On November 16th, the Kaleidosonic Music Festival will take place in Finney Chapel at 7:30 PM. Organized by Professor Thomas Lopez, this free event will feature a large number of Oberlin ensembles and musicians joining together for an extended single inter-woven performance. Some of the local groups involved include Oberlin Choristers, Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra (NOYO) musicians, the Oberlin College Black Musicians Guild, the Obertones acapella group, and many community members, faculty, and students from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music. Lopez describes the roughly four-hour festival as “an exciting evening-length event with musicians representing a wide array of styles: Gospel, classical, rock and roll, jazz, early music, marching band, serious, funny, and avant-garde.” He notes that “Over 250 musicians will perform in a single extended musical collage: Imagine a brass fanfare alongside taiko drumming, and then organ alongside bagpipes, and over 16 speakers surrounding the audience for a fully immersive sonic experience.”
Colin Holter, the director of NOYO’s Lab Group (a collaborative composing ensemble that is part of the Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra) expressed enthusiasm when speaking about the massive collaborative endeavor. Discussing Lab Group’s role in the event, he explained that the ensemble “will contribute short interstitial pieces between larger works on the Kaleidosonic program. At the halfway point of the concert, we’ll pass the baton to our remarkably inventive colleagues in OINC (Oberlin Improvisation and New Music Collective), with whom we’ve had a few energizing and fruitful combined rehearsals.”
Holter sees the festival as a valuable musical experience for his students, continuing a rich history of collaboration between NOYO and the Oberlin Conservatory. “For Lab Group’s middle and high-school musicians to showcase their work alongside that of so many distinguished musicians in celebration of TIMARA’s fiftieth anniversary is a true honor. NOYO’s partnership with the Oberlin Conservatory is almost as old as TIMARA itself; our ability to bring our unique and innovative programming to the young musicians of Lorain County and beyond depends on it. This evening of forward-looking music promises to galvanize our shared musical community as we reflect on the past and turn our ears toward the future. I’m tremendously proud that NOYO’s Lab Group will be a part of it.”
Marie Cox, Director of Cantate Music at the Oberlin Choristers, noted that the Kaleidosonic Music Festival presents a distinct and exciting departure from the normal context in which her ensemble performs. “The singers range between 5th and 9th grade, and this is something that they have never experienced before. It is quite unusual for us to be a part of this level of creativity. We are used to performing in a very formal setting, and for Kaleidosonic we are going to be part of a “rainstorm including lightning flashes, rain sounds, lighting effects, prepared umbrellas, etc. A very cool experience for our singers. Kaleidosonic is sure to open their eyes to experiencing music in a whole other dimension and I’m certain it will be an unforgettable experience!”
The show serves partly as a tribute to Professor Olly Wilson, who taught the first electronic music course in 1969 and recently passed away. It is also a general celebration of Oberlin’s rich musical scene. Professor Lopez has drawn inspiration from specific performances he was involved in at Finney Chapel during his time as a student at Oberlin. While performing works by composers Sergei Kuriokhin and Pauline Oliveros, he witnessed large collages of sound involving several performers and various musical styles colliding; the Kaleidosonic Music Festival will see a continuation of that tradition in the same space.
The festival is free and open to the public, and music will commence at 7:30 PM. Audience members can come and go as they wish, and there will be 3 food trucks from 7-10 pm in the parking lot of Finney Chapel with pizza and bagel sandwiches.