Brisbane resident Kevin Fryer first noticed Mission Blue Center as it was just being completed. Riding a bicycle around town he stopped and looked through the window, and recognized at once its potential as a performance space. Even before stepping inside the hall Kevin could tell that it would have acoustics favorable to chamber music.
In 2003, Kevin presented, along with harpsichordist Jung Hae Kim, two trial concerts. They were both a great success, and with the help of Friends of the Brisbane Library, especially members Jeri Sulley and Karen Warner, a concert series called Live at Mission Blue was created.
Kevin first moved to San Francisco in the 1970’s to attend the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. In the early 1980’s he discovered a natural aptitude for woodworking, and began making harpsichords as a professional harpsichord maker. These early years included setting up instruments for concerts, touring with orchestras, serving on non-profit boards, and learning the essential role that fundraising plays in the Arts. These experiences and connections to the classical music community served Kevin well when he decided to undertake the creation of Live at Mission Blue.
One of the early intentions for Live at Mission Blue was to pay respectful fees to the artists, while keeping ticket prices affordable. This meant that the series needed strong support from both the business community and individuals. In those first few years Hitachi was a significant underwriter. Mitch Bull was behind their early support, and he continues to be an advocate through his work on the Chamber. Mike Pacelli, also stepped forward, bringing Live at Mission Blue significant support from Expeditors, and UPC. Early supporters also included Recology, South San Francisco Scavenger, Brisbane Hardware, BiRite, and the Brisbane Village Shopping Center, and they remain so to this day. These businesses along with the many individual donors, and many volunteers are vital to the continued success of Live at Mission Blue.
Kevin says, “It is hard to point to a single concert as the “best.” Most concerts have at least a moment or two, when the audience and artist, are perfectly in tune with each other. When a community listens with a collective ear, to a vocabulary of sound that speaks to who we are, to what is common, as individuals and our collective humanity. This is the aim, and what makes live performance vital to our lives.”
Brisbane has a strong commitment to the arts and arts education. As a voting community, we have passed a parcel tax three times now, that insures that music and arts are taught in our public schools. Brisbane Dance Workshop is a cornerstone in teaching young children the joys of movement and dance, as well as the experience of performance. In addition to Live at Mission Blue, the City sponsors the annual Concerts in the Park, which bring a wide range of live music to our summer activities. Our annual Evening of Sharing, showcases many artists who live in our community. The recent passage of the Public Arts Ordinance, of which Kevin Fryer played an integral role, will guarantee that public arts installation will become a part of Brisbane’s landscape in the future.
The 13th season of Live at Mission Blue opens on February 11th with the extraordinary string ensemble, Archetti. There are three more concerts to follow. Tickets are easy to purchase online at www.LiveatMissionBlue.com or in person at City Hall.