Photo courtesy of WMPAC

Socially Distanced Performances Continue at WMPAC

Warren Miller Performing Arts Center

The Warren Miller Performing Arts Center continues its threeshow series of hybrid virtual and in-person performances this Saturday, August 1 with Grammy-winning ensemble The Crossing. Conducted by Donald Nally, The Crossing is a professional chamber choir based in Philadelphia who comes to Big Sky each summer for a two-week artistic residency to develop new work, capped off by a public performance. Given the necessary safety precautions surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, the original plans were untenable. However, both WMPAC and The Crossing were determined to forge ahead with the relationship and meet the challenge of how to create and present art at a time of social distancing.

“It’s just as important to create and share art with our communities. The pandemic has perhaps only increased our appetite for artistic experiences,” said John Zirkle, WMPAC’s Executive Director. “We just have to get creative about how to accomplish it in a new way, but we’re rising to the challenge.”

WMPAC enlisted the help of local videographer Micah Robin to capture high quality images of the Gallatin River. Over the past two weeks, that footage has been projected onto a wall at a studio in Philadelphia, where individual singers from The Crossing, a professional chamber choir based there, are recorded singing in front of it. Composite footage of each individual singer will then be projected on the WMPAC stage, on which four singers from the Montana-based choir Roots in the Sky (formerly Aoide Singers) will perform live, underscoring the hybrid nature of the performance.

The Crossing and WMPAC commissioned the Oscarnominated and Pulitzer Prizewinning composer David Lang to create a new piece specifically for the concept of singing together from a distance. The world premiere of that piece will take place on Saturday at 6 p.m. The hybrid performance will happen on the WMPAC stage and be broadcast to virtual audiences on the Center’s new streaming platform,

Unlike the first and last shows of the summer season, this time there will be no live audience at the Center. Instead, the entire audience experience will happen online.

The highlight of the performance will undoubtedly be the new piece by composer David Lang. He is one of America’s most performed composers, and won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Music for a piece entitled “The Little Match Girl Passion,” which then went on to win a Grammy Award in 2009 for Best Ensemble Performance.

The last show of the summer season will take place the following Saturday, August 8 at 6 p.m. Longtime WMPAC partners James Sewell Ballet will present their own version of a socially distant dance performance, with a couple live dancers onstage performing alongside projections of dancers behind them. WMPAC will welcome up to forty audience members to the theatre for that performance, and follow the CDC’s social distancing guidelines to ensure the safety of the audience and performers.

Tickets and more information are available at

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