St. Paul-based artist Ryan Evans is in Fergus Falls for three weeks as a part of the Springboard for the Arts Hinge Arts residency. On Saturday, Nov. 9 and 16 he’ll be hosting “moment music” participatory music sessions, open to the community, at the Springboard downtown Fergus Falls offices. The music made during these sessions will help inform the piece that he eventually makes at the end of the residency. The Nov. 9 session is for high school students and the Nov. 16 session is for adults; they both start at 1 p.m. and go until 3 p.m.
Evans grew up in Owatonna and attended St. Olaf College in Northfield where he studied theater and anthropology. Recently, he spent 12 months in London for a master’s program in anthropology with Goldsmiths, University of London. While there, he built on two of his musical specialties. The first is participatory music through working with a disability arts ensemble and an arts-based social program for older adults with dementia. Evans says of his experience working with these groups, “They were very formative for me in terms of my practice these days, just making sure everything that I do is at least striving to be as accessible as possible.” His second musical interest is soundscapes, which he worked on during a trip to Wales where he made recordings (of a train, travelers walking, Welsh singing and more) which he then mixed into experimental ambient music.
During his residency, Evans hopes to explore combining these two interests. “This residency is really helping me figure out how to combine these two things, I haven’t quite done that before,” he says, and his moment music sessions are a way to begin. “Moment music is completely determined by who shows up to the session,” explains Evans’ flyer promoting the event. “Please come and offer your musical tastes and talents, regardless of whether you call yourself a musician.”
Evans has also been spending some time at the Otter Tail County Historical Society, gathering information about the Kirkbride building and listening to cassettes. He hopes to combine some of the melodies and rhythm that emerge from the participatory music sessions with sounds from these cassettes, as well as field recordings, to create a sound art piece that explores the connections between Fergus Falls and the Kirkbride building.
During his meet and greet at Springboard for the Arts on Nov. 5, Evans hosted an impromptu participatory music session that involved a variety of instruments and objects (boomwhackers, rubber balls, caixixi, Nigerian Uyot seed rattle and steel tongue drum). With different activities using the syllables of participants’ names, different melodies and rhythms emerged naturally.
The next Hinge Arts resident artist, Falcon Gott, will arrive in Fergus Falls later this month with a community meet and greet on Nov. 26 at 5 p.m. Gott is a filmmaker looking to transition from documentary-style short films to narrative film. The meet and greet is free and open to the public, and while guests are welcome to bring a dish, side or dessert, it’s not required.