VH New Music Fridays: An interview with a Blair Salon committee member

We sat down with Blair Salon committee member Julia Reparip, who shared insights on one of the most unique student-run musical ensembles on campus.

nmf

Sophie Edelman

Another New Music Friday comes from the Blair School of Music this week—be sure to keep an eye out for future salons!

William Yuk, Staff Writer

While I was furiously typing away at my computer in an effort to meet an impending deadline for the most recent New Music Friday on the Blair School’s Dean Soloway, I was suddenly interrupted by the sounds of shuffling footsteps and chairs scraping across the wooden floors. Readjusting myself on my comfy leather couch to locate the source of the commotion, I saw neatly arranged chairs positioned to face a baby-grand piano in the corner of the room, and a small group of students huddled around it, clutching a wide assortment of instruments. The E. Bronson Ingram Great Room had suddenly been converted into a venue for the Blair Salon before my very eyes, and the performance was about to begin.

“The purpose of the Blair Salon is to bring Blair to the greater Vanderbilt community, so people don’t have to come to us, we come to them,” junior and Blair Salon committee member Julia Reparip said. 

“With the example of a Commons Concert, we go to the Dean’s residence and we play there. We’re sponsored by the Dean, and she sends out an email to all the freshmen with this dinner and performance and freshmen choose to sign up. We just want to bring music to other people and let them enjoy it in a less formal setting,” Reparip said.

Holding concerts outside of the Blair School of Music poses a unique set of organizational challenges. 

“Our very first one last semester at Commons was a little stressful because we’ve asked performers in advance [to play] and almost all of them dropped out the week before, so we struggled to maintain the same group performanc,e but it worked out. We had four different performers that played solo works, duets, trios, and it was a really good concert,” Reparip said. 

In addition to finding performers for the Blair Salon, making sure that venues have proper musical equipment is another issue that needs to be addressed.

“At EBI, I had to make sure that there was a piano there … that was tuned to some degree [so] that it wasn’t too out of tune for the duet. So coordinating that and also bringing [music] stands over,” Reparip said.

And as for the instruments themselves, transporting them and making sure they are available is easier for some musicians than others.

“It’s easier if you’re a pianist and the piano is already there. But in the case of the double bass, [The bassist and I] had to leave 45 minutes early, and drive all the way across campus because you can’t really walk 20 minutes [with a double bass]” Reparip said.

But for the students participating in the Blair Salon, the performance opportunity is well worth the hassle.

“It’s an opportunity to share the music that you’ve been working on for so long with other people, especially non-Blair majors who don’t necessarily know what you’re playing but still enjoy performance regardless,” Reparip said. “It’s not for critiques, but rather for the actual art of music itself.”

For non-Blair students, Blair Salons are an amazing opportunity to experience some of the best musical performances that Vanderbilt has to offer from their talented peers. 

“I think it’s an accessible way to access Blair without being intimidated to come to Blair. A lot of people don’t even know where Blair is, or where the different recital halls are, or when the concerts are, so by bringing it to the main campus and advertising it there, people have the opportunity to be in a more [familiar] space,” Reparip said. 

The next Blair Salon concert will be held on March 24 at McTyeire Hall, and the committee has plans to hold future concerts at Commons and either Kissam Center or Zeppos.