Walking into Blackbird Baking Co. for your morning coffee and sticky bun may put you in the middle of a concerto this month, as the second annual Cleveland Orchestra residency brings classical music to Lakewood cafes, homes and nightclubs for free concerts May 17-24. It follows last year's successful run in the Gordon Square Arts District. "A cellist was playing in a meat market, and a few people were caught off guard," says Julie Kim, director of operations. "It was fun to expose people to music in unconventional places." Whether you are a Severance Hall regular or have never heard a Mozart symphony, here are five pop-up shows to see this month.
Start your weekend on the right note by enjoying a raspberry croissant and espresso while orchestra members perform solos and duets inside the eatery. Seating outside makes for a meal with relaxing background music. "It's a really small space," says owner Adria Clark, creating intimate and personal performances. 10:30 a.m., 1391 Sloane Ave., 216-712-6599, blackbirdbaking.com
The congregation's Karen refugees perform a native bamboo dance and other songs in Karen during the multilanguage service. "It sounds dissonant to Western people, but it's truly something spectacular," says the Rev. Jonathan Glass-Riley. Afterward, orchestra members take to the sanctuary. 10 a.m., 14321 Detroit Ave., 216-221-4005, lakewoodbaptistonline.org
After orchestra members repair and paint two neighborhood porches, they'll make them their stages and invite residents to play along. "We just really want the air to be filled with music," says LakewoodAlive executive director Ian Andrews. The jam session will wrap with a 6 p.m. ensemble show on the Lakewood Public Library's porch. 4-7 p.m., 15425 Detroit Ave., 216-226-8275, lakewoodpubliclibrary.org
Get your crew together to knock over some pins, sip a craft beer and stroll over to the music room for an orchestra performance that's a departure from the raucous indie bands such as the Cloud Nothings that usually play there. "We make a lot of noise with the pins and the music," says Mahall's co-owner Kelly Flamos. 7 p.m., 13200 Madison Ave., 216-521-3280, mahalls20lanes.com
To cap off a week of world-renowned classical music on the West Side, music director Franz Welser-Möst leads the entire orchestra in this more traditional, free (but ticketed) concert, which includes Ferdinand David's Concertino for Trombone and Orchestra, Richard Strauss' Don Juan and three pieces by Johann Strauss Jr. 7:30 p.m., 14100 Franklin Blvd., 216-529-4160
Does classical music belong outside of Severance Hall? Charles Bernard, assistant principal cellist for the Cleveland Orchestra, tells us why he feels the orchestra is better for it.
Playing at a place like Happy Dog is much less formal, and people are much closer to us. They feel much less intimidated, because they can eat, drink and talk. I heard about a guy who had never seen the orchestra at Severance Hall but saw us perform at the Happy Dog, so he ended up getting a ticket for one of our regular performances. We always talk about how we're your orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, and it's nice to go someplace in the community and come to them.
— as told to Katy Witkowski