The streets of Park Slope were alive with the sound of music on Saturday, May 15, as over 150 musicians hit the pavement for the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music’s spring benefit.
Performers took the stage on stoops, in parks, and on Fifth Avenue’s open street, serenading the Slope with hip-hop tunes, classical sonatas, sea shanties, and more.
“We looked at the whole neighborhood as a stage,” said the conservatory’s executive director Chad Cooper. “The vision was to bring people together.”
The event spread out over 20 stages, with set-ups at PS 321, Puppetworks, the Old Stone House, Spoke the Hub, Dime Community Bank, High Dive, and at least 10 brownstone stoops throughout the neighborhood.
“We wanted to feel very much a part of the fabric of the neighborhood,” Cooper said.
Joining the 150 conservatory staff and students who performed was Grammy-winning artist Arturo O’Farrill, who kicked things off with his Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra at the PS 321 mainstage.
After a year of virtual performances, the conservatory jumped at the opportunity to hold a safe, in-person performance as the city continues to reimagine uses for its public spaces, Cooper said.
“We really felt strongly that we wanted to do an in-person event in a pandemic sensitive way that allowed people to come together around music,” he said. “We couldn’t bear the idea of another major virtual event. We’ve done hundreds of them, literally.”
The Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, at home on Seventh Avenue, was founded in 1897. Its mission, according to its website, is to “transform lives and build community through the expressive, educational and therapeutic powers of music.”