While morning commuters blew down Main Street Wednesday morning, the quintet WindSync was bringing chamber music to the corner of Main and Eastern Avenue at Thoroughbred Park.
The Houston-based ensemble is in Lexington for the first week of the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington, and the the festival’s second year of presenting pop-up concerts around town as a prelude to the festival’s main events next week, primarily at the Fasig-Tipton Pavilion. The idea, organizer Richard Young said, is to bring classical chamber music to locations where it is not normally heard, like one of the city’s busiest roads at morning rush hour.
“We are five people, 13 instruments, and lots of cars and car horns,” bassoonist Tracy Jacobson joked to the crowd of several dozen people in Thoroughbred Park, many of whom had grabbed a cup of coffee at A Cup of Common Wealth across Eastern Avenue before settling in for the music.
After the performance, horn player Anni Hochhalter said the group enjoyed the environment, a far cry from the quiet concert halls where classical music is usually presented.
“We like spontaneous elements, so if it wasn’t a car horn going off, it would be one of us trying to do something on stage to try to rattle the other ones,” Hochhalter said. “We love the spontaneous elements that come with pop-up concerts.”
Wednesday was just the group’s second day in Lexington, with performances scheduled to go through Sunday at locations including the Morris Book Shop and West Sixth Brewing.
The second year of the pop-up concerts preceding the Chamber Music Festival, which once again will feature the core quintet that has played the event since 2007, comes with some changes. Instead of pulling together a pickup ensemble of freelance musicians, the festival chose an established group to eliminate the need for rehearsal days, Young said. And the pop-ups are being presented the week before the traditional festival, instead of July, so they are now billed as week one of a two-week festival.
Young also said that the later date allows the ensemble to visit schools, which it will be doing Thursday instead of presenting public performances.
WindSync, Young said, is an ideal ensemble for pop-up shows because the members play standing and have their music memorized, eliminating the need for music stands and chairs a lot of classical ensembles require.
After the concert, Jacobson said the group had plenty of experiences with this format of show, from its home base in Houston to Los Angeles to New Jersey. But one day into the group’s Lexington residency, she was already giving the Bluegrass high marks.
“Richard has taken it upon himself to show us the most fantastic places,” Jacobson said, sporting a T-shirt from Kentucky for Kentucky, the people of Kentucky Kicks Ass fame. “And fortunately, we’re getting to play at most of them too.”