Music in 24-Hours
Photo and video provided by Sidney O'Gorman
Starting the Fall term of 2020 was a strange feeling for students around the world, and teachers and students of every field were presented with their own unique frustrations in relation to the pandemic. As composers, we have been unable to have our works performed and unable to meet with performers to workshop our pieces. Fortunately, the University of Miami has been able to allow its students to attend school in-person while carefully monitoring student health with weekly COVID-19 testing. Still, those of us who chose to attend school on campus encountered obstacles and uncertainties: it seemed as if the workload had increased dramatically due to our need for mostly virtual communication and work, and without an end to the chaos in sight this only made things more stressful.

Both me and my roommate, Armando Torrealba, felt that what our school's composition students needed was a project where we could practice the craft that we love, free of stress and uncertainty. Reading through the Society of Composers, Inc. (SCI) website for inspiration, I came across an idea for a music concert of works written, rehearsed, and performed within a 24-hour period. As exciting an idea as it was, the challenge would be its actual execution in a world of social distancing and face-coverings, so we turned to our dean of music theory and composition, Dr. Charles Mason, for advice.
After some discussions with him, we decided that the best route to take would be a completely student run concert that would be recorded and uploaded to YouTube.
Each composer would be assigned three or four performers (at most), and every participant would be required to wear a face-covering for the entirety of the event. Between each recording session, we would need to go into the studio and sanitize every surface that someone had come into contact with and let the room air-out for a period of time before the next group.

The other challenge would be accessing the recording studios. While the Frost School's studios are free to use for its students, we are required to either be licensed or be accompanied by licensed engineers. Since neither me nor Armando were licensed, we had to find students that would be willing to help. Luckily, through some lengthy email conversations with faculty member Justin Chervony, we were able to connect with engineer Isaac Diskin. Much to our benefit and surprise, Isaac was not only available and certified for the time and work that we needed him for but he was also very excited.

Once all the reservations and plans were made, we were able to ask composers and performers to participate. Each composer and performer that was interested was asked to fill out a Google Form survey, telling us a little about themselves as well as any preferences for instrumentation or number of performers.
Unfortunately, due to the limited time available to us in the studio and the COVID-19 guidelines requiring time to air out the space, we were not able to accept every applicant for a composing position in the concert. However, we were very happy to have our eight participating composers including Brandon Myrvil, Olivia Keiffer, Noah Zaidspiner, Cameron Gwynn, Sydney Altbacker, Gregory Watson, as well as Armando and myself; and we were very pleased with our 25 participating performers!

On October 10, 2020 the day had finally come to begin composing. We had made sure to keep the instrumentation and names of performers secret from our composers – so as to prevent anyone from writing ahead of time – so we decided to hold a Zoom call with all performers and composers to make sure everyone was acquainted. We reminded everyone of the set timeline for the event as well as the guidelines they would need to follow.

We then allowed our composers to split into private break-out rooms with their performers to discuss what each piece should be like to avoid too much difficulty in the recording process the following day. Once everything had been discussed and everyone was acquainted, the composers were given around 12 hours to write their piece and submit it to their performers. Each composer would meet their performers at 10 am the next morning in pre-reserved practice rooms to rehearse and discuss their pieces.

Starting at noon and ending around 5 pm, each group was given around 30 minutes to record and then an additional 30 minutes until the next group's turn to air out the studio. I was there to make sure each camera was lined up appropriately for each recording and so each performer was placed appropriately in relation to both the cameras and the microphones. Armando spent the day making sure everyone had access to the practice rooms (being the one person who had access to all the rooms), and Isaac was of course working the microphones and helping to make sure each recording was to each composer's liking.
Following each recording session we received a lot of positive feedback from our participants relating to the concert. Soohyun Chae, a violinist for Armando's work Colada for 3, shared that "not only did I feel that my ensemble coordinated well, but the whole experience was logistically well thought-up and executed" and that "despite limitations from COVID, I felt that this experience remained stress-free." When I asked Armando about his time with his ensemble, he said "it was a lot of fun! I love the collaborative side of the composition process." It was nice to hear that everyone – even the people running around trying to run the event – were having a good time.

After weeks of post-recording video-editing, and audio/visual synchronization, Armando and I were finally able to post the video compilation of "Music in 24-Hours" on November 14, 2020. We were so thankful that everyone was so helpful in the process and that it was enjoyable for every participant. In a time as this, there is so much uncertainty and unpleasantness, but when a group of people are able to come together and create art from only their happiness and comradery, we are reminded that there is hope.

Special thanks to the people below, and we are looking forward to the next installment of "Music in 24-Hours" coming this spring!
Brandon Myrvil, Olivia Keiffer, Noah Zaidspiner, Cameron Gwynn, Sydney Altbacker, and Gregory Watson

Gabriel Perez (Soprano Saxophone), Benjamin Eisenberg (Tenor Saxophone), Joseph Balem (Bass/Mouth Harp/Mandolin), Dezmond Rogers (Bass/Banjo), Antek Olesik (Percussion), Eliana Leish (Trombone), Lauren Cable (Trombone), Viktor Sintchak (Percussion), Teri Rausenbach (Trumpet), Ethan Revere (Trumpet), Xinrae Cardozo (French Horn), Ian Wolffe (Trombone), Aden Brooks (Trombone), Ethan Olaguibel (Bass), Jonathan Ingram (Bass), Emily Finke (Soprano Voice), Mia Flora (Soprano Voice), Thomas Valenti (Tenor Voice), Alex Jashinski (Bass Clarinet), Jeffrey Doucette (Bassoon), Kyle Pearl (Cello), Soohyun Chae (Violinist), Karen Trujillo (Oboe), Nicolas Adler (Cello)

And of course Isaac Diskin, Justin Chervony, Dr. Charles Mason, and Armando Torrealba.
Sidney O'Gorman is an undergraduate composition student at the Frost School of Music and Composium Ambassador
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