New Brunswick

Sculpture Songs combines music with well-known pieces of Fredericton public art

A new project is pairing public art in Fredericton with music from local high school students.

Compositions written by students from two high schools

A sign with a QR code is paired with the Thomas Temple Fountain located beside the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. (Gary Moore/CBC)

A new project is pairing public art in Fredericton with music from local high school students.

Sculpture Songs pairs compositions by students with 19 sculptures throughout the city.

When art lovers approach a statue they will see a sign with a QR code. When they photograph the code they are linked to a song on Bandcamp, an online music service. The song is written specifically with the sculpture in mind.

Christina Thomson, an outreach co-ordinator with the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, said the project was created out of a desire to continue the gallery's school programs during COVID-19 restrictions.

"Thinking of the challenges that teachers and students have faced this year … not being able to play their instruments, not being able to perform," said Thomson.

Art lovers can scan a QR code at sculptures in Fredericton to hear a song inspired by the art. (Gary Moore/CBC)

"I'd reached out to [the teachers] and agreed a project like this would be perfect for what's going on right now."

Thomson hopes the project will prompt people to pay more attention to the artwork placed throughout Fredericton that may get overlooked.

"In Fredericton, we pass these sculptures all the time and maybe don't really look at them as much. They're kind of in the background of our lives," said Thomson.

Thomson said COVID restrictions impacted how the students worked on their compositions.

Not only were the students often out of the classroom, but a lot of woodwind and brass instruments were not allowed to be played over fears of spreading the virus.

This meant samples and computer programs were used to construct the pieces.

Still, Thomson could see the pride the students had in their work.

"I could see how excited they were and they were so articulate about their creative process and were really thrilled that people in Fredericton were going to get to hear their composition," said Thomson.

City Hall Fountain & Freddy Forever

The city's deputy CAO said there is a growing need for a community inclusion program manager. (Gary Moore/CBC)

Lucas Weeks, a Leo Hayes High School student, based his composition Freddy Forever on the cherub sculpture on top of the fountain in front of city hall.

Weeks said he had to navigate some tricky waters when writing the composition.

The sculpture is one of Fredericton's best known and has stood in front of city hall for over 125 years.

It also evokes religious imagery because of the cherub on top, but also has a playful attitude. Some Fredericton residents refer to the cherub as "Freddy The Nude Dude."

"I think I did well with the more religious [aspect] and the well-knownness of it. Getting to be playful was kind of hard to do."

Rhodo & Winter Retreats

Composer Gavin Woodward standing next to James Boyd’s “Rhodo." (Beaverbrook Art Gallery)

Gavin Woodward, also a Leo Hayes student, based his composition Winter Retreats on James Boyd's "Rhodo," which stands in the Fredericton Botanical Garden.

"Rhodo" is a minimalist representation of the bud of a rhododendron.

Woodward chose a minimalist sculpture as inspiration because of his interest in minimalist music.

"Rather than showing a fully bloomed rhododendron it's showing the bud of it in the process. Just showing that cycle of growth and the process of growth really spoke to me."

Where The Rubber Meets The Road & Where Do We Go From Here

Gerald Beaulieu’s “Where The Rubber Meets The Road.” (Gary Moore/CBC)

Emma He, from Fredericton High, based her composition Where Do We Go From Here on Gerald Beaulieu's "Where The Rubber Meets The Road."

Beaulieu's sculpture is of a roadkill crow made entirely out of rubber tires and is located beside the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.

He said she chose the sculpture because of the message Beaulieu had about environmentalism in the sculpture.

Her piece is the only one in the project that includes lyrics, which He sings.

She said she thought the piece needed more than just instrumental music to express it's environmental message.

"We tend to focus on making new things and keep growing … but we forget the animals and what was already here. We don't really appreciate."

Thomas Temple Fountain & Lion's Roar

The lion that sits atop the Thomas Temple Fountain. (Gary Moore/CBC)

Fredericton High School student Brooke Grothe based her composition Lion's Roar on the Thomas Temple Fountain.

The fountain includes a large casting of a lion at rest.

Grothe said she chose the fountain because she believed she could tell a story about the lion.

The song is structured to take the listener through a day in a lion's life.

"It starts off with the lion kind of walking about and it follows the journey of him to the watering hole and him trying to feed," said Grothe.

"It has a climax where he's attacking his prey and it has him resting for the night."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jordan Gill

Reporter

Jordan Gill is a CBC reporter based out of Fredericton. He can be reached at jordan.gill@cbc.ca.

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