Spoonbeams: A Student Experimentation

By Victoria Remley

A recital for the Spoonbeams focused on unconventional music and getting the audience to really think about what they were hearing on Nov. 29 at 7:30 p.m. at the McDonough Museum of Art.

Andrew Morro, the creator of Spoonbeams and a junior music recording major from Youngstown State University, wanted to make an ensemble where he could create his own music.

“I wanted to bring this high level of art form of modern art and super math music into a view where the average person can listen to it or be a part of it somehow rather than ‘what’s going on there,’” he said. “So, it’s to bring the high art to the people.”

During the performance, Morro, Dominic Gentile, a junior trombone performance major, and Ian Kinnaman, a junior music education major, used synthesizers and other technology.

“We’re not asking you to agree with what we’re saying,” Morro said. “We’re going to put our ideas forward … We just wanted to share our opinions.”

Photos by Tyler Rothbauer/The Jambar

Morro started the project eight months ago by messing around with music in his college dorm room. He eventually made an algorithm called Synoptic, which turns pictures into music. He also thought about the theories and philosophies behind the music he created.

“It’s not music that you would go and be like ‘Oh yeah, Bach man, yeah. Dude, I love me some Bach, some Hinder Myth,’ yeah, no. It’s more just like if you want to think and if you’re open to new thoughts and ideas,” Morro said.

Caroline Oltmanns, head of piano studies at the Dana School of Music, said the Spoonbeams recital started in her Chamber Music class. The goal of the class was to develop a piece, but Morro, Gentile and Kinnaman wanted to create a show around their piece.

“The main gist of this whole show is, I think, interaction with the audience and the reaction of the audience, how much the audience is really part of the program and how much can we draw the audience in,” Oltmanns said.

Jamie Wilding, from Hudson, Ohio, thought the recital focused on free expression and improvisation.

“You heard this sort of free approach to music making. It expands the mind of both the performer and of the listener,” Wilding said.

Wilding came to the event because one of his pieces was performed in the show. He said they were looking for things to do that were weird and fun, so he gave them some weird and fun things with mutes.

David Morgan, professor of composition, improvisation and the bass, said the recital was fantastic in every way.

“To make it in the professional music world, musicians have to create their own opportunities, book the venue and get people to show up,” he said.

Morgan said there are great things outside the structure of what happens in their normal curriculum. He said when students actually reach that level, he feels like their work is done.

Makenzie Poe, a freshman music education major, said it took a while for her to understand the recital’s content.

“At first I was really confused and kind of not sure what was going on, but whenever they described everything I got a better understanding and I was able to kind of set my mind where they were thinking,” she said.