Many of Delaware’s venerable arts organizations have their roots in our past.
Our remarkable Delaware Symphony grew out of a small organization, the Tankopanikum Orchestra, a group of amateur musicians that matured into the magnificent ensemble we know today.
Similarly, in 1972 the First & Central Presbyterian Church in Wilmington – across from the Hotel du Pont – started a modest series of community music programs. No one could have predicted that 50 years later there would still be music emanating from those same buildings on the corner of 11th and Market Street, with no end in sight!
In 2009, we founded Market Street Music, an independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to continue and expand these original music programs, and we’ve proudly served and inspired Delawares with our varied offerings for 13 years. years.
Today, Market Street Music presents two series of concerts. Our popular free Thursday noon concerts in the fall and spring feature a wide variety of music. We also have a series of sold-out weekend concerts with classically-oriented tickets.
In total, these concerts – 25 to 30 each year – offer the public an enormous variety, from jazz and world music ensembles to string quartets, from soloists to choirs with orchestra.
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We also host two choral ensembles that perform at our concerts. Center City Chorale – founded in 1978 – is a community choir of enthusiastic amateur singers that rehearses Tuesdays at noon. There are no auditions or fees to sing, and everyone is welcome. Mastersingers of Wilmington, one of the best auditioned choirs in the area, is a half-and-half mix of skilled amateurs and professional singers.
Our newest program serving North Delaware is Market Street Music’s free choir lending library. We maintain a catalog of approximately 1,000 titles, all of which are available on loan to community, school and church choirs in the area. This welcome service saves every music organization that uses it hundreds of dollars in music purchases each year.
The pandemic has been a difficult time for arts organizations. Many have gone out of business for a time, but by making a series of adjustments, we have had the chance to continue our programs. We presented six full concerts, from jazz to early music, from spirituals to Bach, each attended by a small group of guest patrons and streamed online for free. You can still see them on YouTube.
Now that things are normalizing, Market Street Music is grateful to be in the midst of a busy spring season. Over the next few weeks, we will be presenting ten free weekly concerts on Thursday lunchtimes and three festival concerts on Saturdays. Center City Chorale and Mastersingers of Wilmington are rehearsing for upcoming performances, and our choir lending library is once again in full swing.
Note, two upcoming concerts at the Festival: On April 30, we will present Pyxis Piano Trio, an exciting and virtuoso ensemble that has graced our stage for many years. And on May 21 Mastersingers of Wilmington sings the music of Bach and Haydn with orchestra.
The Thursday Noon Concerts – known for their variety – will feature jazz, classical chamber ensembles, great singers (with our partner OperaDelaware), and even a program of Bach and Piazzolla played on the accordion.
See www.MarketStreetMusicDE.org for full details.
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Throughout our history – through our concerts, choral ensembles and music loans – Market Street Music has served over 35,000 people, giving them (often for free) the experience and thrill of live music. We are proud to inspire Delawares through this universal language.
With the return of so many varied offerings to choose from, the future looks bright again for the arts in Wilmington.
I invite you to discover our contribution by attending an upcoming Market Street Music event. I will be there to welcome you!
David Schelat is president of Market Street Music.
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