Technology has often been used to improve the presentational aspect of live events, including music performances and sporting events. Performers and venues must continually come up with new ways to engage audiences to make events unforgettable, fun, and to make tours profitable by generating buzz. Let’s review the newest effective technologies with five of the top ideas:
1. Live streaming. High-definition streaming has picked up a lot. The combination of an attendee earning social capital for being at the show, and non-attendees’ fear of missing out (“FOMO”) is leading millions around the world to tune into a concert the same way they would watch a sporting event.
2. Light technologies. Light sticks, balls, and bracelets can make music events entertaining, and create a more immersive experience. For example, the company Xylobands, which offers a full RGB spectrum of colors, patterns and effects, flashing in time with the music and reflect the mood of the event. Everyone wearing a wristband becomes an essential part of the show. Xylobands has worked with such prominent bands like Coldplay, Jay Z, Elton John and many more.
3. Gaming. Audience movement tracking allows audience members to control an onscreen game without the use of physical props and play interactive games. For example, audience members can lean left or right in their chairs to steer a race car or to move a paddle in an on-screen video game. Some more scholarly articles (like this one) point to other examples that like beach ball shadow tracking and laser pointer paint programs.
4. Mobile app. Mobile apps are entering the space, and there are a small number of light show apps appearing, which create a fun atmosphere and a connection between the audience and the performer. Light shows apps include a spectrum of colors that will change on your phone screen during the live event. Our natural favorite is YourchestraApp.com
5. Sounds. Another idea is to create an “orchestra” effect using the audiences’ mobile phones. Apps like this allow you to play music live on your audience's mobile phones during live events. In fact, phones can play music, sounds, and more, creating an immersive “orchestra” effect that helps the audience connect to your event. It’s no surprise that our favorite is again Yourchestra. To learn more about check out YourchestraApp.com.
Summer is already here and that means more concerts here in Los Angeles. Let’s take a look at top choirs and events happening this season.
1. Angel City Chorale
Angel City Chorale is an independent and multi-cultural Los Angeles-based choir that is dedicated to “Building Community One Song at a Time." Recognized for its signature blend of musical styles and commitment to community, Angel City Chorale strives to give back to the Los Angeles community through the gift of song, donations and volunteerism. Offering a diverse selection of musical material including classical, jazz, folk, gospel, and rhythm and blues, ACC performs two concerts seasonally, spring and winter, to standing-room only crowds. In addition to its scheduled performances, ACC has performed at venues throughout Los Angeles, including the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the former Kodak Theatre, the Nokia Theatre at LA Live, Staples Center, and the Shrine Auditorium.
Upcoming events: June 3rd, and June 4th Interactive An Imaginative Multidimensional Event.
An engaging, one-of-a-kind event that rebels against the traditions of choral performance, Interactive will fuse choir and cyberspace to break down the barriers between performer and audience and honor the notion of connectivity in our modern world. Featuring a nontraditional mass with a diverse range of musical selections rooted in Jazz, South American cultures, Classical, Urban/R&B scenes, and more, ACC’s 160+ member choir and 22-piece orchestra will guide audiences on a participatory trip that honors the multifaceted idea of connection in our complex, modern world.
Interactive will also feature “A Vibration” an original, never-before-performed composition by Los Angeles-based composer and ACC singer Andrew Cheeseman. This world premiere, which incorporates actual gravity waves and other astrophysics data converted into sound, will reimagine the power of choral performance as a vehicle for technological exploration and universal connection.
“A Vibration” and a few other selections from Interactive will test drive the mobile app called YourchestraApp. The app allows phones to be played live from the stage. It will use the phone's speakers for sounds, and their screens for images.
The show will finish with a dazzling rendition of “All You Need Is Love,” which melds past and present in an obvious way but also as a beautiful ode to the 50th anniversary of The Beatles performing their song for the World’s FIRST simulcast, heard and seen around the world from Abbey Road. ACC will come full circle with this stunning finale, as the choir’s recording of award-winning composer Christopher Tin’s “Sogno Di Volare” (a Leonardo Da Vinci-inspired piece capturing “the essence of flight”) was made at Abbey Road a year ago in July 2016.
2. L.A. Children’s Chorus
Founded in 1986, the LACC has provided choral music training to more than 2,200 children and teenagers ages 6-18. The mission of the chorus is to work with adult chorales, orchestras and operas to teach vocal artistry to local youth. The Chorus performs frequently with leading music ensembles including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Calder Quartet, Pasadena Symphony, and MUSE/IQUE. LACC also assists LA Opera by training and providing children for its opera productions that require children’s chorus or child soloists.
Upcoming events: June 23rd, 2017 Chorus America Concert
July 8th LACC Presents: Escolania De Montserrat
3. Los Angeles Master Chorale
LAMC Is an independent vocal ensemble that shares the traditional and evolving spectrum of choral music with the widest possible audience.
Presenting its own concert series each season, the Master Chorale performs choral music from the earliest writings to contemporary compositions striking a balance between innovation and tradition. To date, the choir has commissioned 50 and premiered 99 new works, of which 69 were world premieres. It has been awarded three ASCAP/Chorus America Awards for Adventurous Programming as well as Chorus America’s prestigious Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence.
The Los Angeles Master Chorale has performed in more than 500 concerts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at both Disney Hall and the Hollywood Bowl, and has toured with the orchestra to Europe and New York City. Performances in the orchestra’s 2016/17 season include John Adams’ El Niño, conducted by Gershon in December and JanáÄek's Glagolitic Mass with Gustavo Dudamel in May. The Master Chorale has also appeared at the Ojai Music Festival, the Great Performers series at Lincoln Center, the Ravinia Festival, and the Overture Center in Madison, Wisconsin.
Committed to community engagement and fostering music education in schools, the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s education programs include Voices Within that encourages young people to write and perform their own songs, an oratorio project for high school students, and the annual High School Choir Festival, which brings teenagers from around the Southland to perform in Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Upcoming events: June 17th LUX AETERNA
June 18th LUX AETERNA (GALA)
June 22nd LUX AETERNA (CHOIR NIGHT)
4. The Concert Singers
The Concert Singers was established in 1948 as the Westchester Civic Chorus and is the oldest independent choral group in Los Angeles. Based in the Westchester area, the group has performed at many venues throughout Southern California and has presented a wide variety of choral repertoire, including sacred and secular seasonal music, traditional choral masterworks, premieres of new works, madrigals, pops, Broadway, and vocal jazz. They typically perform three concerts a year, plus occasional performances for local civic groups and corporations. The Concert Singers is currently under the musical direction of Colleen Cronin and is assisted by accompanist, Dr. Stephanie Hutchinson.
The Concert Singers' mission is to preserve and promote the awareness and appreciation of choral music as an art form that transcends cultural, generational and ethnic barriers.
Upcoming events: June 25th Big Band Jazz and Razzmatazz
5. Angeles Chorale
The Angeles Chorale, which was founded in 1975 is a 100-voice, auditioned, professional-level, volunteer choir.
Recent Angeles Chorale performance highlights include appearances with Barbra Streisand in her Back to Brooklyn concert at the Hollywood Bowl and with Drew Carey and Julie Andrews in Holiday Sing-Along concerts at Disney Concert Hall. The chorale was honored to join the festival chorus with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Mahler’s 8th Symphony (the Symphony of a Thousand) at the Shrine Auditorium in 2012. Most recently, the chorale appeared with the LA Phil at the Hollywood Bowl in a 2014 special performance of An Evening of Chinese Splendor.
Upcoming events: June 10th A MUSICAL BITE OF THE BIG APPLE FROM BROADWAY TO BERNSTEIN
New York, New York here we come! In our final concert of the season we take on the city that never sleeps. This program explores the great musical traditions of the Big Apple: its deep-seated classical music roots and show tunes from Broadway. We’ll perform notable pieces by Leonard Bernstein, including his cherished Chichester Psalms and selections from West Side Story, as well as crowd-pleasing works by Stephen Sondheim and other beloved Broadway composers.
6. Gay Men’s Chorus Of Los Angeles (GMC LA)
The GMC LA is a chorus with a 34 years history that has a mission to create musical experiences that strengthen our role as a leader among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and performing arts organizations, enrich our member-artists, support LGBT youth, challenge homophobia, and expose new communities to our message of equality. Their vision is a world without discrimination of any form by using its vocal performances to integrate within the wider community.
Upcoming events: July 8th GMCLA returns to Walt Disney Hall
Modern concert light shows started with laser art in the far-out 1960s. Since then, technology has progressed and now frequently uses much more sophisticated tech like bulky argon and krypton ion lasers, along with moving lights, tungsten lighting, discharge lighting, LED lighting, strobe lighting, and followspots. These lighting choices do create an entertaining experience during most shows. But do they improve the audience-performer connection through the use of light?
Last year I went to Coldplay concert here in LA. I love this band, not only because of their amazing songs, but their brilliant performances. As part of their show, the audience was given LED wristbands which automatically changed colors during the performance. Imagine nearly 60 thousand people waving these wristbands!? It did create a massive unity experience during the concert, but it was probably expensive, complicated logistically, and wasteful, since ultimately all of those wristbands ended up in landfills.
The idea of concerts and live events is to engage audience to the performance and entertain not only with the music or sport event, but add something else, some flavor.
Remember the days when everybody was holding cigarette lighters during a melodic song at a concert? Now we sometimes see bands and show producers trying all kinds of additional LED glow supplies. Most popular are wristbands, LED balls, lanyards and much more. Now as smart phones are taken over we finally see the appearance of light show apps. Such apps include effects of strobe lighting, candle or rave flashing lights. What’s great about it is you don’t need to think about shipping and distributing a product -- the audience already has everything they need with their phone. All you need as a performer is to purchase the app.
Today’s concert lighting is often focused on merging experience with the audience, creating this atmosphere of unity, interaction and fun. That’s why YourchestraApp exists to sync your audience’s smartphones, and to create a light show at live events, thus creating massive merging experience with your audience and fans throughout the concert. Have questions? Click here.
Live music and theater is awesome - so awesome that humans have been seeking it out throughout recorded history. We've gone to the village center, town square, grassy knoll, or friend's house to share our artistic gifts and appreciation with one another. Today, storytellers tell their stories, singers sing their songs, actors act, and other musicians play their instruments.
But something has happened.
Sometimes, as the venues get larger and our communities become larger and more anonymous, our experience can be less satisfying. If you've ever participated in an intimate house concert, you know what I mean — The magic that the artist creates is even more magical when everyone in the room can interact and feel one another's reactions.
As humans, we seek out reasons to interact. Today, we gather together to sing happy birthday to friends, to dance, and kids play games with songs at their core (Ring Around the Rosie). I know what some of you are thinking: "But I'm an introvert and shy, and I really don't seek this out." OK then, so it's not everyone who seeks out interaction, although I bet you've sung your share of Happy Birthdays and have seen your share of performers. Some of your most important life events and favorite life moments might even have involved a performance.
We at Yourchestra App continue to look for new ways to help performers (and producers) to make their shows more interactive with our mobile live show app. Do you have a suggestion about how else we could do that? Post it in the comments!
The Interactive Story of YourchestraApp
Last year, when I was writing lyrics for a piece for a chorus to consider performing, I decided to make it notably different from anything I'd seen before. I started looking for opportunities to innovate with the lyrics and music of piece itself.
I'd read about a big survey that showed that audiences for live choral music want one thing more than anything else: interaction. In a live music setting, this might mean singing along, dancing, or perhaps bringing up audience members to the stage. When the choral group set the theme of the upcoming live show to be "Interactive" I started brainstorming even more.
With my business partner, who has an amazing software development team, we decided to build a live concert mobile app that would go with this piece, but that could then be used for other live shows of choral music, orchestral music, pop and alternative music, theater, and for things we haven't yet dreamed up.
And that's how Yourchestra App was born. It was inspired by a composition, human needs, a show concept and research. And now it's available for any performer to enhance their connection to the live audience.