Posts tagged #Irish Night

MMC Artist Series: Maggie Nelson's Joyful Dance

Grand Street Community Band is lacing up our step-dancing shoes and pinning on our clovers for two performances of Irish Night at the Pops! Our first performance will be Friday, May 13th at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater, for "Victor Herbert's Ireland: Music of the Emerald Isle."  Then we return to our stomping grounds at Grand Street High School for our final performance of the 2015-2016 season on Friday, June 3rd at 8 PM. GSCB will be performing an exciting and entertaining program, including Leroy Anderson's Irish Suite and Percy Grainger's Molly on the Shore, among many other traditional tunes! 


GSCB trumpet player Maggie Nelson created the program art for this cycle, drawing on her own background and artistic style for inspiration. Maggie is an artist and art educator, and attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She joined GSCB three years ago after searching for a place to play, since, "Trumpets aren't great in small apartments with roommates!" Read on to hear about Maggie's process and how she dealt with an artistic curve ball, and see more of her work in the slideshow below! 


A Cultural Connection...

"I have a particular relationship to Irish music--I'm half Irish and did Irish step dancing when I was little, and heard a lot of the music from an early age. It feels very familiar to me. I didn't want to highlight anything very nostalgic or sentimental, but I did want to find something essential about playing this traditional music on the anniversary of the Easter Rising." 

Her Style, and a New Theme...

"It was tricky, because we had a different musical theme for this concert when I did the original piece last fall, which was inspired by "A Night at the Pops." Later, it changed to Irish Night, so I did a second piece where I took the themes from the first [piece] and inserted them into something like the Irish countryside. For both, I had to think through all of my tropes from my own drawing practice and find ones that fit with the music, [like] my dancing, joyous figures; my magical creatures that reminded me of Celtic fairies, sprites and ghouls; my wide-mouthed singing figures, and my water color landscapes. Something new that came out of the first drawing was incorporating my magical, singing creatures with gold tubing and bells reminiscent of wind instruments."  

Inspired by Dance...

"I was thinking a lot about dance, since that's what most of this music was originally for, and I was thinking about communities rising up together and celebrating their culture. [So] it was a combination of the dance music--the reels and jigs--that made me think movement and joy and brightness; and of the ballads--with their sonority and somberness--that made me think of lifted voices in unison."

Art, Everyday...

"I'm an art teacher in an after-school program at an elementary school in Sunset Park. It's the best! Making art with kids is really important to me, and I love working in after-school [programs] because there's an understanding that it's not like the rest of public school--you're trying to do something different, something better. Then at home I make art, while trying to figure what I'm able to make in my little room with little time! I draw, felt, and sew primarily. I make objects out of fibers and ceramics and I make drawings and books. I'm also Quaker and spend a lot of time in that community--right now my most exciting project is organizing an artist residency at a Quaker summer camp in Maine, called Art Camp!"

Posted on May 4, 2016 .