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Cutting-edge music at UMW

 The Electroacoustic Barn Dance features artists like UMW professor Johanna Beaver playing innovative music.
Matthew Wood
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Date published: 11/8/2012


Something like the Electroacoustic Barn Dance takes a lot of work to put on and run, and there's a lot of pressure to make sure it goes right. Many of the participants are at the top of their fields, not just in the electroacoustic genre, but in the classical and popular music scenes. There need to be enough cables, computers, speakers, seats, power outlets, screens, sound mixers, and myriad other technical details.

The management of all of this is typically left to an experienced professional, but Snyder likes to make this part of the learning experience, so he makes one of his students the technical director for his festival. This year that student is Becky Brown, a music and computer science major at UMW. Brown has collaborated with Snyder many times in the past, including with Nature Boy Explorer, and the two have developed a helpful rapport.

"We just really gelled together," Snyder said of his musical partnership with Brown, a harpist since age 8.

Brown is a mix of gratitude and understandable nerves as she prepares for the festival.

"Working with so much gear is its own thing. It's more pressure each time I run through it all," she said. "But it's an experience I would never get in a classroom."

She also has to become familiar with the nearly 70 performers and composers, likening it to a scene with Anne Hathaway in the movie "The Devil Wears Prada."

"I have to memorize all of these names, who they are and what they do," she said. "It's learning how to be professional with this many professors."

Snyder hopes working with these composers and performers, luminaries in the field, will benefit his students--Brown in particular--by opening doors.

"I don't think there's any other concert like this one," Brown said, trying to decide whether that made her more nervous or proud.

Ryan Brosmer loves barns and dancing, in that order.

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What: Electroacoustic Barn Dance Where: University of Mary Washington When: Thursday, Nov. 8, through Saturday, Nov. 10. Cost: Free Info: facebook.com/ElectroacousticBarnDance