From Coo-Coo to Concept

The following post is from Eric Snoza, our double bass player and general website & imagery guru.  He played an integral part in selecting our creative team for our upcoming series, In Transit, so I asked him to write about his process.  

Every year, Fifth House Ensemble puts  out an original concert series that combines cleverly crafted modern and classical programming, brilliant and extremely creative collaborators, as well as staging and performance at some of Chicago’s premier venues. Every year we strive to bring something new to the stage and present the music in a way that has not been done before. So, with all that happens on stage, we often get the question, "what goes on behind the scenes to make this?" and "how do you find your collaborators?"

The short answer I like to give is, "a whole lotta crazy and some clever ingenuity!"

The absolutely wonderful thing about our group is that we have 10 minds with 10 very unique personalities, each bringing with them a particular strength to the process. When choosing pieces for our concerts, Herine and Karl can pull any number of classical chamber pieces from their mental libraries, while Adam hauls in an equally impressive library of contemporary music, and Clark and myself will throw out into the mix some pop and rock. Once we have the pieces we want to work with, it is time for a concept.

The truly maniacal way in which we derive our final concept is both scary and impressive. Usually, a couple of people from the group will shout out some crazy idea (the crazy people know who they are), we decide which is the craziest…and pick that one. Then, we send that idea over to the more practical people in the group (they definitely know who they are) and they work very hard to trim the sharp edges off the ‘crazy’ and form it into the final concept that becomes our series.

Another key asset to our series are the collaborators. From Ezra Claytan Daniels in "Black Violet," to Rebekah Scallet and Lindsey Marks in "The Weaver’s Tales," to our upcoming series which includes our newest collaborators, director Robert Quinlan and illustrator/animator Jay Nolte, we always strive to work with people that share our desire to tell a story in a unique way. Often the idea for a collaborator will come from the series concept. For instance, we knew that this upcoming series was going to include comics and animation, so it only made sense to look for an illustrator/animator. We also like to keep things local and wanted to work with someone that was already thinking along the lines of classical music and animation to tell a story. When I came across… I was sold! And wouldn’t you know…he has been a delight to work with and has a personality that fits right in. And, like the Tim Burtons and the M. Night Shyamalans of film, once we find collaborators we like to work with, we always find new ways to continue that collaboration.

Stir these ingredients together and what you get is a series that promises to delight the senses. So, keep an eye out for our upcoming series, In Transit, and we will keep chuggin along on this crazy train. Fifth House Ensemble