In 1966, a boy sat in a movie theater & watched the evolution of life and the rise and fall of the dinosaurs, accompanied by incredible music. The film was Walt Disney’s “Fantasia”, the music, Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” and the young boy was Neil Alexander – me. The pounding rhythms and striking dissonances etched themselves into my subconscious, influencing & informing my musical life for decades to come.
Looking back on this now, it’s obvious to see how amazingly influential it has been. Look at the stuff I like: Mahavishnu, ELP, Progressive Rock, 20th Century classical music, Prehistoric culture – the list goes on.
In light of the Centennial of this game changing – and life changing – piece of music, I am gloriously proud to be bringing the “100 Years Of Spring” project back to my “home turf”, The Hudson Valley.
“100 Years of Spring” was originally conceived as a live music program appearing in farm/food markets and other places notable for enhancing environmental sustainability. These performances represent an effort to bring music, originally directed at audiences of elite society, to places of public gathering where social division is less significant. “100 Years of Spring”, seeks to honor the centennial of the premiere while connecting the concept of spring with sustainability and local food & farms. To further that end, I have partned with Common Ground Farms and made this performance a fundraiser. I’ve been a long time supporter of Common Ground Farm and former member of their initial Community Supported Agriculture program.
Common Ground Farm, a community staple for many years, evolved as an organization to become a nonprofit farm project growing food for education and food justice programs. “Our education programs, workshops, and Summer Camp bring children and adults opportunities to learn about sustainable farming, local food, and environmental stewardship.” This summer the Farm’s Mobile Market – staffed by the Green Teens — is traveling the area bringing low cost, CGF- grown vegetables to low income housing areas. Children who might otherwise go without are receiving regular lunches from the Kids ‘R Kids Summer Feeding Program, which includes donated vegetables from the Farm as well as activities for the kids each week with a local chef. The Farm is regularly delivering vegetables for Salvation Army Lunches and to the St. Andrew’s & St. Luke’s Food Pantry. The Farm’s Food Justice programs make local, organically grown, fresh produce available to everyone, regardless of income.
The performance takes place on August 10th at the Howland Cultural Center, 477 Main Street in Beacon NY. The HCC is a well known venue for community sponsored events, concerts AND great chamber music, so it seemed the obvious choice. In addition, my very good friend violinist Rachel Evans will be joining my to perform an original composition of mine.
Common Ground Farm is a community resource; all are welcome to visit the fields, volunteer, learn, and gather together for the common good. You can learn more about the Farm’s mission and programs at their website http://www.commongroundfarm.org, by calling (845) 231-4424 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. “100 Years of Spring” is a sponsored project of Artspire, a program of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. www.100yearsofspring.org.