River Crossing Soundscape Project: Diary


Diary of the process / FAQs / The sounds & music / Reviews

Jan 27, 2019

Just sat down for a preliminary listen to the mixed audio track from the performance. Our lovely soprano, Elyse Almquist, was ill on the performance days, but Mike Malone of Northern Digital Productions was able to overdub her voice into the mix after she had recovered, so it sounds like she was there!

Dec 11, 2018

The reviews are in! Just received a summary of audience responses collected by the City of Edmonton folks. Read some of them here.

Dec 1, 2018

Here are some rough video edits from the performances of the completed piece. There will be more to come once we have the audio recording edited and mixed, but this gives you a rough idea of how it all came together.

November 25, 2018

So we had an idea about using different voices for the Sunday school hymn/ latin chant section, and called some choir director colleagues to see if we could work with a couple of singers on short notice. It worked! We rehearsed today with a tenor and soprano, and it was exactly the sound we need to make that section work. A big thank you to John Wiebe, Edmonton Youth and Childrens’ Choir, Kim Denis, Samuel Esteban, and Gina, Cory, and Elyse Almquist.

November 17, 2018

Starting to put it all together – here is a sneak preview from our first full rehearsal, working on the transitions between traffic noise / flute / violin / drum / singing with the Mountain Soul Singers! Grateful for the opportunity to work with these guys. Everyone is so creative and flexible as we figure out how to make things work.

November 10, 2018

Storyboarding sections of the piece, now that we have the Indigenous and Métis resources. The Low Level Bridge section is proving to be very interesting, with spoken word, train and traffic sounds, powwow drumming and singing, baroque flute and violin on Scots and Métis tunes.

November 5, 2018

We meet with Daniel Gervais, and Thomas gets a quick Métis fiddle lesson.

November 4, 2018

We get together with the singers of Mountain Soul at the James Bull Community Hall in Ermineskin. Learned so much about the forms and traditions of dancing and drumming!

October 27, 2018

Some of the workshops got into a jazzy kind of groove, inspired by the sounds of bridge traffic.

October 5, 2018

Inspired by the direction taken by the first set of workshops, we are collecting sounds  of every possible way to cross the river. That means recording the sounds of traffic from every bridge.

September 27, 2018

The first set of workshops at the Ortona Armoury are finished. We had 8 people attend off and on for the three weekly sessions. After we demonstrated some pieces that we have already composed using our layering / sound collage technique, the participants considered their own background,  how they interact with the river valley, and how sound and music can inform how they approach these ideas. One participant realized that her personal  journey, from Montréal to Edmonton, paralleled the journey of the first Francophone people who came to the area with the fur trade. She brought us a traditional French lullaby that her mother used to sing. [link to our sound and music collection for this project]

September 12, 2018

We had an excellent workshop at the Ortona Armoury this evening.  We experimented with using jars of water, branches with leaves and bird whistles to create a river environment soundscape (hear the example video below):

September 5, 2018

Our project has generated some interest! Received a call from CBC radio asking us to come in for an interview about it:


August 13, 2018

We’ve been doing lots of thinking while running the Alberta Summer Suzuki Institute at U of A and taking a much needed short holiday afterwards. Now the ideas are taking shape. Storyboarding  the form of the piece on the wall with sticky notes and running ideas through the looper to get a sense of the layers.  Also took the instruments along for a second walk along the river bank, doing some playing in situ to hear how the sounds of the environment blend (or not) with the sounds of the instruments.

July 11, 2018

We got the grant! Our application for the Tracing Connections in River Crossing Arts & Heritage Grant was successful! Thanks to the Edmonton Heritage Council for creating this grant, and accepting performing arts proposals for public art projects. Now the work begins in earnest. The first step – a walk along the river, recording the sights and sounds along the riverbank.