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Musings | Jul 24, 2020

Waking Up The Senses

Three kids standing in the woods, smiling.

From Monday through Wednesday of this week, I tried not to schedule myself full of zoom meetings. Instead, I worked from seat B26 in the Andrew and Lily McKinley Amphitheater. Thanks to Usdan’s Artists in Residence The Knights, our dormant amphitheater came back to life. For three days, a sextet rehearsed with masks on, in the safe open air, to prepare for last night’s livestream broadcast from Caramoor

Usdan’s Festival performances started on day one: July 1, 1968. The opportunity to experience live art every day both from fellow students and world-class professionals is a legacy that Usdan’s founder Andrew McKinley left all of us. We expect it out of every camp day, but could not have it this summer.

For the first time this week, I felt that something exciting will result from so much art being cancelled. In the future, we will reawaken our senses with live art. Brahms String Sextet No. 2 in G, Op. 36 pulled the cobwebs out of my ears. To hear Brahms and Anna Clyne’s new work Shorthand forced a level of sensory activity, specifically aural activity, unfamiliar since I last saw a live performance on March 7. 

To experience the work of artists live - to hear with our ears, to see directly with our eyes - is a uniquely human experience. The arts are what makes us human. As The Knights finished their final hour of rehearsal on Wednesday, my ears clung to every sound from each of the six bows, like a person holding onto a log for dear life in a rushing stream. I did not want to let go.

Enjoy hearing co-artistic Director of The Knights Colin Jacobsen describe what rehearsing is like during the quarantine.


Close your eyes and listen to a clip of Brahms String Sextet No. 2 in G, Op. 36.



Lauren Brandt Schloss, Executive Director