Last weekend, Random Acts of Culture arrived in San Jose as the Symphony Silicon Valley Chorale sprang live choral music on surprised shoppers at the busy Westfield Valley Fair mall and startled attendees at a busy national conference by breaking into song during a reception. These were the first of some 30 impromptu events a year coming to San Jose through an initiative funded by the Knight Foundation. Symphony Silicon Valley will be producing these events throughout Santa Clara County as part of the 1000 Random Acts of Culture being staged nation-wide by the Foundation. And judging from Saturday's reactions, fun will be had by all!
As shoppers bustled about the mall, several began to hum the same tune. Other "shoppers" joined in and soon a chorus, really the Symphony's Chorale incognito, joined together in full voice, seemingly at random, and gave a full rendition of Amazing Grace while surprised shoppers stopped and stared and others peered over railings from above to see what was happening. And when the song was over, the chorus melted back into the crowd as suddenly as it had formed while two of the spectators held up signs reading "You've just experienced a Random Act of Culture." A little later, the chorus rematerialized in another corner of the mall to similar pleasantly surprised reactions.
Across town, a packed national conference was taking place at the Fairmont Hotel. During an afternoon reception, conference attendees heard a faint humming. Soon "attendees"--conference lanyards and all--joined in and the noisy crowd suddenly froze, realizing that something unusual was taking place. Absolutely silent during the performance, the crowd of some three hundred stunned attendees broke into wild applause and whistles of approval as the "Random Act" sign was displayed, for this was a conference of arts marketing professionals from across the country who had just witnessed their first Random Act of Culture.
As Sal Pizarro wrote in his Mercury News column Monday, "Stay alert. You never know when some of this culture stuff might sneak up on you." And while we won't give away the events or their exact locations and times, we might occasionally give you a heads up on our Facebook page and Twitter feed, so sign up for those to be sure you have a chance to experience a Random Act Of Culture in person. But you'll always be able to watch the ones you missed via our YouTube channel and our own website.
Watch last weekend's Random Acts of Culture:
|Random Acts of Culture: Valley Fair Mall 11/13/10|
|Random Acts of Culture: National Conference 11/13/10|