My name is Marji Gere. I am a violinist and educator working closely with the Mystic Learning Center, the Mystic Tenant Association, and the Somerville Housing Authority to create and present Around Hear: a free chamber music concert series for people of all ages, backgrounds, and dispositions. This series is based in the Mystic Activity Center, at 530 Mystic Ave in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Each event begins with a performance by wonderful musicians from near and far, followed by a community supper. During the concerts, listeners are welcomed and encouraged to respond to the music via quiet art-making, writing, & movement.

The goal of this endeavor is to offer a highly accessible, regular time and space for people from a wide spectrum of life experiences to gather and listen with openness, depth, and creativity—to music, to themselves, and to each other.

The pilot season of Around Hear was a pop-up tour of East Somerville/Winter Hill after-school programs and community centers, and revolved around a wide range of music for solo violin. During the 2017-2018 season, 20+ musicians will visit the Mystic Activity Center (based in the Mystic River Development of the Somerville Housing Authority) in configurations from duo to septet, playing a wide range of chamber music for winds, strings, piano, and voice. To learn more, visit the calendar!

I adopted the project name Around Hear from a concert I played in April of 2009, in a park in Houston, Texas. By taking classical musicians out of the concert hall and into a sunny, weedy public space in the middle of a busy commercial area, the director of that Around Hear, the late composer Ethan Frederick Greene, opened up what felt to me like a whole new range of fresh, exciting possibilities for social interaction and musical interpretation.