Alvin recently got a message from Kylie, the lead singer of La Petite Jazzy Jam, a local jazz ensemble, who would be playing at JCCAC. “We’re playing! Come and draw us!” she said. A message was then promptly sent out to sketchers. Although the event was free, we still needed to notify Kylie about the number of tickets required. Quite a few of us responded with enthusiasm. Concert sketching? Fun! There’s so much to focus on - shiny instruments, musicians deeply engrossed and in the flow, and stage lighting meant dramatic shadows and wild colors - a pleasant departure from our usually natural palettes, and all while being highly entertained too.
We had a quick dinner at a little restaurant close to JCCAC in Shek Kip Mei, and were joined by visiting sketchers from Manchester, Will and Pat. The evening was one of the first that felt wintery this December, and after a pleasant chat and warm food in our bellies, we trooped across the street to meet Kylie.
Located at the Black Box Theatre in the basement of JCCAC, the concert that evening would consist of 2 sets. The first was by an amateur smooth jazz group, Smooth Gen, and the next by Kylie’s snazzily named La Petite Jazzy Jam. She welcomed us warmly, then proceeded to brief us on what was to happen that evening, generously inviting us to sit anywhere we chose. Each set would last about 50 minutes, giving us plenty of time to warm up, settle in and get some interesting pieces done.
The bands were to perform on the floor at entrance level. Stadium-style seating rose in rows before them, and we could sit wherever we chose.There were 14 of us in total, and we arrayed ourselves around the theatre, some sitting right behind the musicians, some in the front row, some flanking the band, some higher up for a different vantage point.
Stools and chairs unfolded, tools were set out, and much squinting happened as the interior was typical of a musical evening and thus quite dimly lit. 'Appropriately atmospheric' would be another way to see things. As performances progressed, some sketchers used their phones to light their sketchbooks while others gamely took a wild stab at color combinations, making the one iPad used that evening shine a touch brighter as a versatile option under such conditions.
After much foot-tapping and head-bobbing along with the music, the evening ended with a Show-and-Tell to share the fruit of our labors. We mingled, chatted and took many, many photos. Both organizers and participants beamed at the outcome. The musicians in particular seemed as thrilled to be the focus of our work, as we were to sketch them. Concert sketching again anyone?
Chloe Ka Kei Yau