“It’s kind of funny it’s like a virtual applause of thumbs up signs and love signs,” said resident artist Christopher Swist after the live stream of his performance on the Keene State College Music Department’s Facebook page reached over 1,000 people.

Associate music professor Dr. Sandra Howard said, “Professor Swist is a prolific composer of percussion works, professional performer and recording engineer.” She added, “He models excellence in performance and teaching students how to be effective communicators and performers.”

Swist live streamed six pieces on a 5-octave marimba and vibraphone through the Music Department’s Facebook page on Wednesday,April 22, at 7:30 p.m. This performance is part of the annual KSC Music Faculty Performance Series.

According to Swist, there were three performances played in marimba and three in vibraphone. Five out of six pieces were Swist’s signature solo original compositions. Swist explained, “I’m in a sort of mode where I’m mainly performing my own pieces and some of them go back as long as 23 to 24 years or something at this point.” According to Swist, he started writing a lot of pieces for marimba pretty early when he was an undergraduate student.

Swist played his music on Wednesday from his professional studio in Chesterfield. It was very important for Swist to get the natural sound quality to come across. He said he will be upgrading broadcast ability in his studio for future performances.

Howard said, “Professor Swist skillfully delivered this performance with high sound quality.” 

Swist took this opportunity as an eye-opener. He said, “It was rewarding to get that much feedback over the internet.”

Howard said, “During the live streamed performance, there was a great representation in the audience including music students, music alumni and their families, music faculty, KSC faculty, KSC administrators and community members. A quick look around on the comments during the performance represented viewers from New England to Brazil.”

One of the 169 comments Swist got on Facebook was from KSC student Andrew Szmauz. His comment said, “I love how animated you are when you play! It is such a pleasure to see how passionate you are about music! Thank you so much for performing.”

Howard added, “While the aesthetics of being seated in a concert hall for a live performance are preferable, an advantage to having the live stream event [is that it] reached a greater audience than a typical performance in the Redfern Alumni Recital Hall.” 

Swist said that this event has converted him a bit. He said, “I am very old school; I don’t teach online lessons, I don’t Facebook stream my live performances.” He added, “I wouldn’t say I am philosophically opposed to it, but, of course, during this pandemic we have to adapt, so I am trying to make it work in my teaching and in my performances as best as I can.” Swist also was amazed to see how even the people on campus who wouldn’t ordinarily go to a concert can just tune in through this platform.

Swist said that music has become atmospheric or background in the 20th century due to music technology. He said, “Doing something like this [live streaming on Facebook] makes you think people might be just wandering around their house in their underwear drinking a glass of wine while listening to your performances.” He hopes it to be a temporary solution. “I would go back 100 years to those original musicians who heard radio and said, ‘I hope this doesn’t replace my performances,’” he said.

Swist definitely thinks that he will be integrating the technology in the future, however, he still thinks that it wouldn’t be able to replace the live performances. 

The KSC Music Department is continuing to post brief student workshop recitals each week. Howard said, “Upcoming performance events include Opera Workshop on April 27 from 12 to 3:30 p.m.; Jayce Barone Sr. Voice Recital on May 6 at 7:30 p.m.; Cora Dykens Jr. Clarinet Recital on May 7 at 7:30 p.m.; and Tyler Martin Sr. Composition Recital  on May 8 at 7:30 p.m.”

The performances will be live streamed on the Keene State College Music Department Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KSCMusic/


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