The Music Collective’s performance included creative music videos as well as live music – The Sagamore
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 Music Collective musicians’ ability to continue adapting to the Zoom era, as they were able to perform a mix of live and pre-recorded songs, all of which showed their incredible talent in a group setting.
The Music Collective is an audition-only group that features a selection of extremely talented musicians. The ensemble 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 real-world familiarity, as it featured a few live, socially distanced performances. The concert was split between three live performances and four pre-recorded videos which featured songs like “Birdland”, “Just The Two of Us”, and an original piece by Snyder titled “This Car Drives Me Up the Wall”.
A fun pun came with the performance of “Just The Two of Us” by Grover Washington Jr. It was impressive how the ensemble was able to base their performance on the lyrics “just the two of us”. During the first half of the song, flute and saxophone alternated in a unique play on the song’s title. As the piece progressed, the other musicians joined in, but this creative way of presenting the lyrics really amplified the experience for the audience.
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 beat of this song, coupled with excellent solos from the performers, and a catchy melody and bassline made it a joy to listen to. While it would have been wonderful to see it live, Snyder was able to make a great music video by having each musician film themselves playing their instrument in their own car, then editing the recordings to create a large grid. which gave the effect that everyone was playing. together in the same room.
After hearing that original song along with the other three pre-recorded performances, it was obvious how in sync the various instruments were. One of Zoom’s many challenges is sound delay, or audio misalignment when two people try to play music at the same time. This led to the ensemble pre-recording any music that would not be played on the day of the concert. The success of this method was really amazing because even if each musician recorded his parts individually, each audio file was perfectly synchronized.
Another problem with Zoom that was apparent during the concert was audio compression. At certain points during each performance, the audio cut out and cut out, making it hard to hear at times. While it’s not ideal, it’s one of those things that just gets out of hand, and the Music Collective was still able 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 overwhelming. Her soft playing helped connect her solo to the rest of the song, giving the musicians a sense of connection.
Virtual concerts are difficult 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 was all about: developing the skills to improvise. It was fun to listen to all of the talented high school musicians, and the inclusion of live band performances in addition to those pre-recorded and digitally compiled gave audiences hope for an imminent return to live musical concerts.