A Modern take on the Flash Mob

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According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a flash mob is, “a group of people summoned (as by e-mail or text message) to a designated location at a specified time to perform an indicated ac

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a flash mob is, “a group of people summoned (as by e-mail or text message) to a designated location at a specified time to perform an indicated action before dispersing.” Two performance-based artist have shaken up the definition of a flash mob.

 

The Bear Creek High School Marching Band performs at over one hundred venues each school year. Yet, one performance tops them all. The Marching Band performs at stadiums, festivals, and of course, on the football field. But on Saturday, October 29, Bear Creek took on a much larger stage: a square mile of downtown Denver.

 

That's right-the Bear Creek High School Marching Band spread ninety performers across forty-eight square blocks, all while performing Twisted Sister's 1984 hit, “We're Not Gonna Take It”.

 

The unique performance, called Playing Apart, was thought up by performance-based artists Jon Rubin and Lee Walton. Mimicking the experience of city life, band members intersected randomly in an unpredictable mash-up of instruments and sounds. But why the Bear Creek Marching Band?

 

"[We chose] the Bear Creek Band because . . . We wanted a band that was experimental and open-minded," says Rubin during an interview with Colorado Public Radio," . . . We wanted people with the right spirit. "

 

Five minutes before four-o’clock, when the performance is due to start, all is silent. I can see a flutist on the next corner, and a trumpeter on the one after that. Then the music starts, sounding lonely, although you could still hear the melody.

 

Very few people people other than the members of the band knew what was going on. During the performance, bystanders watched on in amazement and confusion, some asking what was going on, or saying, "Are you with the band?" One even commented, "I keep rushing out and thinking 'Something magical's happening!'"

 

Apparently the Playing Apart idea has a basis in Sociology, Psychology, and Business: "It's kind of the way Humankind communicates . . . they hear pieces and parts of things, they never really hear the whole thing at once."

 

Grant Ochoa, a saxophonist, commented, " It was exciting and also a little strange, walking around with nobody else around." Since all of the members of the band were playing at their own speed, it wouldn’t always match up timing-wise; "When I met with people I tried to go to where they were in the song."

 

Playing Apart and flash mobs are, perhaps, distant cousins. Although they both start with little pieces of music, Playing Apart stays that way to the end; there is no 'Final Hurrah' where everyone comes together to a center point.

 

Keep your eyes and ears open: you never know what you might find!

 

Note: Here is the URL for a video version of the performance put together by the Videographers of MCA Denver: http://www.playing-apart.com/#Saturday

 

Enjoy!