As part of an ongoing, donor-funded Stamps School initiative to bring artists and designers in to Detroit schools, Collin McRae (MFA ‘12), worked with 5th graders at Bennett Elementary School in Southwest Detroit on a project that bridges music and visual art.
Stemming from a love of Gustav Holst’s Planet Suites and the neurological concept of Synesthesia, the fifth-grade class explored the intuitive connections between what they hear and what they see in a series of workshops with McRae. The fifth graders drew intuitively on circular pieces of paper while listening to Holst’s compositions for Mars and Jupiter and then set out to create a musical composition for Earth, the only planet Holst did not compose a suite for.
Pulling from illustrations made by the children of concepts and objects related to our planet, McRae set up a system to extract musical information from their two dimensional work, transcribing the drawings into musical notation.
In a final performance, musicians from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, & Dance performed The Earth Suite in a concert at the Bennett Elementary School auditorium.