Happy New Year 2020

A note from our President…

MSAE Field Recording Workshop, July 2019

Dear MSAE friends,

I hope you have enjoyed a relaxing and restorative holiday, and enter the new decade with renewed energy. 

At the conclusion of Michael Zerang and Hamid Drake’s 29th annual winter solstice percussion duo concert at Constellation Chicago, Hamid spoke about this moment of cyclical renewal as a prime time for expressing gratitude. Inspired by these brilliant musicians, I follow suit and express my thanks to you.

Even at this very moment, whatever is happening now wherever you are leaves its acoustic trace. We are always in sound. Its meaning and sensation will vary for each of us. Sound may elude, inspire, or annoy. From each moment to the next, it is sure to change. This is a reminder of the fragile and transitory nature of our shared interest in discovering and producing opportunities for a deeper ecological understanding of the world.

Thank you for participating in our 2019 activities and helping us extend our reach with new programs for communities who are new to acoustic ecology and its practices. Thank you to the Chicago Reader and freelance writer Kerry Cardoza who wrote “Learning To Love Chicago With Your Ears,” a thorough and informative feature article about the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology’s origins, intersecting communities, and people who bring diverse ways of acting and creating in and with sound. 

Thank you to Annea Lockwood for creating our World Listening Day 2019 theme of “Listening With,” to remind us of our “terrestrial human-nature,” a vector and an obligation for sensing your place in the soil and the Earth.  Thank you to the Night Out In the Parks’ program administrators, the Chicago Park District, Inferno, Experimental Sound Studio, and MSAE’s teaching artists and staff who all made the fourth annual Summer Soundwalks In the Parks its biggest success so far.

We are grateful to have our newest new board member, Billie Howard, and inaugural Alba artist-in-residence at Experimental Sound Studio, Katie Wood, return to manage the 2020 series. Read more about 2019 soundwalks led by Amanda Gutierrez, Norman Long and Sara Zalek and other wonderful MSAE teaching artists here. These are but a few recent cherished contributions I am grateful for. 

Two notable aspects of the programming for the new decade are 1) the plethora of publicly accessible initiatives with themes of social justice, inclusion and healing at their heart, and 2) partnering efforts between artists and organizations which help amplify aligned missions while leveraging everyone’s capacity to greater effect.

Personally, it has been an honor for me to have had the support of a brilliant team on the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology’s Board of Directors. Please read on about changes on our board, members’ individual accomplishments, and stay tuned as the organization continues to mature this year, making the MSAE an effective and sustainable nonprofit entity serving the region.

I invite you to share our newsletter with family, friends, and your students by using the form on the right side of our home page.

Sincerely yours,

Eric Leonardson 
President, Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology, World Listening Project, World Forum for Acoustic Ecology