Civic Orchestra of Chicago – A Treat at Indian Boundary Cultural Center

Indian Boundary Cultural Center/Fieldhouse

The Cultural Center/Field House at Indian Boundary Park was the venue for a lovely concert on Mother’s Day, May 12th, 2019. This performance by the Civic Orchestra of Chicago’s String Quartet was a free concert and it was a treat for mothers and others.  The auditorium was lovely with good acoustics, the performers were skilled and enthusiastic and the audience was appreciative. The program was varied and included: Smetana String Quartet No. 2 in D Minor, Bacewicz String Quartet No. 4, and arr. Danish String Quartet Selections from Wood Works.  This free concert was well attended and it was the perfect opportunity to introduce children to live performers and beautiful music.

A lovely venue

The Indian Boundary Cultural Center/Fieldhouse is a lovely venue, large enough but not too large, a beautiful room with good acoustics and unusual antique lamps.  It is accessible and used for many activities and events. Views of flowering trees outside added a special feeling of Spring. 

I was fascinated to learn that Indian Boundary Park takes its name from a territorial boundary established by the Treaty of 1816 between the Pottawattomie Indians and the U.S. government. The boundary line, which ran through the land that is now the park, was in  effect only through 1833.  At that time the Pottawattomies were forced entirely from the area in the face of white settlement.

Ready for the string quartet

According to the website, “The 1929 Tudor-Revival fieldhouse designed by architect Clarence Hatzfeld features Native American-themed ornament inspired by the park’s name. In 2005 Indian Boundary Fieldhouse was designated a Historical Landmark by the City of Chicago and is also listed in the National Register of Historical Places.”

The audience was welcomed by Supervisor, Phil Martini.  He told us that the Chicago Civic Orchestra is an anchor in the park activities and they have been performing at Indian Boundary for nineteen years.  Next, we were welcomed by James Hall, Manager, Community Programs and Civic Orchestra Engagement who described several upcoming events and introduced the audience to the Chicago Civic Orchestra String Quartet.

Supervisor, Phil Martini

About the Civic Orchestra of Chicago from their website: “Since 1919, young artists have sought membership in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago to develop their musicianship and to further prepare for professional careers. Founded by Frederick Stock, second music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Civic Orchestra is the only training orchestra of its kind affiliated with a major American orchestra.”
The program for this afternoon featured string quartets by Smetana and Bacewicz, as well as arrangements of Scandinavian folk tunes arranged by the Danish String Quartet. The numbers were

Smetana String Quartet No. 2 in D Minor
Bacewicz String Quartet No. 4
arr. Danish String Quartet Selections from Wood Works

Hannah Cartwright, violin;Denielle Wilson, cello;Hanna Pederson, viola; Kaiwei Chen, violin, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago String Quartet with James Hall Manager, Community Programs and Civic Orchestra Engagement

The members of the quartet brought the music they were about to play to life with stories about these pieces.  Of the two string quartets that Smetana composed, they selected the one from 1883 when Smetana was deaf and had very little energy and could write only short portions at one setting giving the work a changeable quality. It was thought to be biographical.

Grażyna Bacewicz, a Polish composer, wrote the String Quartet No. 4 in 1950 and the following year it was awarded a first prize at the International Composers Competition in Liege.  The work ranged from powerful to romantic.

Finally, there was a selection of folk songs including a very slow waltz written by a very old man. The audience was delighted and rose to a standing ovation.  If you missed this concert, do come on Sunday, May 19, for what promises to be another treat.

Information about Indian Boundary Cultural Center

Information about the Civic Orchestra of Chicago

Photos: B. Keer

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