Violinist Jennifer Koh, Kulas Visiting Artist

Intern Blog: Digital Meet and Greet with Donors and Supporters

POSTED: Jul. 06, 2020

I hope you all enjoyed our first rebroadcast concert! This week, I have been able to meet some of the supporters of Kent Blossom Music Festival and leaders of Kent State University through a Zoom meeting. I would like to share a little bit about the meeting.

It was 5 am on Wednesday morning in China. I woke up and set up for the virtual meeting. I felt like I haven’t met so many people online for such a long time, a little bit nervous but also excited. When I entered the zoom meeting, they already started. Thankfully, I didn’t miss those self-introductions. There were donors, host families, leaders from the university and staff of the festival. I even met someone who was raised in Rochester and has some sweet memories with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, where I interned for nearly two years. Such a small world!

It was like a friend gathering. Everyone shared personal news and got a chance to meet with each other. Some of them have been supporters for more than decades. Every year at this time, they might meet each other at Ludwig Recital Hall for a faculty concert, chatting for 20 to 30 minutes before the concert starts. This meeting allowed them to reconnect online. As the meeting went on, I could clearly tell that everyone desired to get together, including me. We miss all of the social activities. One of the supporters dropped off DVDs of concerts to others during these social distancing times. What a nice treat! It reminds me that when I was going to leave Rochester, my director said she needed to come over and say goodbye even through the car window. A simple word and caring gestures make everything different in the pandemic.

We also invited violinist Philip Setzer to our meeting. He is such a nice person. When I worked on the social media posts, I researched a lot online about his professional experience. But listening to him talk about the same experience with the violin and KBMF, it sounded like a different story. His facial expressions and gestures add a different meaning to the story. And to add a point, he adapts to the virtual environment so well. I’ve learned some new tricks from him.

The next day was the first rebroadcast concert. I watched it in my bed at 7:30 a.m., turning on my speakers to imitate some live sound quality. I have been watching some rebroadcast videos since the stay at home order.  The more I watch and listen to the music online, the more I miss music in concert halls: the light on the stage, the view from the balcony, the quietness that makes me focus, and the harmony created by the sound captured by our two raw ears. At first, I found it just fine with my phone speaker, but gradually I needed my headphones or a real speaker and a closed and quiet room. Every time I listen to broadcasts or various performances, I am reassured of the transformative power of music.

This week, the rebroadcast will feature 2017 Kulas Guest Artist, violinist Jennifer Koh. The concert, featuring works by Bach, Berio, and Missy Mazzoli, originally aired during our 2017 season. Hope you all enjoy it!

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Written by Eva Zhang.