Last fall, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra put on its first Happy Hour Concert at the Ohio Theatre downtown. Welcoming all with free admission and even free appetizers, the CSO offered up some wonderful, mid-week concerts with the goal of bringing in new concert-goers right after work or who might not otherwise be able to enjoy a concert over the weekend.
Kudos to CSO marketing because these concerts are a fantastic idea for which they deserve nothing but praise. Not only do they present it in a far more informal setting, but they also get to introduce amazing music to a whole new audience. It brings in all kind of people to those dressed up for a fancy night out to people with baggy pants and ball caps. Oh yeah – and everything in between as well!
I heard that they were expecting 3-400 people at the first concert and ended up welcoming nearly 1,200! WOW! I’m sure the second concert had just as many because the best seats filled up quickly! Putting on any concert – especially a free one – isn’t easy. And I’m sure it certainly doesn’t come cheap which is why it’s so important to get the community involved. Fortunately, the CSO is on top of that. And, though more are always welcome, there are people and businesses out there doing exactly that: getting involved.
Enter Watershed Distillery.
Watershed Distillery is a locally owned and operated distillery of world-class spirits right here in Columbus. Located in Grandview (Columbus’ best neighborhood), it was founded in 2010 by owners Greg Lehman and Dave Rigo who liked the concept of locally owned and produced spirits. With that in mind, they put their heads together to make that a reality. Seven years later, they have Watershed Distillery – home to Vodka, Bourbon and two kinds of Gin.
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Dave Rigo between tours to talk about Watershed Distillery and its support of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Here’s our conversation.
How did you end up supporting the Happy Hour Concerts? The CSO contacted us about happy hour concerts. It’s the right thing to do – to support the arts. We have an upscale brand and in our minds, we think that’s a good fit for the CSO.
Why support the Symphony? I personally think that with a 2 & 3-year old, there are so many things – whether its music or painting – that…it just is part of a cultural thing you have to have in order to balance out with everything else in the world. It makes you a better, well-rounded person. There’s so much that is a distraction (e.g. Smart phones) it’s nice to see someone more creative than me, to see what they’re able to produce. We can sit back and relax to forget about the world we live in sometimes.
Did you attend concerts prior to the Happy Hour Concerts? Oh yeah.
What are your thoughts on the success of these concerts? Wow! We’d like to take some of the credit, but we didn’t think we’d have so many people. We obviously love the exposure to a totally different customer base that we sometimes don’t get in front of, so it’s a win-win. In talking to the CSO, they said they’d like to start appealing to a younger demographic. We’re a younger brand and we already appeal to the young professional.
Is this something you’ll continue into next season? Yeah – I think so! We’ve got one more left this year. If they ask us to be a part of it again, we’ll definitely do it.
So who’s your favorite composer? No idea! I like going, but, by no means am I able to answer that question! I could listen to anything – such a wide range of music. Country, rap, rock and everything in between! With young kids, I’ve been listening to a lot of Frozen lately! Rock / Grunge in high school to Country in college because the truck I had for my landscaping job would only get one station and that was country!
Take a tour
Prior to the first Happy Hour concert, I’d never heard of Watershed before, despite the fact that I live walking distance from their distillery! That’s OK – I’m pretty much a teetotaler, so that’s not too surprising. That said, I was interested in learning more about them. Fortunately that was made easy because they offer tours! For $10, you can take a tour and learn all about the process as well as sample each of the four spirits they make. Either Greg or Dave will talk about the distilling process, show you around, answer any questions you may have and then treat you to a tasting at the end. While you’re there, pick up a bottle or two. I took my tour before Christmas, so I know they make great gifts!
The next Happy Hour concert is this Wednesday, March 26 at the Ohio theatre at 6:30 pm. (Bar opens at 5:30 pm!). Look for Greg and Dave while you’re there!
Watershed Distillery products can be found in 700 bars and restaurants all over Ohio as well as in six other states! To learn more about Watershed Distillery and their world-class spirits, please visit their website and like them on Facebook. To read the rest of my interview with Dave as well as a Cliff’s Notes version of distilling (and more pictures!), check out my post Grandview: Watershed Distillery on my blog, Itinerant Knitter.
Last month, I wrote about a friend of mine, Daric Gill, who is a local artist who sometimes incorporates music into some of his art. The example I gave was of a line of illustrations he has called the ToeHeads in which he draws fun, toe-shaped characters in a variety of scenes, some of which are musically themed. I’m happy to say I have two of those on my walls and while one of mine has a musical theme, they both are tied to my love of knitting.
Yes, like many musicians, Daric obviously takes requests!
Daric is an interdisciplinary artist which explains why he does illustrations on reclaimed wood. He also does sculpting and painting. There are times however, he takes his skills from a couple of those to turn something that was thrown away (or about to be thrown away) into something beautiful.
My musician friends may cringe at the thought, but there was a time when a bunch of student violins were going to be tossed in the trash. They weren’t in very good shape as the elements had somehow gotten to them. If you’re curious as to what happens when a violin is exposed to the elements, Holly Mulcahy, Concertmaster of the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, wrote about Wallace Hartley, Bandleader and violinist on the Titanic. In her blog, Neo Classical, she wrote about how his violin that was supposedly found floating in the Atlantic Ocean a couple of weeks after the ship sank. She wrote of an experiment conducted where a violin was essentially destroyed in just one night of sitting in saltwater.
It does not take long to ruin a beautiful violin – no matter how well it was made. String instruments are fragile.
The student violins weren’t nearly as damaged as the violin sacrificed in that experiment but they could no longer be played so Daric took them in and did some amazing things.
One thing he did was to combine one of his fun ToeHeads to decorate the backside of a violin. There looks to be a little bit of math thrown in for good measure, too! This next piece is something I really like. He’s taken the necks off two violins and turned them into the base of a decorative shelf. What do you think of this? I think it’s absolutely beautiful. This next piece is actually a Xylophone made with Maple and African Rosewood. The colors of the wood are gorgeous! This next shelf was originally a music rack on a piano that was marked damaged. Sure you can always use it to start a bonfire << group shudder! >> but why not put it to good use as a shelf in your home? Daric even kept the original manufacturer’s emblem on it after restoring it, which I think makes the whole piece that much more beautiful and interesting. And here’s the Victor Piano and Organ Co logo – a company with a rather strange website! I’m so glad it was kept on this shelf though. Definitely lends an air of history to it. The emblem itself states that “We hereby warrant this piano for five years against defective workmanship or material.” Hmm…I wonder - does Daric offers warranties as well? Music is not confined to great concert halls. It’s not set aside solely for those with unlimited incomes and it’s certainly not limited to what you can hear on an iPod. Music is an audio medium but it never has to be confined to only one of our senses. Music and certainly the love of music can both live on well beyond the use of an old student violin or a damaged piano.
Music is art. Art is music and together, they can combine to bring us joy in every aspect of our life – whether we’re at a concert, playing an instrument at home, hanging a new, 3-D picture on our walls or just placing a decorative item on a shelf.
The combination of art and music together is life. It is happiness. Look what my friend, Daric, has done. There really are no limits.
Special thanks again to Daric for graciously allowing me the use of all his pictures!
Click here to see some of Daric’s musically-themed ToeHeads.
Daric Gill has a new blog: The Arting Artist. Please check it out and leave comments showing your support.
A friend once told me that art is anything you can get away with. Some may or may not agree, but I think he was just communicating how art is not limited to just one format or one outlet or one kind of design. It’s a very personal means of expression. Like a solo pianist creating a cadenza during a concerto, people from all over use art to express themselves – their thoughts, their emotions and most certainly, their passions. Beethoven himself is quoted as saying “To play without passion is inexcusable!”
Music is art and art can be passion in tangible form.
Expressing a love of music doesn’t have to be limited to that which is made with instruments or vocal chords. It can be shown in a variety of ways: e.g. a statue of a famous composer like W. A. Mozart in Vienna or the treble clef sign made with flowers in front of the statue of W. A. Mozart in Vienna. It can also be something like a hand knit blanket filled with musical symbols or musical note earrings or a concert ticket.
Another possibility is that a love of music can also be expressed via pictorial art.
Meet my friend, Daric Gill.
A self-described interdisciplinary artist, he specializes in oil painting, metal sculpture and robotics – a sort of triathlete of the arts! A graduate of both Columbus College of Art and Design and the University of Cincinnati, he’s nationally known for his exceptional paintings, sculptures and something a bit more fun: ToeHeads!
ToeHeads, you say? Sure! Illustrations of heads that are shaped like big toes – all painted on reclaimed lumber. Trust me. They’re fun!
Thanks to his light blond hair, Daric was called a “towhead” as a kid. Being really young, he naturally thought of the toes on his feet. The first actual drawing of a ToeHead though, can be traced back to 2008 when he started designing a table for a client who wanted a fun inlay. Unfortunately the stock market crashed and the table never made it out of a sketch book.
A couple years later, he drew a few ToeHeads as Christmas presents for his family. While illustration wasn’t his normal art form, his friends (and their friends) started asking about these whimsical figures as soon as he posted pictures of them on Facebook. All of a sudden, more and more people started wanting them for their own walls.
Daric told me that he’d been doing high-technical work, i.e. more difficult pieces of art that required a lot more technical prowess to complete, such as oil paintings and sculpted work. He already had art on display in museums and galleries, so this gave him an opportunity to work on something light and fun. He went on to say that as an interdisciplinary artist, making ToeHeads just added to the variety of his creations. His family loved them and through word of mouth, they just instantly took off.
His ToeHeads can be found on display in and around Columbus in various galleries and shops, including right here in Grandview at Stauf’s this holiday season from November 1 through New Year’s 2014.
The coolest part of ToeHeads, I think, is that he makes no more than three of any given illustration. Special orders are most welcome, but there’s still a limit of three – the original, plus two copies. Personally, I thought it was pretty cool when someone else wanted one of my knitting ToeHeads! Yes – I have two!
I love that he has a lot of musical ToeHeads – almost enough for his own orchestra, though he’s obviously missing the most important one: the clarinet. Sigh. Thats OK – you should see the sculpted work he does with repurposed instruments! While I’m saving those for another post another day, suffice to say, they’re fantastic! Gorgeous, even!
ToeHeads may have started as a bit of a fluke, but 560+ (and countless hours at the Idea Foundry) later, they’re still going strong. How strong? Well, Daric’s about to start up a new signature line called “SnackHacks.” Not sure what a SnackHack is? That’s OK. I don’t either since he hasn’t revealed them yet, but they’re sure to be fun!
To take a look at the ToeHead collection or to find details on how you, too, can order a ToeHead for your walls, visit his page on Facebook. He’s a night owl, so don’t be surprised when new pictures appear while the rest of us are sleeping!
For his paintings, visit Daric Gill’s Absolutes.
While I’ll take credit for the picture of Daric himself, I’d like to offer up special thanks for his having granted me permission to use all his ToeHeads pictures in this post. THANK YOU!