Hungry for arts, culture, and concerts? Mankato’s ProMusica virtual performance has you covered.

“This is a very exciting way to do a concert!” shared ProMusica Chamber Music Festival’s co-artistic director Dr. Bethel Balge. “We’ll have a larger viewing audience and be able to reach out to people around the country and around the world.”

Alternative Plan

2020 marks ProMusica’s second year of offering chamber music played by distinguished musicians during the month of June.

2019’s music selections were performed throughout the course of one whole week of live nightly concerts and there were four concerts scheduled for 2020. This year, due to COVID-19 safety concerns, the directors made the decision to shorten the season and switch up the concert format.

At 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 31st, the original opening day for this year’s festival week, ProMusica will stream a pre-recorded chamber music performance on its website, Facebook page, and YouTube channel. The New Ulm cable access television station will also air the program at 5:00 p.m. on the same day.

Submitted Photo - Peter McGuire and Bethel Balge in concert
Submitted Photo – Peter McGuire and Bethel Balge in concert

An Assortment of Treasures

“We have a beautiful assortment of romantic treasures,” said Balge, who will be featured in the virtual performance along with her co-director Peter McGuire. “The music that we are performing is Grieg and Beethoven and Schuman, and I hope that this music brings some measure of comfort to people in these days of stress.”

The music that we are performing is Grieg and Beethoven and Schuman, and I hope that this music brings some measure of comfort to people in these days of stress. Bethel Balge

“It was the same program as the festival opener and will take place at the same time,” said McGuire of the recorded performance. He and Balge both stressed that the recording will be a performance in every sense of the word: un-retouched and authentic.

“It’s a live recording,” explained Balge. “It’s not going to be doctored. What we play is what it is.” The duo used Bethany Lutheran College’s Trinity Chapel as the recording venue, where ProMusica’s concerts were all held in 2019.

Full Circle

Balge and McGuire hope that their audience will enjoy the experience of beautiful music in the comfort of their own homes. During its heyday in the 19th Century, chamber music was generally performed in private residences for intimate gatherings and parties.

“We’ve kind of come full-circle,” said Balge. “Here we are in the 21st Century and we’re still bringing the music to a person’s living room.”

I hope that they are able to enjoy something like the experience of live music, connect with us and know that we still want to play for them. Peter McGuire

The personalized atmosphere is also meant to remind viewers that they are not alone in their love for the arts, and that no mere pandemic can suppress their shared community or the celebration of beautiful music.

“The big thing was to represent the festival and to find a way forward that is not based on when we can all get back together and things are back to normal,” added McGuire. “I hope that they [the audience] are able to enjoy something like the experience of live music, connect with us and know that we still want to play for them.”

How To Watch This Year’s Free ProMusica Performance

Author

  • Katie Roiger

    is a freelance writer who works out of the Greater Mankato Area. She enjoys exploring every town she visits and knowing where to find the best Mexican restaurant in any 40-mile radius.