Making the Band: Chris Kallmyer composes music for the opening of the Northern Spark


Reblogged from Walker Art Center.

Chris Kallmyer testing the sound properties of the site.

Chris Kallmyer testing the sound properties of the site.

Los Angeles based composer Chris Kallmyer has spent the last two days walking the Stone Arch bridge, testing survival whistles and sketching plans for new piece as part of the Northern Spark Festival on June 4th and 5th.  for dawn or dusk // homeward is a 10-15 minute sound work for 100+ local musicians playing brass, percussion, piccolos and tiny whistles.  The site specific performance will take place on the Stone Arch Bridge, stretching across the Mississippi playing overlapping melodies derived from the route of the river.  The score is based the route of the river south past St. Louis, Memphis, New Orleans and into the Gulf of Mexico.

Map of Mississippi River over-layed as a guide for the composition.

Community involvement is integral to the piece.

In this spirit, amateurs will work side by side with professionals, as well as community leaders who will run rehearsals. Chris states “The intent of this project is to host a range of musicians involved, and create a unique opportunity for younger musicians to pair with more experienced performers outside of a classroom or traditional band setting.”  The score is written considering players of all levels and experience and will give the performers the unique experience of debuting an original piece created specifically for them.”

If you are curious if this project is right for you, please check out this PDF of the working score!

We are still seeking musicians for the piece.  What would that mean for you…

Participating musicians

Trumpet, Trombone/Baritone/Tuba/Sousaphone, Piccolo, Percussion.

We are looking for musicians age 10 – 110 (amateur and professional) who love playing their instrument, are not afraid to play loud, and have an interest in engaging with their community via music. Folks need to be willing to participate in three rehearsal prior to the performance at the Northern Spark Festival on June 4 at 9:05.  Participants will need to provide their own instruments, and percussionists are encouraged to bring two instruments from this list: marching snare drum, marching bass drum, glockenspiel, metal junk, and bells.

Time Commitment

two rehearsals with your section leader prior to the June 4 concert.

  • Friday, June 3. 6:00 – 8:00 pm //  rehearsal at the Stone Arch Bridge.
  • Saturday, June 4. 9:05- 9:20 pm // Walk-through at 7pm // Performance at the Stone Arch Bridge.

Section Leaders

We are looking for trumpet, trombone, and piccolo leaders who can organize and run two rehearsals with your section prior to June 3.  I’d like you to work on the piece but also general fundamentals and pedagogy.  Starting with a warm-up, playing some chorales, and finishing with the piece at hand.  We are able to have one leader for each section.  We are looking for candidates who have an interest in working with their community, pedagogy, new music, and a sense of humor.

Time Commitment

  • phone meeting with Chris Kallmyer (artist) and Northern Spark on May 20 to look over score and parts.
  • arrange two rehearsals with your section prior to the June 3.
  • Friday, June 3. 6:00 – 8:00 pm //  rehearsal at the Stone Arch Bridge.
  • Saturday, June 4. 8:55 – 9:15 pm // Call time at 6pm // Performance at the Stone Arch Bridge.

Chris is also the music curator for Machine Project, a LA based collective who will be in residence on the Walker Open Field this July.Check out video from their brief visit this winter, including Chris’s Tea Pot Igloo performances.