New Orleans Airlift just completed a month long residency in Shreveport, LA working on a new outpost for Dithyrambalina awith the Shreveport Regional Arts Council’s UNSCENE! program. We had the most inspiring and amazing time because of all the incredible people we met and worked with. We had no idea that by week one we would have nearly a 30 person strong team of collaborators whose raw enthusiasm and varied talents just blew us away. We are so excited to see what our collaborators will do with this experiment as they program it themselves over the next 6 months!
The Airlift team was led by artistic director Delaney Martin who collaborated with fellow project founder Taylor Shepherd on one of our newly transportable musical houses. Music Box New Orleans veterans Ross Harmon (New Orleans) and Frank Pahl (Detroit) also joined the team creating their outstanding chime-based house “The Bower’s Nest”. Frank would also be our amazing conductor, selecting local musicians and composing original songs from each innovative instrument.
We were also honored to work with a member of The Residents, a cult band whose members have stayed largely anonymous, some of whom happen to be from Shreveport. Rather than join us, we were haunted by a Resident via a video piece and vocals created especially for our project that were incorporated into a custom log cabin of the artist’s design created in collaboration with locals Nate Treme and Josh Porter. Frank Pahl, our conductor, brilliantly harnessed these elements in his orchestration of our opening performance. STAY TUNED for video and sound recordings that we will be posting soon!
Our local team of artists were led by Peter Fetterman who galvanized the most awesome community of artists and musicians ahead of our arrival. Folks like Jon Mackey, whose musical green house sat perched 20 ft up in the air on a catwalk built in just three weeks by Jimmy Cousins along with a spiral staircase and a Thermin whose antenna was a geodesic dome. Josh October got an amazing sound out a barrel-based instrument he had been dreaming about making for years while Brett Roberts‘ House of God harnassed the power of PVC pipes. Christian Maes made a bottle carillon that was so elegant and we even had a Windmill created by John Martin in collaboration with Laura Thompson.
It was awesome to see wire artist James Marks engage in a collaboration with Music Box New Orleans veteran Lindsey Karty. We couldn’t bring Lindsey but we brought the brains of her instrument, The Electric Curtain, and James gave it a form of his own. A similar exchange happened between the local Omen Art collective who built an installation of off Angeliska Polacheck‘s pre-existing Tintinabulation Station, another piece we brought with us. Omen’s installation was amazing an paid tribute to The Calantehan Temple, a building erected in 1923 by the Order of the Calanthe, an African-American womens society that also held famous concerts on its roof top bar during the hey day of Shreveport’s music scene in through the 40s.
We cannot thank the musicians and dancers who joined us for our opening performance enough. This incarnation of our Shantytown Orchestra featured: DeMarco Lewis, Theresa Andersson, Brittney Maddox, AJ Haynes, Adam Davis, Jon Mackey, John Martin, Pete Fetterman, Nate Treme, Jimmy Cousins with special guest dancers GHOST, QUINN and WOLF of the Slade Collective.
As usual, so much of the real magic of a musical village comes from the encounters of our audiences as they discover and interact with our inventions.
NEW ORLEANS AIRLIFT WOULD LIKE TO THANK ALL THE PEOPLE WHO MADE THIS OUTSTANDING PROJECT POSSIBLE: Jason Brown, Bill Daniels, Dave Nelson, Michael Futrel, Chris Brown, Matthew Lary, David Pinter, Cody Crain, Scott Crain, Jeremy Lafitte, Nathan Woods, Joey Barto, Mitch Landry, Josh Porter, Robert Trudeau, Christiana, Katie Livinston, Anaii Lopez, Rick Pierce Resources, Lydia and Josh, as well as all of our amazing volunteers. A very special thanks to the Shreverport Regional Arts Council for hosting us, in particular Director Pam Atchinsion and Unscene! Creative Director Brandon Oldenburg. And of course, many thanks to New Music USA for supporting this project!