The projector was working, the crew was in place, and the sound system was ready to go. I stood by the stage, smiling (perhaps more than was cool), as I watched our five BANDED bands give it their all. It was a vibrant and eclectic night for music education at the Brighton Music Hall.
Our production team was there when each band’s new BANDED song was primordial sludge, before it had words… or horns… or a chorus. There is very little documentation of the musical creative process, and even less that explores the collaborative process of bands. PULSE was there with cameras as The MJEML grew a three-movement work from a drone of rhythmic humming, as Ghost Box Orchestra gathered around an image of a desert hitch-hiker, as Zili Misik drew from a rich palette of historical and cultural references, as Aloud put it all down in an afternoon, and as Tumbleweed Company navigated their spiral form. Beyond that, we filmed as Berklee faculty members Prince Charles Alexander, Marti Epstein, Linda Chase and Mark Simos showed up at rehearsal spaces across Boston to bring their unique perspectives to each band’s process; and we were there as tracks were laid down, making these songs the first original PULSE tunes. We had finally made it to the concert, a culminating event to showcase the results of this process. Before each band’s set, we shared short reels of footage with the audience. The video played, the screen moved to reveal the artists, and then there each song was, up on stage, being performed with all of the energy and passion that we saw it composed with.
An exceptional amount of dedication and creativity from everyone involved—bands, faculty, engineers, and the PULSE team—made this project come to life. The concert ran without a hitch, from our opening City Music All-Star act, to the perfectly-timed panel discussion, to Tumbleweed Company closing out the night. I want to extend a huge thanks to Sharon Lynch as floor director for the evening, Nazli Green as concert producer, Erin Genett for her beautiful poster design, Mary Boland who organized and produced video coverage of the event, and our camera and sound crew of Bryna Gootkind, Amy Schrob, James Staub, Zack Zukowski, and Elizabeth Acle. Additionally, I would like to give a shout-out to my fellow BANDED producers, Jeannie Greeley and Nicole Bedard for their spectacular work, as well as PULSE Director Dan Newsom for his support of this project.
Musicians are generally very giving people. If your goal is to move an audience, you can’t hold anything back. These bands were willing to put their process under our lens, trusting that, in the end, it would all help young musicians across the country bridge the gap between theory and creativity. I am excited to make that happen with my team, and hope to foster many more opportunities for the music community to engage with Berklee, PULSE, and the new landscape of music education. –Audrey Harrer, director of BANDED and PULSE creative manager of multimedia.