Friday, October 22, 2021

Chancler creates ‘Nature Concert Series’

Thomas Bouchard

Rose Chancler’s goal was to become a college professor and be a concert pianist. Chancler’s first job was at a University in Alaska in Fairbanks, and she was the only professor pianist there. It was a great first experience and she loved it. Afterward, she was fortunate enough to get a job at the University in Iowa. Even though it was a great job, she left because she wanted to do something different. “It is not what I was wanting in life.” She ended up moving to Upstate, NY and she created the Piano by Nature Concert Series.

This series presents some of the highest caliber, intimate and piano-based concerts at the Historic Hand House in Elizabethtown, NY. The Historic Hand House is an important historic and architectural resource during the 19th century. Since 2018, it has grown substantially and includes year-round solo and chamber music concerts, with performances highlighting lesser-known twentieth century works and unusual instrumental combinations.

The summer before the COVID-19, Chancler mentioned “It was one of my best summers for playing gigs, and the most money I made. I felt like I finally achieved something” at that point, it had taken her 15 years. Then COVID-19 hit, and with a short time frame there was nothing and that great momentum she had was gone. All her plans for the summer were in shambles. The stay-at-home order, and the social distancing made it challenging to set up a concert, more specifically to set one up in person. Chancler got talking with the board and brainstormed ideas on what they can do. They decided instead of doing five to six concerts a season which is one every 2 months, they decided to do one every month and put it online for free for people to watch. It gave a platform for artists to play. It got artists from across the country together to provide concerts online. Even with the concerts being free, they took a shot at it. They tried to see how long they could go with the money they had left over from the previous seasons. Miraculously, they received a ton of donations from the people watching the concerts. The donations were nothing outrageous, but it was just enough to pay the artist. At the end of the season, if there were more donations left over it would be split up with all the artists.

The pandemic has affected so many industries and individuals around the world, especially the music industry. Social distancing and the stay-at-home order made it almost impossible to set up a concert in-person.  However, The Piano by Nature Concert Series created a great platform online for artists around the country to be part of, and it has been received very well. Sometimes the best ideas are the most absurd ones that should not work.


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