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Free concerts pair local musicians with the Louisville Orchestra in neighborhood venues

Members of a seven-piece band play on stage together. The band's singer is dressed in black, and members playing drums, guitar, keyboard, saxophone and flute stand on either side of her.
Drake Whitney
Drake Whitney
In an upcoming concert part of the Music Without Borders series, Kiana & the Sun Kings are ready to combine their jazz, R&B sounds with the Louisville Orchestra .

The orchestra’s Music Without Borders combines local musicians with the professional ensemble in settings outside of Whitney Hall, like community centers. Every show is free.

“Not everyone has access, and classical music can seem a little bit unapproachable,” said John Delvin, director of the Music Without Borders program.

Delvin said concerts try to be accessible in several ways including location, cost and content.

“We're including a big solo for one of the musicians within the orchestra so you can get to know the people of the local orchestra better, we’re presenting some great classical masterworks, we’re presenting some new American music,” he said.

When constructing the program, Delvin took care to include pieces that had clear, engaging storytelling. Some composers in the classical Western canon prided themselves on writing the most complex music they could.

That’s not the point of this series.

“It’s going to be specially designed in a program where I'm going to explain to everyone in the audience exactly what they're about to hear,” Delvin said.

Music Without Borders has put on multiple performances since it started last fall. This particular series is entitled Music Without Borders: Musical Fantasies.

The line-up features pieces that tell the story of Romeo and Juliet— including a piece by Tchaikovsky, an original composition by the orchestra’s Creator's Corps resident composer Alex Berko and local jazz band Kiana and the Sun Kings.

The band’s saxophone player, Trevin Little, said the Sun Kings don’t quite fit what people would expect to be paired with classical music.

“To have these two worlds blended is new, and fun, I would say that this is something that we're gonna see a lot more groups doing in the future,” Little said.

Lead singer Kiana Del, who is also an employee at Louisville Public Media, said these types of collaborations make classical performance spaces more accessible to audiences and performers alike.

“It really just opens the door for other groups who thought ‘Oh, man, like, this isn't accessible to me’ or ‘I don't belong up there’ to see somebody who's been in their sphere and be like, ‘Oh, man, like maybe we could do that,’” Del said.

Del said many local bands feel like they aren’t “concert hall ready.” To open the classical music space to new ideas, that notion has to change, Del said.

“I hope that we can open those doors and let them know that this concert hall is yours too,” she said.

Del said music is fundamental for humanity, and that people need easy access to it. She said music expands beyond some cultural barriers.

“If you wanted to communicate with someone who didn't speak your language, and you wanted to show an emotion to them, you could show them an instrumental piece of music,” Del said.

Little, the saxophone player, said that common connection is an important aspect of people’s progression.

“The thing that makes us grow as humans in a large sense … is the way that we can share moments, which is an important aspect of listening to music together,” Little said.

The remaining Music Without Borders shows are Nov. 10 and Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m. at theSt. Vincent De Paul Family Success Center and California Community Center respectively.

Breya Jones is the Arts & Culture Reporter for LPM. Email Breya at bjones@lpm.org.

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