A new generation of composers is right here in Nevada County, and are offering a free virtual performance by The Composers Project. Join InConcert Sierra at 2 p.m. this Sunday, October 18, to celebrate the music composed by thirteen students of the Composers Project, brought to life by eighteen local and regional professional musicians.
The 2019-20 “Composers Project with Mark Vance” class began their coursework in September 2019. For nine months during the school year, CP students learned about music theory, harmony, notation, music history, and writing for instrument families. They met and worked with renowned musicians and composers who performed for the InConcert Third Sunday Series.
In February 2020, the students’ first concert, “Poetry in Song,” featured their compositions written for voice and instruments and performed by professional musicians for a live audience. This was just a mid-course taste of these students’ capabilities. The audience and musicians were astounded. “The concert was spectacular in its variety and depth. I found it very moving to hear what our young composers had to offer. So truly special,” said one composer’s parent.
In March 2020, as the pandemic shut down normal activities, ICS Education Director Mark Vance kept his class together and working, albeit virtually. The coursework continued into June and the students persevered.
Via a collaboration with local nonprofit Sierra Harvest, the students gained inspiration for their final compositions through field trips (prior to the COVID-19 shutdown) to Sierra Harvest farms and events. Titles such as “Interconnected,” “The Life of a Strawberry Plant,” “The Water Cycle,” and “The Garden’s Lullaby,” are just examples of the works that came out of the students’ experiences through Sierra Harvest.
The students’ hard work and dedication culminate in Sunday’s concert presenting their final pieces from the 2019-2020 course.
This past July, videographers Lou Douros and Larry Huntington donated their time to ensure that the students’ final works, composed for ensembles, were documented and filmed for both the students and our audience to enjoy. Musicians gathered a few at a time at the Miners Foundry and, while socially distanced, performed these new works.
One of the musicians commented, “What a treat to play such beautiful, interesting new music in person. Mark, you always inspire the kids to create fascinating pieces. Thanks to the sound and video team as well. If I didn’t remember to smile on the outside while concentrating hard on the music, I was smiling on the inside.”
At the completion of all the filming, Vance said, “This has been a tough year for all of us. We’ve dealt with power outages, the COVID-19 pandemic, home quarantine, online learning, social distancing, and mask debates. It was fun for the musicians to get together carefully and play live music after all these months of quarantine. And thirteen students were able to hear their final compositions rehearsed and then performed for the first time with real live musicians…really excellent live musicians.”
Don’t miss this exceptional free virtual performance of The Composers Project. The concert may be viewed online on the InConcert Sierra website, on the InConcert Sierra Facebook page, or the InConcert Sierra YouTube channel. It will remain available on YouTube for two weeks.
Content and photos submitted by Julie Hardin, InConcert Sierra.