Chelsea Allen, the manager of community engagement at the San Diego Symphony, said she thinks San Diego’s art and culture crowd is ready for new, exciting things.

“It seems from what we’re learning that it’s very brave,” she said. “And it’s willing to accept some new sounds or looks, so we’re happy to be doing that here.”

The symphony is shaking things up with its new Our American Music festival, a month-long concert series celebrating music made in and inspired by America. The series includes shows by hip-hop legend Talib Kweli and folk singer/songwriter Rosanne Cash, along with more traditional chamber and classical music performances.

The festival also includes temporary public art installations – sound booths and a community quilt – that invite audiences to interact and create some art and music of their own.

For the first episode of Season 2 of Culturecast, Voice of San Diego’s podcast covering arts and culture in region, I stepped inside a sound booth and talk to Allen and Brandon Steppe, the founder and director of the David’s Harp Foundation, a nonprofit that works with at-risk and homeless youth by providing free music education. The kids in Steppe’s program collaborated with the symphony and helped produce the music for the booths.

All of the music and sounds you hear in this episode, by the way, are by David’s Harp students. The track I let play for a few seconds at the very end is called “Parade of History” by Nathaniel Randle.

Let me know what you think about the new direction for Culturecast, or pitch me a podcast story idea by shooting me a quick email.

Subscribe to Culturecast on iTunes or get the RSS feed hereStream it here. Here’s a transcript of the show.

Kinsee Morlan was formerly the Engagement Editor at Voice of San Diego and author of the Culture Report. She also managed VOSD’s podcasts and covered...

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