The somber sounds of oboes, violins and cellos played at the Yale University Art Gallery Tuesday afternoon, giving listeners a chance for reflection and meditation on the recent tragedy that claimed four Yale students.
“Solace in Art: An Afternoon of Reflection,” was designed to offer listeners an artistic way to cope with the Jan. 17 car accident in which Kyle Burnat ’05, Andrew Dwyer ’05, Sean Fenton ’04 and Nicholas Grass ’05, were killed. The performance was held in the Trumbull Gallery and featured solo musical performances by Yale students.
“It gives musicians a place to give something back without speaking,” said Heather Wittels ’05, who performed at the event. “It gives people a place to think.”
Anna Hammond, the gallery’s deputy director of programs and external affairs, said she wanted to organize something without words that would encourage reflection in a quiet environment. She said she hoped to provide an informal setting where grieving students and members of the community could sit and collect their thoughts.
“[The accident] is a very difficult experience to internalize as a young person,” she said. “The friendships here are made so quickly and are so intense.”
Hammond said she left the musical selection for the event up to the individual musicians, but expected a somber program.
“A lot of the performers asked what would be appropriate,” said Jennifer Stock ’03, who coordinated the student performers. “I said something that isn’t very technical or showy — no virtuoso pieces. They mainly chose slow movements that aren’t very technically challenging.”
Stock is a head coordinator for Instrumental Connection, a Yale student group that collaborated on the event. The organization volunteers to give music lessons in the New Haven public schools to help alleviate the underfunding of music in the curriculum.
Turnout for the event was somewhat low, with slightly more than a dozen people attending. The atmosphere was comfortable and intimate, and those who attended said were pleased with what they heard.
“It’s a shame more people didn’t know about it,” said Andrew Parker MUS ’03, who came to support a friend playing at the gallery. “But it was done beautifully; it was really excellent.”
The musicians who performed in the concert said it gave them a chance to give something back to the community the best way they could — musically.
“My goal is to provide what people want to hear, to make them think and to give them a space to reflect.” said Wittels. “For an accident such as this, music is the best thing we can offer.”
Tatiana Klacsmann ’05, who went to high school with Dwyer, said she performed in the concert to do something nice in his memory.
“Everyone felt really helpless, and this was something I could do,” she said. “It was a really moving tribute. It was very meditative.”