The Arts, the Senses, and the Imagination
by Robert Millar on February 26th, 2014

A phenomenon has appeared in the last decade or so called the Flash Mob. The basic principle behind it is that a group of people prepare an agenda and then assemble, apparently spontaneously, at a predetermined location and carry out their plan --- much to the surprise of bystanders. It has been widely used as a tool to deliver a focused message in the political arena, and lately the idea has been used more and more as a musical venue.  Flash Concerts are becoming increasingly frequent as musicians strive to bring the importance of live, classical music to the attention of the general public at a time when classical music is struggling to maintain a significant profile in a society dominated by popular culture. If you have been following the news regarding the current state of symphony orchestras in America, for example, you will know that jobs for musicians are in jeopardy.
 But that is not the only reason for these impromptu concerts. Contrary to their onstage demeanor, classical musicians tend to be a lively lot. To say that many of them are prone to moments of high spirits and even the odd practical joke would not be an overstatement. Perhaps it’s a reaction to spending so much time on the concert platform or in the orchestra pit garbed in formal attire, focusing on what is largely a serious musical endeavor. It’s hard for many of them to resist the attraction of participating in the bit of innocent mischief involved in creating a Flash Concert, an event that aims to begin with bewilderment and end with delight.  
But among the reasons behind Flash Concerts, the most fundamental is probably generosity. Musicians engage in these apparently “random acts of kindness” primarily out of the desire to provide a few moments of relief for people from the storms and stresses of the daily grind --- like tendering a lovely flower or a freshly-baked oven treat. While you watch these Flash Concert videos, keep your eye on the bystanders as well as the musicians. As an ordinary point in an ordinary day gradually transforms into an occasion, it soon becomes clear that most everyone is having a nice, perhaps even inspirational moment.
Flash Concerts! What a great idea!
If you follow this link, you will be taken to an NPR page with other flash concerts from around the world. By the way, don't miss the tiny link at the end of the article leading to a 2009 video from Spain that has gotten over four million hits. It's bound to make you feel good about life!

Posted in MUSIC    Tagged with flash concerts, music, classical music


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