Feeding the soul: NSKS free music kitchen concert

Adam Urquhart Violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins delivers a free music kitchen concert to folks at the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter last night through a collaboration with Symphony NH.

NASHUA – Much more than just the hunger for food was satisfied at the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter Friday night. Violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins, January’s guest artist with Symphony N.H., performed a free concert during the evening meal.

This NSKS-Symphony N.H. collaboration began at 4:30 p.m. when Hall-Tompkins took over a corner of the cafeteria and delivered a solo concert. A performance delivered in conjunction with Symphony N.H.’s “All Beethoven” concert set for 8 p.m. today in the Keefe Center for the Arts at Elm Street Middle School.

“We’re all about feeding people who are hungry, but people can be hungry in the soul just as much as their stomachs,” NSKS Executive Director Michael Reinke said. “This concert allows us to feed them in two different ways.”

Reinke is all about using art to inspire those who need a lift. He once ran a homeless organization in Indiana and would have percussionists come in to perform. While managing a neighborhood center in New York City he helped organize a homeless art show.

These are events Reinke wants to see happen at NSKS in the future.

“I’d love to see this be the first of many,” he said. “Maybe do an art show, a play or more performances here, and be bringing it to places where it doesn’t shine.”

Friday night’s concert was the 93rd music kitchen concert that Hall-Tompkins has given at homeless shelters and soup kitchens. The majority of these concerts have been delivered in New York City, where she resides, or in Los Angeles.

At these shows she likes to pass around comment cards to gather the audience’s thoughts on the music or a memory that one of her songs brought up. She said she loves going home and reading them.

Like Reinke, Symphony N.H. Executive Director Marc Thayer said he hopes Hall-Tompkins’ performance is not the last concert offered at the soup kitchen.

“We want to be more involved and make music available to anyone, whether here, in the schools or a concert hall,” Thayer said.

He expressed his thanks to Reinke and NSKS for helping to organize Friday’s show and Thayer hopes to be back soon.

“I’m pleased to see someone with such talent giving back to the community,” Thayer said. “We’ll continue to do things here inspired by her work.”

Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206 or aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.