Yes, it’s true. This will be the best ever mixed music/visual arts competition ever, and it’s open to everyone, including you. This a little different, though. If you read our mission statement, you get an that we’re not just about great music, we’re about making friends, building community, making connections, inspiring kids of all ages to play music together. It’s about stretching your world and your mind, and if you join in the fiddle club, getting some performance experience in a non-stressful, just for fun way.
So this competition is a little different. Some background: The inspiration came from several sources. One was the old Rabbit Ears productions where actors like Danny Glover, Robin Williams or Meryl Streep would read stories like Bre’er Rabbit And The Tar Baby or Paul Bunyan, accompanied by musicians like Taj Mahal or Ry Cooder or leo Kottke. Another was a conversation with Mike Marshall, where we talked about how few places there are left in the world where music and friendship came together. There was a musician on a stage. And an audience. The audience might be paying attention, they might not. Everything was segmented, and mixing arts was almost nonexistent. Then there was a fundraiser for a property in town that had been donated to the local land trust. Great musicians were there. Great food. Great wildlife artists showing how they paint. Birders pointing out the eagle nest to the uninitiated.
Here’s the deal. I want it all. The finished product needs a great visual component, great music, and a story. It needs to involve at least 5 different people who come together to create the entry. Let’s break it down, piece by piece.
The Musical component team rules: At least a trio, to show you can work together. No maximum on how many musicians, though. Symphonies can be a part of the entry. To show musical diversity, the score must be sort-of original (arrangements of a public domain tune or two within the whole are acceptable) and contain at least one classical segment, of any period. It must also contain one section of at least one of the following; old-time, bluegrass, any version of new/alt acoustic (use Darol Anger, Brittany Haas, Joe K. Walsh, Punch Brothers, etc., as an example). And there must be one section containing at least one of the following: blues, rock, funk or hip-hop/rap. So that’s three distinct pieces forming a coherent whole.
The Story Component Team Guidelines: Spoken word, and must be an actual narrative, with a beginning, middle and end. It can be an old folk tale. It can be a made up folk tale. It can be a telling of actual events in your day, if you have an unusual life. It doesn’t need to be complicated. It can be funny, spooky, thoughtful, but not political or “socially responsible”. We’re looking for escapism, inspiration in a different world. The judges will get easily bored, so make it lively.
The Visual Component Team: Originally, this was conceived as a video contest. But that’s too limiting, and places too much weight on technical equipment. Those with less access to equipment, or the knowledge to use editing programs would be at a disadvantage. So yeah, it can be a video, but the judges might be more impressed with a series of really creative stills. Hand-painted or drawn? That would be stunning. Photographs? Absolutely cool. BUT… if it’s photographs, they must be taken by the visual arts member or team and must be all of the local where the story takes place. No vacation photos of when you were in New Zealand. No photos you’ve accumulated through the years. The photos must be taken specifically for this contest and story, and must be taken all within the same place.
The Categories: There’s a Pro category, for professional musicians and their friends. There’s an adult category. A college team category. And a Kid category. The kid category might get split up depending on entries, as in high/junior high school and middle school on down. There might be a special kid category of Kids With Too Much Parental Involvement. We’ll see about that.
The prizes. Fame, fortune, all that. Well, maybe. I mean, we’re not giving you any money. And the fame part, eh, who knows. But you will get a really cool trophy, just like those major awards on t.v.