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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Brown Bagging It

To celebrate the opening of the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana’s new gallery in 2007, executive director Mary Jane Schenk brought in the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra’s Eykamp String Quartet for a public performance. In attendance was EPO conductor Alfred Savia, who noted to Schenk the amazing acoustics of the gallery. The cork floor and 17-foot ceiling created a musically conducive space. Soon, the quartet returned to practice.

More than a dozen restaurants line Main Street over six blocks. In the center of it all is the arts council’s gallery. That convenience, combined with the music-friendly gallery, inspired the Brown Bag Lunch Series. The weekly event’s concept: Patrons visit Downtown restaurants for a carryout lunch, and bring it to a free performance inside the arts council’s building. There, a different act entertains the audience every Wednesday through April. Now, nearly 100 people watch performers — from small jazz groups to big choirs to dancers. A few on tap this January: David Schnerr, a classical and jazz artist, and Carol Dallinger and Anne Fiedler, University of Evansville music professors and EPO musicians. The musicians are fans, too: One jazz performer once confided in Schenk, “I need to record here.”

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