A music director who really wants to knock out audiences is combining his loves for boxing and chamber music in the oldest boxing gym in the country. NY1's Arts reporter Stephanie Simon filed the following report.
Inside Gleason's Gym in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn, boxers and musicians are warming up together for the main event — a new chamber music, dance and boxing performance on Saturday called "Strike!"
"I think that people will come away thinking that music has its scrappiness and its toughness and boxing is an art," says Dan Barrett, the conductor for "Strike!"
In one ring, there's music and dancing. All of the elements are timed to either be the length of a boxing round or the rest period between rounds. After a full "bout" concert, goers can turn their attention to another ring to watch the real thing.
Barrett and the rest of his music collective, The International Street Cannibals, love getting in the ring to play.
Boxer Joselito Gonzalez says the music makes him fight better.
"It makes me move my head more and punch faster," Gonzalez says.
Still, the oldest and best-known continuously operational boxing gym in the country may seem like a strange backdrop, but not for 2009 Golden Gloves runner-up and violinist Chala Yancy.
"You need a good rhythm in the ring to time your partner, the person that you're fighting, your sparing partner. You need good timing in music, of course, rhythmically, but also the discipline," says Yancy.
"Being the most important person in the ring, the referee, I like the music. I love it, very nice," says referee Dennis Legall. "We need some culture in boxing."
The boxers are definitely getting interested in chamber music and organizers hope those who come for the music will want to stay after and lace up.
"I am a businessman and the reason why I do this is to bring in business. So it attracts a lot of people who would not normally go into a boxing gym," says Bruce Silverglade, the owner of Gleason's Gym.
So bring your best upper cut, and instead of being saved by the bell, you can be saved by the trombone.
"Strike!" at Gleason's Gym
The International Street Cannibals Present
Saturday, March 16
A Boxing and Chamber Music Concert Event
At the legendary Gleason's Gym
77 Front Street