Wind Symphony changes STEM to STEAM

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The wind symphony’s annual children’s concert on Feb. 18 was a hit for audiences of all ages with great music and a positive message tied together with entertaining humor.

IMG_1952Titled Dr. Calamari and the (Mad) Science of Music, the performance included an animated short designed by a class ofDigital Media sophomores called Cyborg Shrimp, the Rise of Dr. Calamari. The students, taught by Professor Rodayne Esmay, created the film so that it could be shown while the symphony played along to it.

“I’ve come here to awaken your brain,” said Dr. Calamari, actor Marvin Payne, when he made an appearance in person fully dressed in his lab coat and oversized goggles. “Science Technology Engineering Math are the things that awaken your brain.”

Dr. David Fullmer, conductor of the symphony, told Dr. Calamari that while STEM is very important, adding an A for the arts is also important and is in fact science. Adding the arts changed the acronym from STEM to STEAM.

Throughout the show, Fullmer gave facts and showed videos about the science behind music, which he verified with the Physics department.

Instruments create their sound through vibrations and Fullmer had the performers demonstrate with the mouthpieces off the body of the instrument, which made the children laugh at the crazy noise it made.

To show how sound waves work, a child volunteer held the end of a rope while Fullmer moved the other end at various speeds.


The fact that got Dr. Calamari on board with the science behind music was when a video of how Beethoven used math to compose his historical pieces when he was going deaf. The complex formulas were shown through animations that explained how consonance and dissonance worked together to create beautiful music.

Throughout the show, Dr. Daniel Fairbanks, Dean of the College of Science and Health, sculpted a figure of Albert Einstein.

At the end, he showed Dr. Calamari that one can be both a scientist and an artist by playing on a guitar and teaching Dr. Calamari how to play a banjo.

The children in the audience loved the ending when they had the opportunity to come to the stage and play instruments and conduct the band while the symphony played.





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