Perched on the hood of his Honda, senior Ben Snyder fiercely played his trumpet, showing great pride and enthusiasm for his original piece. The concert, which took place on April 9, was a testament to the ability of the musicians of the Music Collective to continue to adapt to the Zoom era, as they were able to perform a mix of live and pre-recorded songs, all of which put showcasing their incredible talent in a group setting.
The Music Collective is an audition-only group that features a selection of extremely talented musicians. The set includes a wide variety of instruments and is open to sophomores, juniors and seniors. Despite being in the midst of a global pandemic, the concert offered some familiarity with the real world, as it featured a few live and socially distant performances. The concert was divided into three live performances and four pre-recorded videos that featured songs like “Birdland”, “Just The Two of Us” and an original piece by Snyder called “This Car Drives Me Up the Wall”.
A fun pun came up with the performance of âJust The Two of Usâ by Grover Washington Jr. It was impressive how the ensemble was able to base their performance on the lyrics âjust the two of usâ. For the first half of the song, the flute and saxophone alternated in a single play on the song title. As the piece progressed, the other musicians joined in, but this creative way of presenting the lyrics really amplified the audience experience.
A real highlight of the concert was the original track, “This Car Drives Me Up the Wall”, written by Snyder and performed by the Music Collective. The catchy rhythm of this song, paired with excellent solos from the performers, along with a catchy melody and bassline made it a pleasure to listen to. While it would have been wonderful to see it live, Snyder was able to make a great clip by having each musician film themselves playing their instrument in their own car, then editing the recordings to create a large grid that looked like everyone was playing. together in the same room.
After hearing this original song along with the other three prerecorded performances, it was obvious how well the different instruments were in sync. One of Zoom’s many challenges is audio delay, or audio misalignment when two people are trying to play music at the same time. This led to the ensemble pre-recording all the music that would not be played on the day of the concert. The success of this method was truly astonishing because even though each musician recorded their parts individually, each audio file was perfectly synchronized.
Another issue with Zoom that was apparent during the gig was the audio compression. At certain points in each performance, the sound would cut off and stop, making it difficult to hear at times. While not ideal, it’s one of those things that just gets out of hand, and the Music Collective still managed to put on a great show.
The concert ended with the interpretation of “Ladybird” by Tadd Dameron. What made this performance stand out was the fantastic solo from senior saxophonist, Ido Leibowitz. Leibowitz used his knowledge of music theory and improvisation to create a memorable performance. He was able to use a variety of different scales and rhythms to make the solo exciting, but not too powerful. Her smooth playing helped connect her solo to the rest of the song, which gave the musicians a sense of connection.
Virtual concerts are hard to plan, but it can be even more difficult to showcase the talent of each performer. The mix of live and pre-recorded performances complemented each other well and did a great job of showing what the program is all about: developing the skills to improvise. It was fun listening to all the talented musicians in high school, and the inclusion of live group performances in addition to the pre-recorded and digitally compiled ones gave audiences hope of an imminent return to live music concerts. .