A new Portland web series brings strangers together to watch classical music

Portland musical gadfly Spencer Albee and partner Karlyn Daigle unveiled the first episode of a new web series they are co-producing called “Symphony with a Stranger” on Sept. 15. The series, released under the pair’s Animal Magnetism moniker and in conjunction with the Portland Symphony Orchestra, sends strangers to a classical concert together.

The first episode follows New York Times bestselling author Clara Parkes, and dancer/model Pia Louise Capaldi as they meet up on the steps of City Hall for the first time. They chat, getting to know each other, for over half the length of the piece before entering Merrill Auditorium. The filming stops when the music commences and reconvenes after the show as the two discuss what they’ve heard while enjoying snacks.

The six-minute video is narrated in a campy tone by Portland-based actor JP Guimont.

Albee and Daigle hope the series will “tear down the stereotypes and preconceived notions of symphonies and orchestral performance, and to open up the experience of going to the symphony to a new and younger generation with humor and heart.”

I’ll leave it to the viewers to decide if they’ve succeeded with that noble objective. After watching the video, I think I learned a lot more about Parkes and Capaldi than symphonic music, since none of the orchestra’s performance is included in the clip.

Stay tuned for more. A press release says episode two will feature musician and educator Mosart 212 (Mo Nunez) and reproductive rights activist Marian Starkey.

Spencer Albee and Sara Hallie Richardson sing through a fab four tune while rehearsing for the 13th annual Beatles Night in Portland on Tuesday. This year's Thanksgiving weekend shows will feature a string section from the Maine Youth Rock Orchestra, a horn section from The Fogcutters and Abbey Road in its entirety. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

Spencer Albee. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

Troy R. Bennett

About Troy R. Bennett

Troy R. Bennett is a Buxton native and longtime Portland resident whose photojournalism has appeared in media outlets all over the world.