GSO shines with Silver Light Festival

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Graphic by Om Patel and Anne Ribordy

Justine Liu and Molly Thissen

It’s 7:00 p.m. on a Wednesday evening when Orchestra Director Kristin Meyer asks senior Stephen Jang, Glenbrook Symphony Orchestra (GSO) co-president, to unmute his microphone on Zoom. With the sound of his oboe’s resonant tuning A, Meyer watches the rest of the orchestra tune on her screen, eager to work on GSO’s special project, the Silver Light Festival.

With the release of their first showing of the Silver Light Festival on Dec. 6, GSO’s hard work and excitement persist as they prepare for the remaining half of the studio-recording project.

To create the soundtrack for the year-long project, students recorded themselves through a digital audio workstation called Soundtrap, Meyer shared. Meyer and Aaron Kaplan, the assistant orchestra director, along with select students, then mixed the individual audios to create the sound of a balanced ensemble. Meyer also explained how the flexibility and convenience of the recording process helped combat unpredictable events, creating stability.

“The process needed to be kind of protected against the rollercoaster of things that could happen,” Meyer said. “No matter what the situation was, we wanted to make sure that everybody would be able to participate fully at their comfort level.”

Divided into two episodes, the project is set to put on a virtual show for their audience once every semester. Episode  one featured popular soundtrack music such as the main themes from Game of Thrones by Ramin Djawadi and Rudy by Jerry Goldsmith. Meyer described the project theme as a way of embracing the screen during these challenging times.

“[The Silver Light Festival is] illuminating artistic parts of our lives,” Meyer said. “It’s lifting us up and shedding light on really positive things. The Silver Light Festival is the silver screen and the light part is really important.”

Meyer and Kaplan also recruited a 20 member Cinematics Art Team (CAT) made up of GSO members, according to junior GSO co-president Kelly Kim. Kim explained that the CAT added creativity to the project by compiling videos that go along with the recorded soundtracks. They also created a red carpet event with fancy attire and interview questions for the first episode’s premiere, Kim added.

“We’ve done extra things for [prior] concerts, but this is the first time they’ve made it really go all out,” Kim said. “[The CAT made the show] super fancy and theatrical so it was similar to a red carpet event.”

Senior Michelle Gong, a CAT team member, stated one of the team’s many roles for the Silver Light Festival: taking the music from GSO and converting it into visual artwork.

“It’s been a very unique opportunity to think of visual concepts that can match  musical performance,” Gong said. “Music is very special and incites a feeling. It’s been cool to translate that feeling into art.”

Jang expressed his excitement to share GSO’s hard work with the audience. To him, having people listening and supporting the music makes all of the hard work worthwhile.

“We’re not looking to play the music for ourselves,” Jang said. “We’re not playing it so we can sound better, but we’re doing it for the sake of the audience.”

Additionally, Kaplan reflected on the benefits of remote learning for GSO.

“Because [everything is] virtual these days, it gives students a different opportunity than what we would be traditionally offering,” Kaplan said. “And [it gives] exposure to different ways of things especially because it’s comparable to how it’s done in the music business.”

Not only does the Silver Light Festival provide unique experiences for GSO, but the music and sharing of their work has also provided comfort and contentment in such chaotic times, Meyer expressed.

“I hope for the students, and I know for myself, having this anchor with this music, [has] really been a constant that has really helped in providing stability and a place to breathe,” Meyer said.