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Cantus: Sky Pesher

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Cantus in the Sky Pesher
Cantus recording an improvisational song inside the Sky Pesher sculpture at the Walker Art Museum.
MPR photo/Laura Gill

Over the summer the Walker Art Center unveiled a new program called Open Field, which was an experiment inviting people to come to the museum's big, grassy area and be part of the art making process. The members of Cantus were also invited to join in the festivities. They actually performed in the Sky Pesher, a sculpture that is accessible only through the field.

The sculpture is basically a concrete box built into the field with a window overhead that lets visitors experience the outdoor light throughout the day. Walker project director, Scot Stulen, has helped bring other performances to the Sky Pesher but says that the Cantus performance was one of the most memorable he's seen or heard. It was an intimate affair, and only about 50 to 75 people jammed in the space got to experience the intensity.

The Cantus performance was such a hit that the ensemble decided to go back to the sculpture for a second installment. This time the songs and improvisations were recorded as part of Classical Minnesota Public Radio's "Sonic Architecture" series, which features this year's artists in residence (Cantus) performing in various non-traditional spaces around the state.

For their second trip to the Sky Pesher there was no audience to feed off, but the singing is no less electric. Listen as the group uses the unique reverb of the sculpture in an improvisation that can only be described as magical. Adam Reinwald, a baritone, talks about the experience and the experience of recording in different spaces.

If you have a suggestion of a non-traditional environment, send it in, and maybe the men of Cantus will make it their next recording studio.