Behind the Scenes with Luna!

Today’s blog post was written by Anna Duncan, our programs director.  Anna & Carole worked hand in hand with Luna de Cuernos collaborator Sarah Becan to bring Luna to life, and in this post, Anna explains our process.  If you missed Luna de Cuernos last week, you still have one more chance to find out the fate of Dona Yuiza’s garden — join us at the Art Institute of Chicago for Luna presented in 2 parts on Saturday 6/7/14 at 11:30am & 1:00pm as part of AIC’s Bank of America Family  Festival!

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After Sunday’s wildly successful performance of Luna de Cuernos at Constellation, I had a number of friends/fans ask about our creation process. How did we go from Jenny’s insane clarinet solo to an insane but beautifully drawn goat? Here’s how:

1) 5HE scoured the Chicago area for artists whose work we love. Before long, we realized Sarah Becan‘s work from In Transit: #iwitness and her ability to work well with our crazy team/timelines etc. made her perfect for the spring collaboration!

2) Next, 5HE came up with a long list of pieces we’d love to program – all for the woodwind quintet. We sent Sarah 14 complete works for her to listen to for inspiration on storyline, characters, tone, setting, etc.

3) For this project, we also had a unique request for Sarah. Because of our recent work in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, we wanted to know how we could feature some of the culture, people, and ethos of the Humboldt Park area. So, we gave all of this to Sarah, and waited in anticipation, until….

4) Just as October began, Sarah sent us an INCREDIBLE story line – featuring a darker Taíno  Puerto Rican folk myth as well as the more lighthearted story set in Humboldt Park. We were seriously blown away!! What a perfect way to feature the playful instrumentation in a way that would bring out some of the darker and more thoughtful repertoire!

5) Along with this, Sarah sent some ideas about what pieces of music really inspired some of the shifts in mood and the characters, and that soon grew into our full program for the concert! We said “PERFECT”, and Sarah charged ahead with some character drawings! We also loved these, and Sarah got started with the rest.

6) With the general themes of community and helping neighbors close at hand, Carole and I went out to the Association House of Chicago to interview some of the students there. We learned a LOT about the state of community and Humboldt Park’s sources of inspiration from these young adults, and then sent the interviews to Sarah so that these could further inspire her storyline.

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7) Soon, Sarah was sending us LOADS and LOADS of artwork – beautifully drawn, carefully conceptualized to fit the music, and all telling the captivating “Luna” story. As it was completed, she also carefully laid out a spreadsheet with her timings – which let Carole know exactly what musical moment caused the slides to change.

8) 5HE rehearsed the show as it was coming close to completion, watching for any potential edits but mostly feeling PSYCHED for the performances.

9) Everyone finished up their preparations and practicing, and Luna finally premiered!

We had a lot of fun watching everything develop – and want thank Sarah Becan times A MILLION for all of her hard work with us this season. We seriously couldn’t have done it without you!

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