This is not the end, rather the journey that must be continued and fought for. The show must go on! There will be life after MCL Chicago. I know they know that. Yet one cannot help but feel sorrow. It is like an empty feeling you get when you hit the unemployment line. Reality can sink in. Have no fear because Music Improv is where it's at and of the people who perform it.
I really do not think of it as MCL closing. It is branching out to new locations. An explosion of talent took place here that is bursting out in many directions. A music improv supernova! The only art of its kind in Chicago, now ready to branch out through Chicago and beyond.
Brandon C. Price
Watching these six music improvs (and the band), they are humble every time they walk onto the stage. I believe they take that for granted. For them to do music improv they have to play on their strengths and let out their weaknesses every performance. This cycle repeats and they become stronger each night they perform. Yet they start at being humble and true to themselves. They expose all of their emotions to us, for that is how we believe in them.
A great writer once wrote (and I say that tongue and cheek), “Improv is very inviting. All you to do is sit there and watch, however, you cannot help but feel you are participating too. More than just giving the improv a topic. At least that is how I felt with the improv ensembles who performed this evening. You smile not just because it is entertaining. You smile because you see yourself up on stage. You smile because you want to be just like them.”
So with that, you music improvs of VAMP (and all of the other ensembles at MCL), please know you are as much in our hearts as we are in yours. Thank you for being humble, opening up to us, letting us see your vulnerability and your strengths, for that is what helped us connect and want to come back each time.
So with that, here are the photographs from this evening (with some more quotes from that great unknown writer) . . . okay, may he is not so humble after all . . . lol
"As I walked in I first saw Courtney, then later Keenan. They took part in my very first improv I went to see. So it was like homecoming to me. I was having a blast. They had their JAM tonight after all the ensembles had their time up front. During one of the sessions I was volunteered to go up on stage. It was Keenan who graciously did that. (Him, no the photographer, [as I feel the finger pointing at me from behind].) So, here I go, up to the stage with the other improvs, never doing improv before, with two large cameras strapped to me. Funny thing was, I was not nervous at all. (Had my cameras as my security blanket.) All I was thinking, "what can I photograph from 'on stage'". Then it hit me, I was up there to do something with the improvs. As I listened in I felt the realization of what these actors do. This is quick, head spinning, non-rehearsed, better know what you are doing and know your fellow improv kind of moment. It was a very interesting feeling being up there, contributing when I could, finding myself zoning into photography because of panic of what to do.
I felt like a prop. A very Thrilled Prop! My mind was absorbing the moment, blank in anticipation, tuned to just now. I knew whatever I would do, I would photograph. So feeling like a sloth I blurted out (holding everyone's attention while I put my one line out there), "Hey dad, stop! Let me take your picture."
I was on stage feeling their passion. Improvs love doing what they do. It is to put a smile on our face. It is to make us laugh. It is to give us an experience we can go back to our friends and talk about. It is also to push one self to do what you have not done before, like any athlete, wanting to make it to the next level.
As I write this I feel my passion is not just the photography. It is sharing with everyone both photography and my feelings of the moment. The writing becomes part of that. The digging deep inside becomes part of that. In many ways I am not much different than anyone else who has a passion. Yet, these improvs I feel set themselves apart in some way. Being on stage gave me a glimpse of their reality. It was so cool. I sit back and watch the videos I took, and I reflect on the talent of these people. The desire to learn, to experience, to practice what all they can in an environment that is improv. In this case Music Improv!!!!"
Most of all, improv is a person, an ensemble, a meeting with the audience to rant on life in an enjoyable way. To let go the stress of the day, stress of life. Improv is personal, both to the improvs and to the audience. There is not just one story being told. There is a story for each individual in the room being told.
When you add music, you have Music Improv! A dimension to improv that can only be explained as, Wow! This high level attention, slamming the audience with energy that exhausts you just sitting there, can spin your head. You go home in a daze wondering what just hit you. Music improvs are doing the impossible in my opinion."
The connection I have with music improv comes from Stephanie and Keenan. Thank you both for letting me in from the rain to practice my art of photography, and to fill that emptiness to make one whole. I also thank those from WhoProv, and all that performed at MCL
The people who striven to give a home to music improvs so that they could perform are:
Thank you for being you.
Support the arts. Find what works and fits with you, and continue. We need the arts to allow us to see, to listen, to taste, to make us human. I am fortunate that I can combine my art of photography with the many other arts. I have enjoyed these past five years of music improv.
"What is improv without music?" - Stephanie
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