Denison’s ensemble-in-residence, ETHEL,, presents "Documerica," a multimedia concert.

Notice: this information is for a past event.
Ticket Info:
The Vail Series is pleased to be able to offer ETHEL Documerica tickets to the greater community as well as to students, faculty and staff. Community tickets are $15.00 each.

Ticket Update: The Vail Series is pleased to be able to offer ETHEL Documerica tickets to the greater community as well as to students, faculty and staff. Community tickets are $15.00 each. Please contact us at to order your tickets.

The Vail Series welcomes ensemble-in-residence, ETHEL, presenting “Documerica,” a multimedia experience. A meditation on America’s relationship to our land, our resources, and ourselves, “Documerica” is a multimedia concert that melds screen video projections with original music by some of today’s top composers.

Inspired by and showcasing evocative imagery from Project Documerica, a 1970s photographic archive commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency, the program explores this compelling snapshot of a tumultuous era that powerfully connects to today’s environmental and social issues.

“It’s difficult to adequately describe the impact of ETHEL’s “Documerica,” said Michael Morris, director of fine arts programming and of the Vail Series. “They have created an incredible melding of music and visuals that is greater than the sum of their parts. He added, “As our ensemble-in-residence for the past two years, ETHEL has interacted with the campus in classrooms, concerts and in one-on-one advice with students and faculty that have enriched us all. We are so grateful for our collaboration.”

Described by The New York Times as “new music bonding with old images in rich, provocative and moving ways,” this evening-long program was created in collaboration with projection designer Deborah Johnson and directed by Steve Cosson. ETHEL’s Documerica juxtaposes manipulated vintage 1970s visuals with the music of today.

Featuring new work by ETHEL members and commissioned composers Mary Ellen Childs, Ulysses Owens Jr., Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate, and James Kimo Williams, the program’s music is in constant dialogue with the projections in an arc that is by turns urban, rural, pastoral, and gritty. The composers selected for ETHEL’s Documerica represent the diversity of America. Hailing from different regions, backgrounds and generations, and influenced by a variety of musical practices, genres and forms, each contributes his or her distinctive voice to the program.

Denison faculty and staff took part in choosing photographs for the Documerica concert. They include Lauren Araiza, associate professor of history; Tabitha Chester, visiting assistant professor of women’s studies and black studies; David Greene, professor of geosciences; Rebecca Homan, associate professor of biology; Justine Law, visiting assistant professor of environmental studies; Andrew McCall, associate professor, of biology; Michael Morris, director of fine arts programming and the Vail Art Series; Margot Singer, associate professor of English; Geoffrey Smith, professor of biology; James Weaver, assistant professor of English; and Sheilah Wilson, assistant professor of art.

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