Timpview senior Eleanor Smith loves playing classical music. She and her friends, Thunderbird seniors Meimi Teeples and Yeijin Bann, have developed their talents not just in school concerts but also playing for local assisted-living facilities.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, however, live concerts have had to be put on hold.
But Smith, Teeples and Bann decided they were going to find another way to share the music they love.
They decided to call their work “The Vivace Project” because it is an effort to use music to uplift everyone, particularly those who have been isolated due to the pandemic.
“We’d like to reach a lot of people who might be kind of down, people who might not be having the best time because they are alone and can’t go to concerts or visit family or anything,” Smith said in an interview earlier this week. “I would like to be able to make their day a little bit better. We decided to call it the ‘Vivace Project’ because vivace means lively. We wanted our concert to be lively and uplifting.”
Smith said that she has played with Teeples and Bann since they were in sixth grade, and the group has always enjoyed sharing their talents.
“We used to do our own concerts just for friends and family,” Smith said. “Over time, that kind of evolved into playing at assisted-living centers, mostly the Courtyard at Jamestown in Provo. We did that for a couple of months at the beginning of the year and were planning to do it in March but then everything was canceled and we weren’t able to perform at those centers any more. We really liked being able to connect with the seniors, being able to talk to them and share our music with them. We really missed it once everything was shut down.”
As the months of restrictions stretched on, the Timpview musicians decided to put together the online concerts.
“That way we could still share our music even though we couldn’t do it in person,” Smith said.
Smith plays the piano and the bassoon, and said she also writes and performs some of her own music. Teeples plays the violin and Bann plays the flute, giving the trio a variety of musical options.
“We play a lot of different instruments,” Smith said. “We’ve done solos and duets. We’ve also done some singing as well. It’s fun to do a variety of different pieces.”
Smith said that the first Vivace Project concert will be a collection of solos.
“With solos, we don’t have to work on playing together,” Smith said. “We are recording our individual pieces and then combining it into one video. In the future we’ve talked about maybe doing some ensemble pieces.”
She said that one of the biggest challenges they have faced is getting the word out but there have been other issues as well.
“It’s kind of hard when you can’t talk to people face-to-face to let them know you are doing a concert,” Smith said. “It’s also been a struggle to arrange things because we can’t meet in person to figure out all the logistics. Most of our work has been done in online chats or Zoom calls. Just recording has been an issue because we don’t all have great recording devices to use, so the audio quality has been difficult.”
The first “Vivace Project” concert is scheduled to be released on the project’s YouTube channel and web page on June 30 and Smith expects it to be about 30 minutes of music.
“As of right now, we have over 20 minutes of recorded pieces and we have a couple of more we are trying to get recorded as well,” Smith said.
Smith believes the online concert efforts are helping her and her friends stay engaged with their music.
“This is a great way to feel motivated to keep working,” Smith said. “I know when a lot of my concerts got canceled, I wasn’t feeling especially motivated to keep practicing. In the short term, this is helpful for all of us to have more motivation. I’m also preparing for college auditions, so this is a great way to put my music out there and to work on my pieces before I actually audition for college music programs.”
She hopes to see the initial concert as just the first step in a monthly concert series with a broader scope.
“I would love to involve more of the community in the concert,” Smith said. “Right now we only have four or five musicians playing but I’m hoping we can get more people in the community interested and involved so they can share their musical talents.”
For more details, go to the Vivace Project website at https://vivaceproject.wixsite.com/2020.