Artist in Residence Program
Since the Spring of 2015 we have been exploring new ways to use the space we have, reach more people with a more options that will enhance the music experience for our concert fans.
We began by offering more barn concerts, more in-house concerts and we also added a well attended harmonica workshop in the Spring. We had to put on hold for a time the planned songwriter’s workshop due to lack of coordinating dates. We had our third children’s music camp in July with Jon Short.
We hosted a wildly successful (first ever) Thursday night concert to almost 140 people.
Looking for still more dimension and input we started exploring the possibility of a “residency “ program.
The goal of this program is to provide an an artist with an opportunity to develop and host several smaller, limited seating in home or barn concerts.
We believe that given this opportunity, the Musical Artist in Residence will be able to go deeper into their own music, explore new collaborations as well as present some of their favorite musicians to you. This in turn will help the artist to grow, see music in a new light (their own and others) and to give them the chance to develop new musical partnerships knowing that they will have a venue that is supportive of them and that will give them the space in which to perform.
Working closely with the Artist In Residence means that they should have a good understanding of our venue and how we do things here. Having a rapport and connection with our concert goers is no small part of this challenge. In fact, this is probably the most important part.
Additionally, he or she will represent FSC at different venues such as festivals , musical showcases and other events.
It also is a bonus having a person on board who can be available to join in for other concerts if requested.
With all of these things to consider and knowing as many deserving musicians we do, we feel as though we have found just the right person.
It is with great pleasure that we introduce a Front Street Concert all around favorite guy, Ansel Barnum as our inaugural Artist in Residence (AiR).
Ansel is an unassuming artist who has given us a deeper appreciation of the humble harmonica . His musical skills and technical command have allowed him and his harp to cross musical boundaries, from Classical to Celtic, Baroque to Blues…and beyond.
He is no stranger to the concertgoers at Front Street, first appearing on a co-bill with Amy Kucharik last April as well as sitting in with most of the performers here throughout the summer.
That great harmonica workshop in the Spring? Ansel taught that. That blowout Thursday night concert in July? Uh, huh.. Ansel and his band from Philly, The Downtown Shimmy. In June he was the guest teacher of a special harmonica class for the graduating children of the Montessori Children’s House in Southborough.
Despite recently moving back to the Boston area, Ansel continues to keep one foot in Philly where he lived for two years. During that time he quickly became a recognized fixture of the music scene which soon invited him onto stages and into studios to play with bands of all stripes. He performed at a number of major festivals in the Northeast including the renowned Philly Folk Festival where he played an unprecedented solo instrumental concert.
Another project that draws him back to the City Of Brotherly Love is an amazing program called Musicians On Call. This non-profit organization sends musicians into hospitals to deliver the healing power of music at patients bedsides. Ansel actively participated as one of their primary contributors, playing at the numerous hospitals for children and adults as well. Click here for a a peek into this program
With The Downtown Shimmy, (a band he co-founded with four distinguished Philadelphia musicians) he has recorded an album and toured across the US and parts of Canada. There is not a week that goes by without someone asking us "When is 'The Shimmy' coming back?" That epic July concert they played in our barn is considered a magical night by all who were here.
We have the utmost confidence in this choice as our first AiR. His ability to perform with an amazing array of musicians at a minute's notice, his deep connection with you, our supporters, was very important to us when considering him for this.