If you’re an NPR fan you’ve probably heard of Small office concerts. Otherwise, here’s a crash course: Since 2008, artists have performed at the NPR head office of “All Songs Considered” host Bob Boilen. Over the years, concerts have become something of a pop culture rite of passage, with guests ranging from Wilco to Lizzo to Yo-Yo Ma. The pandemic has changed the format to Tiny Desk (Home) Concerts, but the he spirit is still very much intact.
The live performance series has many fans, including Sarah McElhone of the Catawba County Library System. She wondered: What would it be like if Newton’s main system library could house live music?
Now it is.
“Little library concerts” with local artists took place on Thursdays in August. They featured a pianist, a teenage singer-songwriter, a youth orchestra, and most recently Erin Shull, guitarist and former library clerk who is now director of contemporary music and graphic design at the United Methodist Church. from Denver.
Catawba Library Director Siobhan Loendorf said audiences have grown in recent weeks. She even heard of a mom who started adding Thursday afternoons to her library schedule just to watch the free performances.
“I would say last week there were at least 20 people watching live from the library,” Loendorf said. “And it’s really just a 20-minute concert. What’s pretty cool is when you see people come in through the front door… and they say, “Oh, the music! And either they stop and watch, or they go on and on with their business.
“It’s almost like at the airport when you hear someone playing the piano. It just brightens your day a little.
So far, says Loendorf, no library client has asked for peace and quiet.
Upcoming: violinist Don McGalliard, who is a retired game warden and deputy sheriff, and guitarist Bob Nails. All shows can be watched live in the main branch of the Catawba County Library in Newton or on the Catawba County Library System Facebook Page.
Loendorf says the program was supposed to last until August, but staff are considering whether or not to extend it. After all, the performances so far match the library’s goal of being a place to help the Catawba County community “connect, explore and grow”.
“A kind of ‘Tiny Desk Concert’ hits all three,” Loendorf said. “We connect people with local talent, exploring different instruments, from piano and orchestral strings to guitar and violin, and all age groups… So that really encompasses our whole community. “