MOUNT VERNON – “Wade: Music for River and People,” an interactive music installation, is coming to downtown Mount Vernon’s footbridge, located along South Main Street, from Aug. 2 to Sept. 8.
Sound artist and Mount Vernon native Aaron Hoke Doenges will be on hand Friday, Aug. 2, from 6:30-8 p.m. in the CA&C Depot, 501 South Main Street, for an artist’s reception. Refreshments will be available at this free event as well.
“Wade” is composed in real time by the flowing river and the movement of people on the bridge. Wade premiered in Nashville in April 2018 and received a "Best In Nashville" award from the Nashville Scene.
“It is an invitation for people to step into and create a musical experience with our natural surroundings,” said creator Doenges.
For the Mount Vernon installation, three rivers are used to create the music. The Kokosing River sings the soprano notes, the Walhonding River creates the mid line and the Muskingum River provides the bass.
Using these three rivers, the piece traces the flow of water from its start near Mount Vernon to its confluence with the mighty Ohio River near Marietta. Through the month of August, “Wade” will rise and fall along with the rivers that feed the Ohio Valley.
Real-time data about the Kokosing, the Walhonding, and the Muskingum Rivers' depth and flow is pulled from the United States Geological Survey website and is transformed into changing pitches and dynamics of the piece. As the rivers' depths rise and fall, the notes also rise and fall. As the rivers flow faster or slower, the volume of the piece grows louder or softer.
At the same time, new musical elements are added and existing ones are modulated as people move over the bridge, throughout the installation space. Motion sensors pick up your movement and use it to change the notes of the piece. The more movement there is, the more dramatic the change.
The audience is immersed in, and changes, the sonic flow of the rivers around them. People are encouraged to walk across the bridge and listen to and participate in this month-long music experience.
Doenges, originally from Mount Vernon, spent his childhood riding the Kokosing Gap Trail and catching crawfish in Delano Run. He graduated from Mount Vernon High School (1998) and Mount Vernon Nazarene University (2003) before moving to Nashville to study music composition at Belmont University (2009). Today, he is a sound artist and composer living in Nashville, Tenn.
This project is supported by the Foundation Park Conservancy. For more information or to listen to samples of Doenges music, visit www.aaronhokedoenges.com, and follow him on Facebook or Instagram.