Artist Spotlight: Electric Earth Concerts

On the heels of Electric Earth Concerts of

Peterborough, NH's recent grant award from the

National Endowment of the Arts (NEA), we

decided to highlight their wonderful organization

in this month's Arts Spotlight. Please enjoy.

Please tell me the basics about Electric

Earth Concerts... when the

organization startedand why.

Laura Gilbert and I (Jonathan Bagg)

foundedElectric Earth Concerts in 2012. We

both had spent many years performing in

theregion, so we knew our audience before we

started EEC - a core group of musiclovers who

would appreciate the kind of programming and

artists we intended tobring. We also were

determined to reach audiences in the area who

might notcome to our concerts due to disabilities

or the fact that they wereschool-kids. This dual

purpose is written into our mission, and each

year wegive many free concerts at homes for

people with disabilities and schools, inaddition

to our public concerts at beautiful churches and

meetinghouses andplaces with wonderful

acoustics. Since the beginning we’ve supported ouractivities through ticket sales, private

donations, and foundation grants. Thisyear’s grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

is a coming of age ofsorts, signaling our arrival as an organization that has gained the

support ofour national institutions. Our name and philosophy are inspired by

Beethoven’swords: "Music is the electric soil in which the spirit lives, thinks, andinvents.”

Beethoven felt that ideas of mysterious and divine origin come tofruition when given voice in

the "electric" language of music, and ElectricEarth Concerts honors his idea that music is

fertile ground for the spirit. Atthe heart of the organization is a desire to make music in an

environment aliveand open to creative discovery for both performer and audience.

Please explain Electric Earth Concerts commitment to the arts in the Monadnock


When we started EEC our supporters told us therewas a need for more concerts of the

quality we give throughout the year - notjust in the summertime. So we bring music even in

the winter, fall, and spring.It’s a year-round festival that reaches its peak in the summer when

we tend todo our most ambitious projects. There is no reason that 'New Hampshirites'

shouldlook to Boston or New York to find vital, original musical events. We see ourhome in

the Monadnock region as a place for unique things to happen. Over theyears we’ve put on

many such events; there was an evening of Thoreau-inspiredmusic that included a photo

essay on Thoreau’s New England haunts by a localphotographer; we invited a wonderful

scholar from England to speak about17th-century English culture as a backdrop to a

performance by a consort ofviols; we asked a famous novelist to weave his tale about 20th-
century musicinto in an evening-long event centered on a 20th century

masterpiece.Collaborative events like these, which enlarge our concept of what a concertcan

be, are a part of our DNA. We also bring some of the best artists anywhereto perform in our

churches and meetinghouses, whether it’s a world premiere ora Beethoven String Quartet.

We believe there is no substituted for trueartistry, and when it’s there it transforms a merely

good concert intosomething that revives your faith in human possibility.

Is Electric Earth Concerts collaborative? How so? How does the organization

collaborate with artists and arts-related organizations?

We are always looking for ways to collaborate-whether artistically, as I have just mentioned,

or as a way to reach more anddifferent people. The Monadnock Center for History and

Culture is a place wehave often worked with to put on events - as part of Peak into

Peterborough, forexample. We also played a concert for the opening of an exhibit of

localartists at the Historical Society of Cheshire County in Keene. And we haveperformed

often for schools in Keene, Dublin, and Jaffrey.

What is the organization's vision for the arts in the Monadnock Region and

What is the organization's vision for the arts in the Monadnock Region and

thesurrounding regions? And, NH for that matter?! How will you work to makethat


The Monadnock region has more than its share ofartist living among us. It’s fertile ground

for what we do, and a great placeto work. Our musicians love coming here to perform

because they know that theaudience is getting what they do. Our only regret is knowing that

there arefolks who, if they had known about our concert, might have been able to shareit.

Every time a new face walks into our concert we feel we have won a smallvictory; usually

those folks come back again after discovering the power ofgreat music and great music-
making, compared to other ways they might spend anevening. Luckily, coming out to an EEC

event is easy and relativelyinexpensive - free, in fact for students. Our vision is really quite

simple. Wedo what we do because we know it can make a difference in the lives of allsorts

of different people. They just have to be open to it.

For more information on EEC and for details on their NEA Grant Award, please visit their

website or like them on Facebook.