By Samantha Fink and Amy Wells
Rubber Tree Quartet performs art with balloons
The College of Fine Arts' Aesthetic Technologies Lab is hosting an innovative group of musicians, the Rubber Tree Quartet, for a week of balloon twisting and musical fun.
The residency will present the talents of international artists Stan Wood, Fran Holland, Addi Somehk and Gabriel Rowland and showcase their creative way of bringing music to audiences. The group plays a wide-range of unique, self-made instruments created from latex balloons, such as a balloon bass, balloon drums and the vibraband.
"I think the real beauty of this ensemble is that their instruments were found in simple things, accessible to just about anyone here, and the lesson they share is how vision, commitment and practice can make a simple thing into something truly special," said Katherine Milton, director of the Aesthetic Technologies Lab.
The artists will spend the beginning of the week practicing for their main concert at 4 p.m. Friday at the Baker University Center Theatre Lounge on the second floor. The concert is free and open to the public.
While in Athens, the quartet will perform at Chauncey Elementary School on Thursday and present a workshop on creating balloon instruments from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday. The workshop is free and open to the public and will be held in the Aesthetic Technologies Lab on the second floor of Putnam Hall.
The core value of the Aesthetic Technologies Lab is to promote innovation and creativity in the arts and the Rubber Tree Quartet proves that technology is not always what people usually assume it to be.
"'Technology' doesn't necessarily need to be connected to an electrical outlet or a computer screen," Milton said.
Hallowpalooza brings eerie sounds to Halloween weekend
The School of Music's Hallowpalooza is a concert fit for ghouls, witches and zombies alike. The second annual Halloween-themed concert, which benefits student scholarships, will present a wide variety of the school's instrumental and vocal ensembles at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Templeton-Blackburn Memorial Auditorium.
"While much of Athens' Halloween revolves around the uptown scene, we hope to focus the attention on what Ohio University can offer, in an entertaining yet safe way," said Steven Huang, director of orchestras. "In selecting the repertoire, we welcome all audiences young and old to the performance. Many orchestras around the country perform Halloween concerts and we hope that ours, with our specific brand of Athens humor, will stand out."
Performances include the University Symphony Orchestra, Women's Chorale, percussion and tuba ensembles, Singing Men of Ohio and special guests the Rubber Tree Quartet.
In addition to the evening concert, the School of Music and Athens Community Music School are sponsoring a special morning performance for more than 1,200 area children from kindergarten through sixth grade by providing funding to cover bus expenses.
"Although the vast majority of School of Music concerts are free, many children don't get a chance to see them because of a variety of barriers such as issues with transportation or they come from single-parent households where the parent works in the evenings," said Elizabeth Braun, director of the Athens Community Music School. "I have no doubts that the children will recognize much of the music they hear at the concert and I hope that excites them and encourages them to imagine themselves on stage playing an instrument some day."
Hallowpalooza will last about an hour with fun, lighthearted music as well as spooky lighting and effects to go along with Athens' popular Halloween tradition. Costumes welcome.
Tickets are $7. Students with a valid university ID and children under 12 receive free admission.