Josephine has a talent for sourcing all things free. Today I met her for a jazz performance, part of the free concert series held in the amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
The seating in the amphitheatre was already full when we arrived. Fortunately for us, the glass balustrades on the fourth floor allow the space that overlooks the stage to become impromptu audience seating. However, my lateness meant the chairs set-up behind the performers were also full. We found a spot along the fourth floor bridge, laid down our jackets, sat on our quasi cushions, and peered down through the glass toward the musicians.
Our vantage point, sitting above and beside the performers, presented a unique view of the show. We had no problem hearing the musicians, but we only caught the occasional glimpse of their faces. Instead, I was mesmerized by George Koller’s finger work as he played the upright bass. This more subtle element of the performance was highlighted because of our improvised seat.
An unexpected pairing of auditory and visual came thanks to University Avenue, our background for the stage. The ebb and flow of traffic on the busy street animated the music. Today was jazz, but I imagine the coupling of movement and sound would be effective regardless of the type of music being performed.
This was a lunchtime concert and daylight flooded in through the wall of west facing windows. An illuminated audience is not usually part of a jazz show. I realized that because of the light and my seat, I was watching the audience almost as much as the performers. I was fascinated to see the expressions on people’s faces as they listened, watching who fidgeted and who focused. For me, the audience became part of the performance.
Our spot on the floor was certainly not the most comfortable seat in the house, but it offered a dynamic combination of city, audience and performer like I have never experienced.