Mosaic / November 9, 2016

Students discuss challenges of collaboration

Seniors Diandra Soemardi and Parker Adams and sophomore Francesca Downs perform a piece for the talent show. (Photo courtesy of Diandra Soemardi)

Seniors Diandra Soemardi and Parker Adams and sophomore Francesca Downs perform a piece for the talent show. (Photo courtesy of Diandra Soemardi)

During the Prairie Fire Talent Show this fall, senior Parker Adams and sophomore Francesca Downs performed as vocalists along with senior Diandra Soemardi. While the trio has no concrete plans to collaborate on a performance again, they consider it a possibility for the future.

The Knox Student: How long have you been performing together?

Parker Adams: Well, Diandra and I performed together earlier this year, so the first time we did something together was in the fall, so in September at the beginning of the school year. But the three of us had only thought to do something for the talent show.

TKS: How did you choose what you wanted to perform?

PA: Oh, it was “Lay Me Down,” by Sam Smith. I was singing that song like all summer so then I thought that if we do anything, we should do that song. And then for “Riptide,” we were playing around with things that Diandra knows how to play on the piano. And so there was one rehearsal where Francesca had to leave for a little bit. Diandra and I stuck around and she was showing me what she knew how to play on piano and I was trying to sing along and then that was one of the songs that came up.

TKS: Do you work together outside of live performances, such as composing or writing music?

PA: I tried to write this song once when I was younger, and then I got really discouraged because I reached a stopping point. And then I came back to it and found out that, with one of the rhymes I made, I was mispronouncing the word. So the rhyme was no longer a rhyme. So no, but when I write poetry, I often write poetry with music occasionally. So I guess that’s within the realm of writing to music.

TKS: What is the most rewarding aspect of performing a group opposed to performing solo?

Francesca Downs: Working on a piece and then performing it, like we were working on this piece. It was only for a week, but we still put in some work for it. We had our trials and our complications, and once we did it, it was nice to see it all come together. It’s different when you’re doing a solo thing and when you’re doing it in a group you all did a part of it. You all created this artwork.

TKS: What are some of the obstacles you encounter throughout the process of collaborating and creating art?

PA: The talent show was kind of funny because it really didn’t go as planned, and we like to comfort ourselves with the fact that we were the only performance with multiple people. So I think some of the challenges included merging styles.

We were listening to different version of “Lay Me Down” and wondering if we want to emulate this style or that style. And because it’s not just one person you’re trying to take into account different preferences and different abilities. And then tying the piano in as well, we had to figure out how to use it to emphasize what we’re doing but also like to not do too much.

TKS: Do you have any goals for the group?

FD: We weren’t planning on it, but we could perform again. There’s no solid plans, but in the future there’s lots of potential.

PA: I mean, I really love singing. Francesca is a singer, like with the trademark on the end, like certified. And Diandra is, like, actually a pianist but we’re all poets as well. So even if we don’t perform together, we write together casually. And Diandra and I have written collaborative poems together and so I could definitely imagine the three of us writing a poem together, or a song.

TKS: Do you plan to continue singing or writing poetry once you leave Knox?

FD: That’s not even a question. It’s keeping me alive.


Sam Jacobson, Co-News Editor
Sam Jacobson is a junior majoring in philosophy and potentially minoring in creative writing or psychology. She started volunteer writing during spring term of her freshman year, and worked as a staff writer during her sophomore year.

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