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NWWNC to sponsor chamber orchestra performance for Westwood residents, students

The Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, which operates without a conductor, will be performing at Westwood some time next year after receiving a $5,000 neighborhood purpose grant from the North Westwood Neighborhood Council. (Courtesy of Benjamin Hoffman)

By Lily Tinoco

May 23, 2019 11:53 p.m.

Students and Westwood residents can attend a free chamber orchestra concert next year.

The North Westwood Neighborhood Council awarded Kaleidoscope, a conductorless chamber orchestra, a $5,000 neighborhood purpose grant at a meeting May 8 to hold a free concert in Westwood in the coming year. Kaleidoscope has performed in Westwood locations before, including in Powell Library and the Hammer Museum.

Benjamin Hoffman, Kaleidoscope’s grant manager and one of its violinists, said the orchestra’s public mission is to connect the diverse communities of Los Angeles and make classical music more accessible to varied groups.

“We perform for people who have access to classical music, but we also perform for people who have little to no access to or have never heard or have never been able to hear classical music before,” Hoffman said. “So that includes people at hospitals, (primarily low-income) elementary schools and homeless shelters on Skid Row.”

Michael Skiles, president of the NWWNC, said Kaleidoscope’s mission to perform for the public aligns with the council’s goal of staging events to enliven the Westwood community.

Hoffman said the orchestra had already planned to perform in the area next year and thought it would be fitting to apply for the grant. The grant will go toward paying the musicians for their services.

There is still no set time or date for the concert, but the orchestra is planning to announce their season schedule toward the end of the summer, Hoffman said. Skiles said he expects the orchestra to draw a large crowd based on their previous events, such as its performance in Powell Library in 2017 and in the Hammer Museum in February.

“The event at the Hammer was not only packed, with well over 100 people, but they actually had to turn some people away because they reached the event capacity,” Skiles said.

Some students said they would be interested in attending the event.

Alin Abrahamian, a fourth-year political science student, said she would come out to a free concert in Westwood because it would allow her to destress from exams.

Jannat Irshad, a fourth-year sociology student, said she would also be interested because she loves orchestras and would be interested in seeing an opera show come to Westwood one day.

Skiles said he thinks Kaleidoscope will put on a high-energy event that brings together the community.

“They are a top-notch orchestra, they bring in really good talent and they bring crowds of people,” Skiles said. “I do expect hundreds of community members to come together and enjoy the experience.”

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