Sonic Playground Behind the Scenes: Spoken Word & Music and Integrating Media & Music

Sonic Playground in partnership with BC Youth Week celebrated works created by youth in collaboration with Vancouver’s most interesting musicians and sound artists at the Roundhouse Community Center May 2-13, 2016. As a part of Western Front New Music’s ongoing youth initiative, Sonic Playground programs introduce and mentor youth through creating their own compositions using traditional/multi-media approaches and electronics. The entire week featured an exhibition of sound installations, workshops, open rehearsals, and performances that were free and open to the public.

From January to May of 2016, students from Kitsilano and Fleetwood Park Secondary schools got together with mentoring artists Elisa Thorn and Adam Gough to create original pieces of spoken word and music for a live performance setting. In an exploration of the intimate interaction between spoken word and music, the students completed various exercises in weekly mentored sessions. These exercises were designed to unleash the students’ creativity in new and exciting ways, removing any inhibitions about creation and providing the students with the tools to create truly exciting original work. The students from Fleetwood Park collaborated on a piece called “The Android ipocalypse”, a commentary on the abuse of technology in modern society, while Kitsilano Secondary students created a duo called Cheese Whizdom, featuring their work “Who”, a rumination on the courage that it takes to truly embrace one’s identity. A concert featuring performances of these original works was held on May 7 at 12:30pm at Creekside Community Centre.

In the beginning of 2016, the students from Burnaby North Secondary’s Music and Technology Program began developing projects combining video and audio for a live performance setting. The students worked under the guidance of Vancouver-based media artists Josh Hite and Bracken Hanuse Corlett in the making of original video content to accompany music of their own creation. Film students from the same school helped some of the music students in the creation of their video works in a collaborative effort, while other students decided to work in both mediums for their video-audio compositions. Some of the final works were performed at Vancouver Art Gallery Family FUSE 2016 in March, and another concert of these works were presented at the Western Front on May 3rd as part of BC Youth Week.

May, 2016


Videography by Ekaterina Usmanova and Video Editing by Lief Hall


Western Front New Music gratefully acknowledges the support of Canada Council for the Arts, British Columbia Arts Council, Canadian Heritage, British Columbia Gaming, City of Vancouver, SOCAN Foundation, Telus Community Grants, Burnaby School District, Electronic Arts Outreach, Simply Computing, and the Roundhouse Community Centre.