Visitors at the Georgia Aquarium can now enjoy original recordings by KSU’s Wind Symphony. The collaboration results from an initiative of the Georgia Aquarium to better engage audiences by way of visual and audio elements.
The ensemble was approached last spring by the aquarium’s manager of audiovisual, Christopher Anderson. He told KSU that this collaboration has “proved to be the perfect fit when both parties were looking for ways to remain creative and reach out to people.”
Associate Director of Bands Debra Traficante conducted the symphony throughout this process. The ensemble was first contacted by Anderson shortly after streaming a spring 2021 childrens’ concert, according to Traficante.
“I said, ‘Absolutely, this is exactly what we need during this time of COVID,’” Traficante said. “A project run by ourselves, where we can send files electronically and no one has to be near each other.”
Specifically, the ensemble recorded six pieces for the collaboration. Selections such as Ralph Vaugh Williams’ “Aquarium” were appropriately chosen to fit into the aquarium’s themes and aquatic atmosphere.
Traficante said that safety was a priority with the ensemble wearing masks when necessary and distancing their chairs. Nevertheless, the collaboration provided an opportunity vital to artistry.
“It just kind of renewed our sense of purpose,” Traficante said. “At a time where we were struggling to keep our spirits up about our art.”
When asked how ensemble members initially responded to the collaboration, Traficante gave an expression of pure shock. She said that this “lifeline back to music” thrilled and energized students.
Today, visitors to the Georgia Aquarium can hear all six pieces performed by KSU’s Wind Symphony throughout the facility. These recordings began playing in the lobby of the aquarium last summer and will continue to play for the foreseeable future.
Though her resume includes international work and with some of television’s most recognized live events, Traficante said that this opportunity was unique as it “could go on for years, where everyday people get to hear the symphony.”
The conductor hopes that the ensemble will soon be able to play the selections live at the aquarium. Until then, guests to the facility can continue hearing the Wind Symphony’s instrumentation in the atrium and along its many corridors.
KSU’s Wind Symphony is a mixed-major performing wind band. The ensemble performs twice a semester, and their next concert is on Wednesday, Feb. 23.
This collaboration comes amidst a larger initiative between KSU and the Georgia Aquarium. In increasing audience interaction and fostering marine research, the aquarium worked closely with KSU game development and biology students.