Random Act of Culture Field Report - Atherton Mills Market
After weeks of work and preparation we were able to pull off our first Random Act of Culture on August 17! And judging by the surprise and smiles, we were thrilled with how it went.
The site of this first RAC was at the Atherton Mills and Market in Charlotte’s Historic South End. With the enthusiastic participation of the market’s manager, Lynn Caldwell, and our friends at Opera Carolina, we prepared with a rehearsal on the Thursday before the event.
The 10+ performers under the direction of veteran opera singer and Opera Carolina volunteer Kristopher Irmiter prepared their movements through the market and their selected playlist:
“O mio babbino caro” from Gianni Schicchi by Puccini
“Quando men vo” from La Boheme by Puccini
“Brindisi (also referred to as libiamo)” from La Traviata by Verdi
After running through the three selections, about seven and a half minutes worth of music, several times, we broke up rehearsal and readied for Tuesday.
A surprisingly large crowd was on hand at the Atherton Mills Market on Tuesday, strolling through the market and buying goods from vendors. Along with a few select media members invited by ASC, there was also a good presence on hand for the Market’s participation in the North Carolina 10% Challenge.
Shortly before 12:15pm, music was piped into the market, and then performer Krista Wilhelmson, standing in a gourmet goods booth, began singing. For the next seven minutes, as performers emerged from booths and from the crowd, shoppers were treated to an interactive and surprise performance. If the looks on people’s faces were a gauge of success, we couldn’t have been happier.
After the performance ended, the singers made their way outside the market. Following a celebratory photo, and handshakes all around, the singers went on their way. Opera Carolina was so thrilled with how the event went, they are already prepared for their next Random Act!
We want to thank the Knight Foundation for their support and guidance with this first event, Lynn Caldwell, at Atherton Mills and Market, for all her help, and of course Opera Carolina for very willingly taking part in something that was completely out of the ordinary.
We’re currently working on finalizing our next Random Act of Culture, and with the positive response we’ve gotten so far, we couldn’t be more ready! Stay tuned…
*First published on the Knight Foundation website. Link available here.