The art walks have served as an easy, one-stop-shopping approach to local art appreciation and social who's-whoing. For local music, however, it hasn't been so simple to get such a quick and diverse sampling of the area's talents. But Dillon Schneider, executive director of the Cascade Community School of Music had an idea of how to do just that, while also giving a sizeable chunk of Bend's less-experienced musicians a chance to play in public.
This is why Schneider introduced the idea for Crescendo, which is essentially a musical First Friday. The event brings more than 20 different performers to different locations downtown for a night of music from a lineup that includes some new faces as well as some new names. And Schneider says the new names were part of the idea behind the genesis of Crescendo.
"In general, we're always looking for places for our student musicians who are evolving into performing musicians to get some experience," says Schneider, adding that there are also some teachers and former teachers from the CCSM involved in Crescendo.
Some of those teachers are the members of Moon Mountain Ramblers. All but one of the high-powered acoustic act's members either teach or have taught at the school and so it's fitting that the night concludes with the Ramblers headlining a show benefiting the CCSM at Silver Moon Brewing Co., a spot the band is no stranger to.
The Ramblers are the most recognizable local act on the bill, but tucked into the shops, bookstores, boutiques and restaurants are a smattering of other acts with names that will certainly ring a bell to fans of the region's music scene. The Sweet Harlots, Back from the Dead and Kim Kelley are all on the list, but the majority are lesser-knowns just cutting their teeth in the live performing world, providing what Schneider calls "background music" for the walk around town.
Many of these less-experienced names and their associated styles are familiar here in the Source offices (where e-mails, press releases and links to many a local musician's MySpace page float in daily) but probably don't read as recognizable to all. Schneider hopes that these live performances at Crescendo - which also serves as a run-up event for Saturday's Community Day of Music at the Tower Theatre - will help encourage others to get out on the stage.
"Whether it's in a string quartet or a bluegrass band or performing your original songs, when people see other people doing that, it empowers them," he says.
Of course, this musical ramble through downtown isn't merely for the performers; it's also a chance for the seasoned wine stumbler...er...art walker to open their ears in addition to their eyes and take in everything from folk to jazz to bluegrass, all without having to leave downtown. Consolidation - it can be a good thing.
First Friday Crescendo
Music begins at 5:30pm at downtown locations. Visit ccschoolofmusic.org for a complete schedule.