Dennis Rooney talks with Delphi Quartet about their yearlong tour of the state through the Minnesota String Quartet Residency Project.
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Today Begins the Minnesota string quartet residency project for 1977 and 78 project sponsored by the Minnesota string task force and featuring The Delphi quartet the Delphi quartet in case you've never heard of them before our for young musicians, one of them, the the oldest Charles hot is a Minnesota native, but all of them have in common a background at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York where they first decided to become a string quartet the violinist Sarah Marion fralick and Joanna Ryan Shelton, and the cellist is Charlene stauber.ladies and gentlemen You are gathered around in a semicircle across from me in rstudio. And we've managed to catch you before you have departed for Windham and Worthington the first stops and then I act in a Rari that's going to continue through next May. When was it decided that this entire project was going to take place and how really did it come about and one of you can act as a spokesman and the rest of you can just throw them join in the spirit moves you Well that the project itself. Started in 1971 and it just began out of the concerns of some string teachers in the Minnesota in the state of Minnesota. and they just incident we just attended one of their meetings yesterday and we kind of got an idea of how they work and yesterday had a brainstorming session where they put up. Problems in streams in the state of Minnesota on the board and then decided they're going to decide it later meeting what they can do about him and we gathered then that's how they came up with the idea of a string quartet because they saw that one of the problems. In the public schools and in the Collegiate level and in all string playing in the state of Minnesota wasn't it wasn't enough chamber music. Being performed or being taught? They saw they came up with the idea. What why don't we hire a string quartet to travel around the state and we can be eligible for National Endowment funds and also help is being given from some private foundations and the Minnesota state Arts board. Having decided that it was necessary to hire a string quartet. How did they chance upon you? Well, I got the story that they see the job. They've been open since 1971 and we just have gotten it in the last year. So that's A number of years were they were just looking and I couldn't believe that they couldn't feel the when I first heard about it, right? I attended Mankato State University for 4 years and my teacher there Marilyn vos one-time mention this to me and said why Charlie why don't you look into this? This is position opening and I didn't have three other musicians that were interested in doing it at Mankato. So I just kind of Let It Go and then you got towards the end of my Master's and I started thinking what what am I going to do? And then and I'd always been training for Orchestra musicians to train for orchestra band. I love playing string quartet. Some chamber music is so much more intimate. It's a much higher form of Music my opinion. And so I happened to be back at Christmas and I asked my teacher again and whatever became of that position to says. Well, I think I think it's still open and I just couldn't believe it when I called and went through the channels and found Dixie River and that's how we got the job. And then I I knew these other people I've been playing with him in a teaspoon for a year or so. So you'd already been playing together before the idea entered your mind Charles to take this sort of offer. You might say that had been kicking around for six years and actually do something with it. It was my idea and we had played together before but only on an informal. Let's redo some chamber music tonight fun things. But one of you courses and Native knows the region known as the state for the other three, however, what struck you is challenging or attractive or slightly frightening about the idea of going and playing string quartets and doing all sorts of other things out in, Minnesota. challenge I have never heard of a job similar to this one such and such an Innovative idea having a string quartet travel through the entire State and and perform always very services that the school performances and Community concerts in and a Orchestra sectionals all all kinds of things and seminars to and I thought that it was a great idea for a way to improve the the string level in a state. I just thought it was wonderful that somebody was willing to believe in it and actually carry through with it and get a quartet and pay them with everyone here basically training on their instrument with the idea of entering an orchestra or did you have at any point of serious idea that chamber music would be the way that you would play primarily music tradition sound seem to be pretty hard to get these days and I think most of us were thinking well audition for an orchestra although What is married is a variance already played in the Honolulu Symphony? So she wanted to get a masters if she could teach college-level, but I was just taking auditions until this came up. That's what done is really lucky. Does anyone else have the same exalted to view of chamber music or have a feeling that is as exalted the musical form? Is it is I mean I kind of go along with with that feeling all music to me is wonderful. I enjoy it all but I somehow the communication that has to exist between for individual players in the the cooperation and and just everything about it to me. It's is the most challenging if not the highest to me. It's the most challenging form of music and it can be the most rewarding to An addition to play and there will be just regular concerts. I understand is part of this whole project you're going to be giving and involved in a variety of Education Services some actually in the schools themselves all the way from elementary through college and then other services will be involved contact with Community orchestras. Have you all had a fair amount of educational background or is this going to be sort of a encounter for you as much as it will be for the people that you'll be working with? We all have masters from Eastman. But as far as being prepared to encounter all of these different things, we'll have to find out as we go along. I I'm afraid that it will be different everywhere we go. I'm not afraid it's an added challenge. I suppose an added interest it'll be different everywhere we go because we so far don't have a clear idea of the levels of string playing in in different areas or in different schools. That's another one of our main purpose is really is to find out we will be the only four people in the state that know what's really going on all over and we're as well as trying to excite interest and inspire people a little bit where they are to gather data and report back to our bosses the task force and give them an idea in overall idea of what's going on out there. how Much of a commitment. Do you have already from area Educators and different people who might want what you have to offer them that you have a fair number of bookings throughout the coming year are there are still gaps to be filled in but tougher in since October is already booked up solid and much of the rest of the year is 2 on through into May southwestern part of the state for the last few days of September and then I see you will be spending quite a while in St Cloud. And also give me a concert at the Art Center in St. Joseph on the 11th of that month. And then you move to Willmar and Fergus Falls and up to the Red River Valley area around Fargo and Moorhead have first of all, how long have all of you been in the Twin Cities now? Couple days ago we went to Northfield. But other than that, we just been rehearsing and trying to get all of our act together before we go out to these different areas. I understand in addition to spending a lot of time together on the road. Is it worth it in the coming year that you've also all taken house together in Minneapolis to use as home base. So many times it says that one of the supposedly Well known facts about chamber musicians that they don't often spend much time away from their playing together successfully. Have you worked all out of some sort of modus vivendi that enables you to all remain friends on and off the job. I don't really have to deal with that. My husband and I live downstairs we can close the door. The rest of them are up there together in the first string quartet. I don't think that's so much a problem. It's just these groups. Like when are you here? Were they all travel separately? And they think it's Converse to be seen with any other member of the court and when they're not playing a rehearsing but the house that we live in is Yeah, when I I was one who looked for it and I had in mind that privacy could be had if it was wanted by shutting a door by working something out like I want to sleep now. I don't practice or that kind of thing and we seem to do. All right so far living together is easy. Speaking of rehearsal home much time on the average of you've been spending on rehearsing an addition to your own individual practices since you arrived today, and we take usually take one day off a week, although this week. I guess we're going to miss our day or a little bit more time. Now the first part of your residency the month of September really the next week actually as I said, we'll be in the southwestern part of Minnesota. Also, you're getting into Mason City Iowa as well. And then that you wind up the month in Mankato. These are all as far as I can see school Services when you come into a school such as you'll be doing in most of these cases for instance. What are you going to try and do too? Really make the presentation or to have Maximum Impact on the students. Is there any kind of formula or is there any kind of? Procedure you might say that you will use in determining what has to be done and how different places and different problems will affect that. We're relying first of all on the information that the conductor of the school orchestra or the strength of the music person there has to give us about what could be most beneficial for the students. We're also counting. Of course it anything like this where we're there. It's a One-Shot deal or maybe we'll be there twice at the most the follow-up of the local person. It's it's an integral part of what we're trying to do it to have to cooperate with them. Does that mean then that in addition to working with the students you have to basically work with the teaching staff as well? what is the Long term effect if any of a visit such as you will be making to so many different places throughout the state in the coming year. That'll be very hard to say right even further down the road right now. It's next to impossible to say long range. I can only remember back when when I was. And school in high school and Junior High and and something is some experience like a string quartet or an orchestra came along and we had an assembly and there's remember those were some of the best times you can say number why I got out of class or something. That's always There was a an air of excitement about going to hear from me. It will the whole school. I think you know really enjoyed it and it made an impression special things like that made made an impression on me. I remember how we can leave behind his enthusiasm. They will remember that we told him to put their little finger down this way or that way but that we loved what we were doing and we hope they could love it to tentatively agreed to to begin every Session that we go out even to the smallest kids with a performance of something and instead of talking because music is not an issue. Don't be talking. It's it's a different. form of communication other than through your mouth and so we start out with that and and if kids see that we enjoy what we're doing and I think it is the remember you are funded to some extent by a grant from the state Arts Sport and you have Basically, you're at least on according to the guidelines. I have in my hand five different classes of service. You might say that available Public School Collegiate Community orchestra concert possibilities and then special services, which I presume lunch together everything else that doesn't fit in the other four and then I see that there is an estimated time for each of these services and a charge is the charge for the service defrayed by that Arts board Grant totally so that that you're you come to these different projects basically at no cost to the local school. I would say, so if a local school had to pay outright for a string quartet To Come They do I mean they pay something but not near what it would cause another which is heavily subsidized and just in case there was someone out there in either the school music program somewhere in the state of Minnesota or who was in charge of or connected with a community Orchestra or who was in charge of community concerts who hadn't heard about you and who hadn't heard about this project. How would they get in touch with you or with your sponsors to engage your services if they were available. There are Regional coordinators. Throughout the state and there is a Project Director. Project Director is dr. Richard sieber. and he can be Reach to 320 Westbrook Hall University of Minnesota Minneapolis 55455. So that's really basically threw macphail Center. That's correct that he is employed by the university and he does work at mcphelin at the University for the continuing education in the Arts so that they could get in touch with him and he would probably be the overall man to get in touch with him. He can put you in touch with the regional coordinator of depending on where you calling from. And where you want the quartet. We thank you all of you for stopping in and telling us something about what you're going to be doing in wish you the best of luck as you Embark upon this year-long residency moving around various parts of the state. I've been talking with the members of the Delphi string quartet will be traveling to a number of communities in Minnesota and a few outside of Minnesota between now and next may they begin by traveling to Southwestern Minnesota today, and we ho If you know that they're coming that you will come out and see what they have to offer and listen to them play. I've been talkin to Marion fralick, Joanna Ryan Shelton Charles hot and Carlene Stover. Thank you all very much.