Conference Morsel: Linking with the Visual Arts
Date: June 3, 2014
(An excerpt from the interest session “Hearing the Hidden Harmonies: Paring the Choral Art with the Visual,” presented by Susan Rice and Joy Beckman during the 2014 ACDA North Central Division Conference)
Before embarking on a performance project that pairs choral music with the visual arts, there are several important issues to consider. First, identify the learning or engagement goals the project prompts for your singers or audience members, which can guide you through the decisions that will follow.
Next, consider the resources available in your community to act as Project Partners. We encourage you to think outside the traditional performance framework and consider partners such as museums, historical societies, botanical gardens, theatres (especially those that might have a collection of historic costumes), a prominent local artist, or significant architectural sites that would have staff members or volunteers that could help you learn about the architect as well as the architecture.
Such a project requires a considerable investment of time in planning and discussion once the learning goals and Project Partner have been identified. Initial conversations between the conductor/teacher and the partnering organization should occur at least two years prior to the implementation of the project. This will allow for the project vision to be clearly articulated and agreed upon, ample time to be allocated for the selection of appropriate objects from the collection, and the performance location and presence of the objects selected to be planned.
Such a project typically flows more organically if the music selections arise from the stimulus of the objects considered. Therefore, it is advisable for final decisions about the visual art/objects to be confirmed approximately 18 months prior to the performance, which allows adequate time for repertoire selection.