My Year of Creating at a Distance
This newsletter debuted almost exactly a year ago today (issue No. 1 was posted May 6, 2020). I started it because, despite the restrictions of the pandemic, I was witnessing incredibly creative work enabled and taking new form via technology. Some of these works inspired me to do everything I could to remain creative and productive, whatever the constraints of social distancing. I think it’s important for each of us to reflect on our efforts over this period, so here’s some of what I’ve created over the past year:
Group a cappella videos
- Stanford Hymn (Fleet Street alums)
- Fly Me to the Moon (The Tonics)
- Wassail Song (Uni High Madrigals alums)
- Lean on Me (The Tonics)
Solo a cappella videos
- Christmas Soup
- Only You
- Illinois Loyalty (for the NCAA Basketball Tournament… that didn’t work out so well!)
Participated in several large online choir productions. Here’s my favorite:
Crafted a song in Minecraft
- Wait For It (from Hamilton)
Music jam videos with my research lab
Developed videos and interactive content for 3 online classes
- ECE-121: Intro to Entertainment Engineering (Spring 2020)
- ECE-101: Electrical & Computer Engineering in the Real World (Fall 2020)
- ECE-434: Applied Digital Signal Processing (Winter 2021)
More online talks and workshops than I can remember. Unfortunately, most are not available for streaming, but here are a few:
- Creating at a Distance (for TEDxDrexelU)
- Keep Singing! Creating a Virtual Chorus (for the ADE Festival of Learning)
- Creative Chat: Music, Media, and Games, Oh My! (for Amplify Philly @ Home)
Co-created a live talk mini-series, Creative Conversations for a Changing World (with Jessica Zweig, Play On Philly)
- CCCW No. 1 with David Devan, Valerie Gay, and Melissa Talley-Palmer
- CCCW No. 2 with Ellen Fishman, Jay Fluellen, and Paul Smith
- CCCW No. 3 with Chris Bartlett, Juliet Fink-Yates, and Bill Rhoads
Developed an iOS app to help people participate in virtual choir projects. I also released an Android version, but it turned out to require much more time and attention than I can give it, and I won’t be able to maintain it in the future (sorry Android users).
Developed a text-based markup format for music lyrics + chord charts
Web apps on the OpenProcessing platform (written in P5.js)
- An app using LyriChord for generating interactive performance cues (used in my TEDxDrexelU video)
As we gradually transition back to in-person interactions from a year+ of social distancing, this newsletter will also evolve. I will, of course, continue to highlight and share my thoughts about novel creative work enabled by technology. My posts will remain a mashup of arts, tech, equity, and just plain cool stuff, but I’ll try to highlight efforts that build upon the learnings of the past year. Heading into the summer, I feel a growing sense of optimism, and I look forward to what happens next!
(Socially) Distant Creations
- Sogno di Volare [Stay at Home Choir] The latest massive choral collaboration by our friends in London, featuring 3600 singers with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performing this stirring anthem by composer Christopher Tin. The organization is also launching a new album project, featuring 5 large scale collaborative performances.
- Behind the Scenes of the Strings On-Line installation [RITMO – University of Oslo] I linked to this experimental installation of self-playing guitars last summer. Here is a short film about how it was put together.
- Bridging the Distance: Folk Music, the People’s Music [World Cafe Live Education] Our friends from World Cafe Live have adapted one of their Bridge Sessions for young audiences as a virtual celebration of the diversity, themes and spirit of folk music from a variety of cultures. Featuring teaching artists Elena Moon Park, Joe Tayoun and Ami Yares, the program is aimed at students in grades 2-6.
- Villanova A Cappella Palooza [Villanova University] Livestream recording of their in-person (outdoors) festival, featuring all 8 student a cappella ensembles. Glad to see they were able to make a live performance work safely. Live music is coming back soon!
What I’m creating…
See above 😀
More seriously, I have several new projects in process right now: music, tech, videos, and even a livestream conversation series. I’m just tied up with the end of the academic year, so I’m looking forward to summer to launch some of these efforts. Of course, I’ll post things here when they’re released!