The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Advertisement
The Northgate district right adjacent to the Texas A&M campus houses a street of bars and other restaurants.  
Programs look to combat drunk driving
Alexia Serrata, JOUR 203 contributor • May 10, 2024
Advertisement
The Aggies react after clinching the national championship after Texas A&M’s win against Georgia at the NCAA Women’s Tennis Championship Game in Greenwood Tennis Center in Stillwater, Oklahoma on Sunday, May 19, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Aggies ace it, Bulldogs face it
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 20, 2024

The No. 13 Texas A&M women's tennis team took on No. 7 Georgia and served up a score of 4-1 to clinch its newest title: NCAA Champions.  The...

Advertisement
Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
Advertisement
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Woven Harmony

It was an experience in a New York airport that strengthened what Robert Bluestone has always worked to instill through his classical guitar performances — a sense of community.
Faced with the dilemma of having to temporarily abandon his luggage and guitar, Bluestone soon saw the answer to his problem.
“I saw right in front of me there were two guys wearing Aggie caps,” Bluestone said. “So I [asked], `Can you watch my stuff please?’ and they said OK. I just walked away and I knew that my stuff was safe. I knew nothing would happen to my $60,000 guitar. That’s the kind of place that Texas A&M has always [been] to me and I’m very much looking forward to spending some time on the campus.”
It is that sense of intimacy that Bluestone strives to create in his concerts.
“Even if it’s some place where I’m playing for 1,500 or 2,000 people, I’m going to treat them like they are sitting in their living room,” Bluestone said. “Because that’s what it is to me … a conversation [with the audience].”
Fortunately, Bluestone’s upcoming concert for OPAS’ “Intimate Gathering” series will provide the type of atmosphere that he enjoys playing for — one in which he can build a relationship with the audience. Creating this kind of surrounding is a goal Bluestone said he puts foremost in his performance.
“What classical artists forgot to do was reinvent their relationship with their audience,” Bluestone said. “[I grew] up listening to folk singers who would tell stories about the music they were playing, make jokes with the audience and have the rapport and relationship with the audience. I always liked that better than the way classical musicians just kind of got out there and played the piece, the audience would applaud, and they’d play another piece.”
So Bluestone decided to integrate the two traditions. Though he plays classical music, he appeals to the folk tradition to enhance his performance.
“That tradition of folk singers talking to audiences is thousands of years old,” Bluestone said.
“It’s been around much longer than the classical tradition, so I realized that that was the way.
Talk to the audience [and] get some kind of context and insight into the music and what it means.”
The “Intimate Gathering” series provides the perfect setting for this type of interaction with a question-and-answer session after the performance, but Bluestone plans to go one step further in order to foster his relationship with the audience.
“For the concert this Friday, I will invite folks to come backstage during the intermission, just to talk with them. Anyone from the audience who wants to come backstage will be able to,” Bluestone said.
This Friday’s concert, though, has undergone an unexpected change. It was originally scheduled to be a part of Bluestone’s “Woven Harmony” program, in which he and his wife Rebecca, a tapestry artist, would perform together and discuss their respective work. But due to an illness, Mrs. Bluestone is unable to perform. In spite of the program alteration, Anne Black, executive director of OPAS, asked him to perform solo.
“The Friday evening performance would have been the two of us,” Bluestone said. “Her talking about her work, showing slides; me playing and talking about the pieces that I play.”
The combination of classical guitar and tapestry work offers a unique experience for the audience, and Bluestone described how it was that the “Woven Harmony” program developed.
“We saw that there were similarities between what we did aesthetically, and as a result of that we realized that we could do something where Rebecca would do an exhibition and I would do a concert. We both do a residency where we could do things individually and together about what our art forms have in common. When you think about it, weaving is done on a hand-made, tightly strung wooden instrument without nails, and that’s exactly what a description of a guitar is.”
The husband/wife and performer/audience interaction allow the Bluestones to create a different type of ambience at their concerts.
“We don’t want to do that kind of standard `We’re up here on stage and we’re the artists and you people are down there [who] need to pay attention to us because we’re important,'” Bluestone said. “Instead, we want people to see that inside all of us is this great spark of creativity. Inside every single one of us, we have this capacity to be creative, and whether it comes out in playing guitar or in an elegant engineering solution, it’s still coming from the same place. It’s what I consider a divine spark. It’s what that essence of us is. So what we want people to see is that it manifests itself in each of us in its own way.
Touching the lives of people in this way is Bluestone’s main objective during his performances, and building that all-important sense of community among these people is his way of affecting the lives of others.
“Especially now, with evil loose in the world, we have an opportunity with the arts to show that this is one of the most important ways to create community,” Bluestone said.
Robert Bluestone will be performing at Rudder Theatre Friday, Oct. 19 for MSCOPAS’s “Intimate Gathering” series.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *