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Nick Tobier: A Band to Welcome Spring at Small Scale Solutions Conference

people dressed up in animal mascot costumes

On February 21, 2022, Stamps Professor Nick Tobier will present his project, A Band to Welcome Spring, at Small Scale Solutions: Re-Inventing the Live Event, an online conference organized by Bangor University, Wales (RSVP to attend).

A Band to Welcome Spring is inspired by municipal clocks and bell towers that for centuries have been civic recognitions of the shared keeping and passage of time. In this (now second) full pandemic year interest in and the need for social connection and celebration (while respecting physical distance ) feels especially acute.

On March 20th, 2021 at 5:08 pm a worldwide band of musicians welcomed the Vernal Equinox by playing their instruments outside wherever they were. Participants included a wedding band in India with a horse in their ensemble, a custom built island on Animal Crossing with animal musicians, a string quartet in NYC’s Central Park, a boogie-woogie pianist in a Michigan driveway, a turntablist in a South London park, and 30 more from Vancouver to Tokyo. Connecting with smaller prepared and coincidental audiences on site and with one another online towards a collective gathering, the first annual worldwide band to welcome spring.

As a child,Iwould go with my grandfather to the zoo in Central Park, where at noon, we, along with New Yorkers and visitors would wait for the mechanical bear to come out of its door and smack the bell atop the Delacorte Clock. For 3 minutes it seemed the city stood still as the bear twirled, a goat emerged, followed by a rabbit and a hippo, each with an instrument. Now we are on our screens, our time clocked in individual increments and attention to tasks with intervals of Animal Crossing.

Learn more about A Band to Welcome Spring, including info on how you can join the upcoming performance at 5:08 pm on March 20, 2022, below. a compilation of excerpts of the performance on Vimeo.

Edited by Maggie Roback (BFA 21), performers include Stamps Lecturer Adrian Deva, current student Bre Boersma, and MFA alums, Erin McKenna, Mary Wilette, Ben Winans, Allison Byrnes Rivett, and Forest Bright.) This project was supported by Artsengine/​FEAST and a Stamps Micro Grant.