To Our Yellow Barn Family

Friday, May 15, 2020

In this singular moment, when our human condition is truly universal, what each of us has to offer becomes essential. Science and faith, solace and sustenance: all are essential, and each must find its path to serve a common need.

Music, our universal language, must also find its path, even at a time when there is so much to hear in silence, and at a distance from where its most essential qualities are “virtually” impossible to communicate. This balance has been the focus of our concern as we have contemplated Yellow Barn’s summer.
As always, reflecting upon our very beginning has brought clarity. In that first summer, even before our original barn was used for performances, Yellow Barn was small enough to be hosted by individuals who opened their homes so that musicians could pursue their work, both separately and together. 
While we are not able to gather our entire Yellow Barn family this year, we are creating a series of summer Artist Residencies. The first residency program in this country for professional musicians, Yellow Barn’s Artist Residencies offer an unforeseen model for this time, allowing some of our musicians to be here as representatives of the whole, living in separate guest homes, rehearsing while physically distancing, and streaming performances from the Big Barn. The first performance will take place on what would have been our Opening Night together, July 10th.
Participants in the Young Artists Program that precedes Yellow Barn each summer will explore “from-a-distance” how we use our inner sense of hearing in interpreting without the benefit of making music together. We will better understand what we are missing by casting light on the work we can only do alone, striving (while failing) to communicate as fully as if we were with one another.
Throughout the summer and into the fall, Yellow Barn Music Haul will continue to visit health care facilities and food distribution sites, assisted living communities and rehabilitation centers, neighborhoods and individuals. As soon as it is safe to bring musicians on board, Music Haul will lower its stage for open-air concerts throughout the region.
Ours is not a summer lost but a festival delayed. Every musician who had planned for a Yellow Barn experience this year is invited to join us in 2021, an invitation we extend to all those who make Yellow Barn the magical place that it is. We look forward to our reunion with great hope and anticipation.

—Seth Knopp and Catherine Stephan