This weekend I had the pleasure of listening to an extremely talented string quartet. I donned a tie and set out Saturday evening, not for Boston Symphony Hall, but a sketchy basement in a house on Mission Hill in Boston.
The walls were covered with tags and burners. Cobwebs hung from exposed pipes running along the ceiling. There was a massive unexplainable hole in the drywall that separated the main room from the circuit breaker. A sullied carpet was tucked into one corner, where there were four chairs in front of four music stands.
Four musicians dressed to the nines stood and tuned their instruments as an crowd of twenty somethings stood around patiently waiting for the music to start.
This was a Groupmuse.
Groupmuse is a special kind of community where hosts invite classical musicians into their homes to perform music. Our host, Colleen, was a Northeastern Undergrad and about as nice as can be. I made sure to introduce myself and thank her for hosting this Groupmuse, as it takes a certain kind of bravery to invite internet strangers over to your house to listen to music.
Things went off without a hitch, though. After a brief announcement from the host and the Groupmuse rep (the facilitator between the musicians and the host) the performance started.
The music was beautiful. I've always been fond of strings and it was a true pleasure to have four Boston Conservatory graduates sitting five feet away from me playing Mozart and Brahms.
The thing about Groupmuse that's really remarkable is that it's free. There was no cover. There was no bar (BYOB). There was no mandatory exchange of money at all. There was, however, a spaghetti pot that Colleen had put out for us to tip the musicians if we felt so inclined. I'll be damned if that thing wasn't full of bills by the time they finished the final movement.
The only complaint I had was that it was too short, but I don't think that was anybody's fault. I think I just had a great time listening to some wonderfully talented musicians.
I strongly encourage you to check out Groupmuse. It's an organization that's starting to gain some real traction, popping up in cities all over the country. If it's not in your area, why not get the ball rolling?