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Audience Plays ‘Musical Chairs’ at UMKC Conservatory’s Sight X Sound Performance

Pop Art-inspired performance pushes boundaries of tradition with interactive musical experience
Catie Walker
Sight X Sound Gallery

  UMKC Conservatory students embraced creativity in collaboration with the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in an innovative musical performance on April 5.  

  The Pop Art-themed performance “Pop, Pulse Pattern, Repeat” was the second show in the “Sight X Sound” series. Sight X Sound is the first-ever collaborative series between the UMKC Conservatory and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

  The mastermind behind the series is Dr. Jane Sylvester, a UMKC musicology professor.


Performers at the “Sight X Sound” Exhibit

 “We hope you all walk away with a new art-music experience,” said Sylvester. 

 Inside the gallery organizers scattered clusters of chairs around the room. Some faced the wall to encourage art viewing, while others faced the performers. 

  The audience members switched chairs throughout the performance. After every two songs, Sylvester would ring a bell, signaling the audience to change seats. 

  “It’s basically a game of musical chairs,” said Sylvester. 

  This allowed the audience to view the concert from multiple perspectives. 

  The performance took place inside the museum’s Minimalist gallery. Far from a traditional concert setting, organizers encouraged attendees to examine and connect with the art while listening. 

  Vocal performer and UMKC Senior Gigi Crenshaw said she was disappointed the audience did not get up during the performance to view the art. 

  “It is hard to break out of typical concert etiquette, maybe next time we can show that it’s okay in this setting,” Crenshaw said. 

  Crenshaw’s song incorporated the patterns in Pop Art by using repeating melodies. The song was chosen to reflect a wavy-patterned painting featured in the gallery.  

  The performance also featured an original composition by UMKC student Ian Chung. Chung is a graduate student studying music composition.

  Chung composed the piece “I Sing the First Day of Spring,” an intricate piano solo that goes through three distinct phases of springtime.   

  The performance’s finale was a unique number played by graduate student Fiona Slaughter. The melody on the oboe wove through a spoken word track including bird and nature sounds. 

  The Sight X Sound series finale was held on April 16 and was inspired by early 20th-century art. 

  For more information, click here.

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