Thanks to the out-of-the-box thinking by Dr. Jay Sconyers of McNeese State University, we have an opportunity available for your college/university or high school Wind Band to perform this Spring!
Devastatingly, the effects of the COVID-19 virus have forced several K-12, college, university administrations (in conjunction with their state governments) to make the very difficult decision to move some or all of the remaining academic year to an “online” structure. While this makes sense for a “normal” class, such as English or Math, it makes performing ensemble incredibly difficult.
However, thanks to the out-of-the-box thinking by Dr. Jay Sconyers of McNeese State University, we have an opportunity available for your college/university or high school Wind Band to perform this Spring!
Dr. Sconyers and Ryan are building a Virtual Wind Ensemble. This opportunity will allow your band students the chance to play in a wind band of the best players from around the country – from the comfort, safety, and sterility of their homes.
Here are some details:The work will be approximately 5 minutes in duration
The work will be between Grade 3 & Grade 4, allowing for students to be able to read, practice, and “perform” the work with minimal instruction from their directors
Each participating ensemble will be given password-protected access to a website containing all parts along with an MP3 click-track and a video of Dr. Sconyers conducting a “silent rendition” of the piece.
Students will be given approximately two to three weeks to prepare and submit their videos for inclusion in the totality of the “Virtual Wind Ensemble.
While we understand that directors may each have different ideas of tuning, we ask that all wind players tune their instruments to A=440 for the purposes of this video. This will help us to keep all of our ensemble members in tune with one another.
We’re asking all participating student to wear some kind of shirt that shows off their school identity! Once we combine videos of all participating ensemble, we’ll have a wonderful conglomeration of many ensembles, participating from a distance. Maybe your family cat is sitting behind during your video? Or your little puppy walks past? That’s all fine! Let’s face it – this is less than an ideal situation – but that’s no reason we can’t join together to make music!
Percussionists: understanding that many of you do not have access to standard percussion equipment at home, non-pitched percussion parts will ALL be written for (and considered as) “found percussion.” Aside from fixed-pitch percussion (mallets!) – any other parts are all open for any OBJECT you might have at home that could create the sound that fits the bill! Find something – be creative – get outside your (hermetically-sealed) box and come up with a great idea. As the “found percussion” parts come in, we’ll filter the video to include phrases from all the timbres provided. While not EVERY sound will be include ALL of the time, the videos will be included!
Below are the details of this consortium:
Performance venue: YouTube posting for the public. Your school and students could share a YouTube link on social media of the “virtual wind ensemble.”
Length: Approximately 5 Minutes. This is an appropriate viewing length for most YouTube audiences.
Grade Level: This is a grade 3-4. This should make the work easily accessible to a variety of ensembles and easy to “rehearse” in an online format.
Buy in: The buy in for each school is $300.
Premiere: All consortium members will be given the opportunity to submit their student videos and will be combined into a combined virtual premiere. Ryan will also provide a link to a school specific performance for each consortium member. Both videos will be shareable via social media so that we may reach our typical audience and hopefully new audiences as well. We ask that no member post their own copy until the full premiere can be shared.
Music: A link to digital copies of the music and a click track will be included for each consortium member. Also, a link to a video with a conductor will be included.
Recording: Each student will record to an in ear click track (an audio and video file will be provided). They may record it on their computer camera, iPhone, etc… and upload the video. Ryan will combine the files into a virtual wind ensemble. The recording should be a single take and unedited for the sake of continuity. The student can have as many single takes an needed, but for the purpose of combining and alignment, it needs be unedited. The student should be in as quiet a room as possible (should the video have too much noise, the video may be included, but audio omitted). Students should wear any type of shirt that is clearly representing their university.
Thank you for your consideration of this project, and I hope that this piece of music can help make these uncertain times a bit better for your ensembles. I look forward to hopefully collaborating very soon on this project.
Director of Bands, McNeese State University