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Free Concerts Bring Together Residents And Workers in Hartford’s Asylum Hill Neighborhood

Miriam Engel
The Hartford Symphony Orchestra
The HSO's Jazz Quartet played a free concert at The Hartford's Liam E. McGee Memorial Park May23rd.

Members of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra ventured outdoors earlier this week to perform a free concert in Hartford's Asylum Hill neighborhood.

On this sunny, spring lunch hour in Hartford, the HSO's Jazz Quartet ripped into a bunch of standards, including "Blues Inn” by Hartford's own Jackie McLean. Almost on cue, people began milling into The Hartford's Liam E. McGee Memorial Park - employees of The Hartford with their Styrofoam box lunches, grade school students in their school uniforms, and people from the neighborhood drawn by the music.

The lunchtime concerts are a collaboration between insurance group The Hartford and The HSO. It's part of a larger effort with other local non-profits to connect with people living and working in Hartford's Asylum Hill Neighborhood.

“The Hartford has long been committed to building stronger and more connected communities,” said AnnMarie LaBreck Assistant Vice President of National Partnerships and Programs for The Hartford, “what better way than to invite our neighbors, and stand shoulder-to-shoulder listening to great music by the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.”

The HSO's Executive director Steve Collins says it's essential that the HSO get out into the community and be a part of it.

“It's really important to the HSO to engage with our greater community, and to bring our musicians and the music they perform to as many people as possible,” said Collins “and concerts like this, outdoors in a park for free are a great opportunity to do that.”

The next lunchtime concert is June 6th, featuring the Hartford Symphony Orchestra Brass Quintet.

Ray Hardman is Connecticut Public’s Arts and Culture Reporter. He is the host of CPTV’s Emmy-nominated original series “Where Art Thou?” Listeners to Connecticut Public Radio may know Ray as the local voice of “Morning Edition”, and later of “All Things Considered.”

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