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The innerworkings of PRISM

PRISM may be known as a yearly band concert, but some Cobbers may not know the planning put into it and the different aspects that make PRISM unique.

With PRISM coming up this weekend, Dr. Peter Haberman, associate professor of Music Education and conductor of The Concordia Band and Echo Band, discusses the inner workings of the concert.

EK: So, what is PRISM?

DR. HABERMAN: I’d describe PRISM as a continuous and varied musical experience. From the setup, to who performs, to what types of ensembles perform, it is quite different from a traditional concert. There are four separate stages that completely surround the audience, plus one small stage in the center, which is where we get the name “PRISM.” The music surrounds the audience, giving them the chance to enjoy the feeling of listening to music from within the performance space.

EK: Why have PRISM? What’s so cool about it?

DR. HABERMAN: What I like about PRISM is that, often times, an audience member may come to the show for one ensemble or one soloist, and then they’re introduced to a whole bunch of music that, maybe, they never would have listened to.

PRISM provides an outlet for showcasing Concordia’s many and varied wind and percussion ensembles.

EK: What’s new to PRISM this year?

DR. HABERMAN: This year, we’re trying to incorporate more video vignettes as part of the audience’s experience. In the past, we’ve displayed video close-up shots of the performers as they play, but this year we’re also going to be displaying slideshows of pictures that sort of represent the feelings that each piece is trying to convey. I figured as long as there’s this other, beautiful medium of art available to us, let’s utilize it. Next year, I’d like to include Concordia students’ artwork in the slideshow to make the whole show more student-based.

EK: Tell me your favorite PRISM story from years gone by.

DR. HABERMAN: That moment. [He points to a photograph thumb-tacked to the Band Bulletin Board, which is of his own face against a transparent backdrop of the American flag.] A couple years ago, the Concordia Band was performing a beautiful, memorized rendition of The Star Spangled Banner. I was illuminated by a spotlight, but the entire band was playing in the dark. The effects guy, Mike, didn’t even tell me he was going to do this, but during the dress rehearsal he noticed that there weren’t going to be a lot of shots of the band in the video slideshow, since they were playing in the dark. So he pulls this GIF off the internet of an American flag waving in the breeze, and during the live performance, while the camera is on me, slowly superimposes it over my face. As soon as I saw it on the screen I so desperately wanted to laugh, but I couldn’t, I had to stay serious, so I was just thinking, “Dead grandma, dead grandma, dead grandma…” to keep from cracking a smile. Everyone who was watching was taking pictures of it, it was so funny. That’s why it’s on the bulletin board.

The band program invites students to catch PRISM on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 4:00 p.m.

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