is recognized as an innovator for her use of the dulcimer in jazz, pop, free improvisational music and other settings beyond the familiar folk and traditional realms. She founded and directed the Northeast Dulcimer Symposium for 17 years -- a week-long intensive study session held in the Adirondacks. She has extensive experience working with dance and theater ensembles, as a composer, on-stage musical accompanist, and sound designer. She is a member of The Maine Squeeze accordion ensemble (as percussionist); and Loopin', a world beat dance band with an emphasis on African and Latin sounds. In Loopin', Ms. Truex performs primarily on electric dulcimer and ukuleles. Truex is also an owner/partner with Christopher White of Arts Resource Service, a full spectrum arts consultation company. Founded in the mid 1980's by White, ARS provides clients with an extremely large range of services including; brokering art sales, exhibition design and installation, database creation and management, grant writing, board development, fund raising, booking performances, financial management, audio production and more. White and Truex operated a fine art gallery on Congress St. in Portland for three years.

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