Young Audiences of NJ Café Concerto, a Dialogue Song...

Composed during  the Proffit Projects Café, held for the Executive Board and Trustees of Young Audiences of New Jersey, 2008. Music composed and performed by Eric Haltmeier. 

-The piece begins with ambient sounds of street noises, leading to the sounds typically found in a café (clinking glasses, cash registers, conversations). These sounds were chosen in order to provide a connection between sounds in the 'real world' and the sounds in the café. A layer of familiar sound in the background helped to provide comfort in an otherwise silent space prior to the start of the cafe process.

-The ambient sounds lead into a layer of music that evolves from a Peruvian percussion rhythm. The chords are a loose interpretation of those found in an Ani DiFranco song called "Little Plastic Castle". That song was in the forefront of my mind because of its opening line, "In a coffee shop, in a city, which is every coffee shop, in every city, on a day which is every day." To me, I felt this line as representative of the café process, bringing about a dialogue between everyday people, in any given place, on any ordinary day, to bring about change in themselves and in their organization.   A sample of the background music layer can be heard here:  Background Layer

-'Vision Statements' were collected from participants, and recorded as sound clips by Don Proffit, Eric Haltmeier, and Christine Stockton. When heard in the musical composition, these sound clips overlap each other, representing the array of ideas heard and overheard in conversation. These ideas, prior to further deliberation, may seem somewhat jumbled. Nonetheless, they live in us as important ideals.   A sample of those sound clips can be heard individually here: Don    Eric    Christine

-As the cafe process evolved, participants wrote important individual "notes" (or thoughts) on circular pieces of paper which were then placed on a wall mural, created by Visual Practitioner Christine Stockton, that looked like a musical staff. These 'notes' ended up forming three different 'melodies' that were to become the integral musical material of the Cafe Concerto. The three melodies, played on a sampled Hammond B3 organ, can be heard individually here:  Melody 1   Melody 2   Melody 3

-Each cafe participant held onto one of their written 'notes' and was then asked to read the note into a microphone. Every person attending the cafe recorded their own 'sound note'. These 'human notes' were incorporated in the Cafe Concerto in between each of the melodic phrases.  Samples of these 'human notes' can be heard here:  Notes

-As participants then split up into 'open space', I was able to spend some time alone with the above musical materials. From these materials, the Cafe Concerto was composed. Different sound clips were "triggered" via a MIDI keyboard. The Cafe Concerto was performed in real-time at the end of the cafe, using a combination of keyboard controllers, laptop software, and saxophone. The performance acted as a reflective summary of the entire cafe.

The final piece, bringing together all of the above elements, can be heard here:  Café Concerto 

...Page 1 of Dialogue Songs...