By Suzanne Karioki
There’s a smattering of students across the small auditorium on this quiet Wednesday night; the audience is casually dressed and there’s a murmur of conversation before the performance begins. From behind me, I hear a group of people my age trying to coordinate a selfie to prove that they were here; behind them is another group and laughter – “I’m not staying for the whole thing”.
April Showers Michaud, Mary Carfagna and Roy Imperio of Trio Orione (inspired by the constellation) are very accomplished musicians with years of experience and an incredible talent for conveying the emotion of the pieces they perform. The night begins with with a set of pieces composed by Franz Haydn (whose music sounds like something that would’ve played in a stately drawing room for a wealthy countess 200 years ago) and ends with Century Music by Eugenie Rocherolle, whose work sounds distinctly earthy and quintessentially American. Trio Orione plays together as only people who share a passion for playing music can; there are subtle, wordless nods between rests in the music, a connection of friendship between them.
This seems to be lost on the students, some of whom leave between pieces and before the performance is over; even before the show started, someone in the back row had to be shushed by his friends to turn down the music from a video he was watching with the volume still on. The only people who seemed to be there solely because they want to be, are much older. Most of the students stick to the right side of the auditorium or hide in the back, waiting for the right moment to sneak out without being noticed and with enough information to turn in a passable assignment for the class that’s forced them to be here.
It’s interesting seeing so much disinterest from the younger audience, despite the trio’s spirited introductions for each composer they introduce; Mary Carfagna, especially, is charismatic, funny and understands that old classical music isn’t always met with enthusiasm. Hayden, she says is not a “dusty-musty old man”; as her old music teacher used to say, “Mozart had one foot in the drawing room, and Hayden had both feet in the barnyard”. There’s a murmur of laughter in the crowd, but most of it seems to come from the left (and quite gray) side of the auditorium.
It’s a beautifully performed set, but by the time the performance ends, the event feels a little like the oatmeal cookies left on the refreshments table at the end of the night: surprisingly entertaining but ultimately unappreciated.