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Community Engagement

 
 

 
 

Community Engagement is central to Palaver’s work as a performing ensemble. By connecting our musical programming with community partnerships, Palaver seeks to use classical music in new ways to engage diverse audiences in diverse spaces. Past community engagement initiatives include music and storytelling workshops with immigrant communities in Boston, live music and yoga classes, collaborations with visual artists at Anchor House of Artists, and performances at Heartbeet Lifesharing, a Camphill Community in Hardwick, VT.

Ongoing partnerships include performances at Boston Medical Center, Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project, a songwriting project with expecting mothers, and LifeSongs, a similar project with LGBTQ senior citizens.

In Season 5, Palaver will facilitate a series of poetry workshops with patients at McLean Hospital. Original spoken word collaborations will be presented at October’s concert series, "Sing to the Moon," centered around mental health awareness. Palaver will also partner with Maine College of Art as part of its Making Migration Visible exhibition. Similar to Season 4’s Seeking Sanctuary, this program will feature music and storytelling from immigrant communities new to Portland, Maine.

For more information about our community engagement offerings, contact Community Engagement Director Josie Davis: josie.palaver@gmail.com

 
 
 

 
 

Boston Medical Center Residency

 
 

about the residency

Palaver Strings is in its fourth year of working with the Boston Medical Center to strengthen an atmosphere of healing, peace, and community by bringing live classical music to three separate institutions on the BMC campus. 

 

Every month, Palaver members engage with patients, residents, families, doctors, and staff through intimate discussions and performances at Boston Healthcare for the Homeless, Roca Boston, and various units of the medical center. 

 
 
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We hope that by performing in spaces that many associate with uncertainty and fear, we will reach people who may be going through difficult times and who can benefit the most from the therapeutic, uplifting, and transformative power of music.

 

 
 
 

 
 

Lullaby Project

 
 

About the Project

The Lullaby Project, initiated by Carnegie Hall, brings pregnant women and new mothers together with professional musicians to write original lullabies for their babies. The project is completed in three sessions: reflection and brainstorming, songwriting, and recording. It provides innovative prenatal support to families in difficult circumstances, supporting maternal health and child development and strengthening the bond between parent and child.  

 

Palaver has now completed three Lullaby Projects in a partnership with Boston Medical Center, Vital Villages, Rosie’s Place, and our songwriting producer and engineer Matthew Brady. In June 2017, project participant Caitlin Gillespie performed her lullaby, “Harper Rose,” at Carnegie Hall, alongside two members of Palaver. 

 
 

Collaboration

In Season 4, we invited project participants to perform their lullabies at the Huntington Theater as part of our program A dormir a sonar. This concert celebrated the unconditional love between parent and child and also featured a special collaboration with pianist Moisès Fernández Via, who has been instrumental to our community engagement initiatives.  

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Lifesongs

about the project

The Lifesongs project celebrates the stories of LGBTQ seniors in our community. Lifesongs was originally conceived by Palaver cellist Matthew Smith, in partnership with the LGBT Aging Project and ETHOS, as a songwriting collaborative between Palaver musicians and elders from the community, who worked together to write original songs with lyrics drawn from participants’ personal experiences. 

 

The result were powerful stories of love, loss, courage, and affirmation. In 2019, we will showcase Lifesongs on a larger scale at the Boston Center for the Arts. 

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Collaboration

In addition to new Lifesongs participants, the program will feature Samuel Barber’s iconic Adagio for Strings, a new commission by Akenya Seymour, performances by the Theater Offensive, and large-scale renditions of Lifesongs pieces, arranged for Palaver Strings and the Boston Gay Mens’ chorus. As rising bigotry threatens hard-won rights and freedoms, these stories become more important than ever as reminders of where we came from and where we are going.