The Green Music Center–Sonoma State University’s world-class live music venue and educational centerpiece made up of the acoustically-pristine Weill Hall, the intimate Schroeder Hall and more¬–is accustomed to packing the halls with concerts and various live events featuring culturally significant musicians and other top-tier performers.
This year has been a quiet one at the Green Music Center, as the Covid-19 pandemic closed the halls and classrooms in March. After missing the summer season due to the extended social-distancing orders, the center in Rohnert Park is transforming their planned fall season into an online experience.
Dubbed ‘The Green Room,’ this new virtual program of events is inspired by the center’s green rooms, where performers hang out backstage, and ‘The Green Room’ events will feature conversations with artists as well as performances streaming online, beginning September 17 and running through December.
In addition to presenting online concerts featuring popular acts, The Green Room’s online fall programming reflects the Green Music Center’s commitment to student engagement with four artists-in-residence from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines who will also lead students in online discussions and workshops along with their scheduled shows.
The artists-in-residence performances begin with musician, performing artist and cultural Babalawo (spiritual guide) Michael Mwenso, who presents a ‘Black Music Series of talks and showcases starting September 17. The series opens with “A Form of Protest,” in which Mwenso examines music as a form of activism, and highlights the role it has played in pushing the boundaries on civil rights, human rights, class inequality and more through a discussion, historical recordings and performance.
Other artist-in-residence performers include Green Music Center favorites Las Cafeteras (pictured), who share their infectious genre-bending and lyrically-rich music and storytelling on October 15; visionary choreographer Liz Lerman, who returns to continue her new site-specific work “Wicked Bodies (Sonoma),” exploring the depictions of women’s bodies across multiple historic periods on November 5; and multicultural musical group and Navajo cultural music ambassadors DDAT, which performs on December 3.
‘The Green Room’ will also present three free online performances by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and concerts by multi-cultural artists like acoustic and electric guitarist JIJI, instrumental band Invoke and the Juilliard String Quartet.
Aside from ‘The Green Room’ online season, The Green Music Center will still be the performing location for its resident orchestra, The Santa Rosa Symphony; which will perform, record and stream its redesigned Fall 2020 concerts from the Green Music Center’s Weill Hall stage.
The “SRS @ Home Virtual Fall Concert Series” will be streamed live on YouTube on October 11, November 15 and December 13 at 3pm, and each concert will feature a socially-distanced subset of the orchestra and Music Director Francesco Lecce-Chong.
“In the face of the difficulties behind us and the struggles ahead, the Symphony will share uplifting musical experiences, as it has during past crises,” Lecce-Chong says. “This is truly a historic moment in our Symphony’s long history, and we are so excited to present our first concerts, specifically programmed, directed and filmed for you to enjoy in your homes. We may not be in the Green Music Center in person, but imagine that across our community, we will all be gathered for a performance.”
Get tickets and the full details on ‘The Green Room’ online season at gmc.sonoma.edu.
Find more information on the Santa Rosa Symphony’s upcoming virtual season at srsymphony.org.