Pioneer Courthouse Square

MusicWatch Weekly: What (else) is going on?

ARCO turns up, Geter turns on, “Kevin” takes the night off

Last week we talked all about how everyone should be making albums right now, and hopefully you all nodded your heads and muttered, “hell yeah!” Okay, good, we’re happy to have you on board. You know what you can do to make that happen? You can support the artists who will make it happen–by supporting what they’re doing right now.

And what are they doing right now? Well, the big news on our desk today is ARCO-PDX performing Beethoven in Pioneer Square at 6:30 this Saturday evening (tomorrow!), playing for–ahem—whoever happens to be downtown just then, all while keeping distant in local artist Bill Will’s Polka Dot Courthouse Square installation.

ARCO says:

Thanks to technological advances, passersby will be able to enjoy the music either from their seats on the semicircular steps, or by weaving their way through the players for a one-of-a-kind immersive experience!

This is clearly the exact right ensemble for Polka Dot Square: among other things, the “amplified” part helps a ton when you’re not only outside but six feet away from the other players, and the “repertory” part helps when the point of the concert is not about building the repertoire but putting it to use.


Tuba or not tuba: That’s the holiday question

For the 29th year, Portland Tuba Christmas makes a mighty sound in Pioneer Courthouse Square, renewing a pleasure we've been missing.


Portland’s 29th annual Tuba Christmas boomed and rumbled over Pioneer Courthouse Square in the center of downtown on Saturday, and to tell the forlorn truth, I’d forgotten all about it. Fortunately for the world in general and ArtsWatch readers in particular, K.B. Dixon had not.

Dixon, my friend and a frequent ArtsWatch contributor, is an enthusiast of the sort of odd creative compulsion that struts proudly just a little to the side of the workaday world. He believes it’s part of the joy and generosity of life to hurl himself into the midst of such wonders – things like carousel museums, vintage car and airplane collections, Day of the Dead celebrations, Saturday Market, coffeehouse culture, roadster shows – and record them in visual images for the rest of the world to see and appreciate for what they are: the quirks and passions and alternate pathways that create a life well-lived.

Out of the chaos, a universe of coordinated sound is born. Music stands and music scores help midwife the joyous event.