“Surroundings: A Catalog of Aspects for Digital Choir,” an outdoor sound installation created by Chance Morris ’24 (Bachelor of Music in Composition), opened on Friday, April 22, at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley (MSV). The project exists at the intersection between the natural world and the spoken word, and includes voice recordings from conservatory and community volunteers captured earlier this semester from recording sessions held at the museum and on campus.
These recordings list aspects and qualities of the Shenandoah Valley, including words like “dogwood” and “pileated woodpecker,” and are harmonized into a choral-like composition. Depending on where an individual stands, the sound changes and a new “song” emerges. Participants will hear variations and modulations as they move around the space
Morris’s work was selected from among seven projects proposed by students in a sound art class. Morris’s concept was to “bring the background into the foreground” by “creating an absolute reminder of our surroundings.”
This project was developed in collaboration between Shenandoah Conservatory, Shenandoah University and the MSV with support from an anonymous donor, given to honor the memory of Shirley H. Gaunt for her love of art, nature and life.
The MSV would like to thank Shenandoah Conservatory Director of Composition, Coordinator of New Music and Associate Professor of Composition Jonathan Newman, M.M.; Director and Associate Professor of Music Production & Recording Technology Golder O’Neill ’92, M.M.E.; and Executive Director of Performances & Engagement, Artistic Director of Performing Arts Live and Adjunct Associate Professor of Conservatory Academics Courtney Reilly ’18, M.S.