by Winston Chua
An enthusiastic group of about 400 to 500 folk music aficionados attended the Front/Porch event of MUSE/IQUE’s spring concert at the historic Blecker House Monday evening.
“This is a fantastic location,” said artistic director and conductor Rachael Worby. “We believe that music expands the soul and creates connections between people that nothing else can.”
Harvey and Ellen Knell opened the front of their home to friends and guests, a place they’ve owned since 1994 and have lived in since 1996. Thanks to the work of the Pasadena Heritage, much of the home’s treasured architecture has been preserved.
“The preservation of fine architecture is very important,” said Harvey Knell. “We support that.”
The magnificent home, built in 1907, was designed by Henry and Charles Greene, who pioneered creating the American house as a symbol of revolutionary art.
“This venue is the perfect site for a front porch party,” said Anne Hogeboom.
The whole evening celebrated both America’s roots through music and the music of America’s neighbors to the south. Pie’n Burger catered the event before the crowd gathered to their seats to listen to the music of the Moonsville Collective and Trio Mestizo as artists paid tribute to Pete Seeger, an American who shaped the nation’s cultural identity.
Worby helped educate the audience throughout the performance, explaining the nuances behind the music and the instruments which included banjos, fiddles, mandolins, slide guitar, resonator guitar, mouth harp, kazoo, upright bass and loose drums.
“This is one of the best new community-based activities in the Pasadena area,” explained Ron Havner. “The music is phenomenal, and Rachael is incredible.”
Monday night’s event brought eclectic music to the local community through a counter-conventional performance. The front yard performance was a MUSE/IQUE first. More unconventional performances take place in the fall and spring while the “Summer of Sound” features three outdoor “music parties” on Caltech’s Beckman Mall Lawn.
The Moonsville Collective is an Americana string band whose music captures the traditions of Old-time, folk, country and rhythm and blues.