Gestural Traces and Material Memory Artfully Integrated Stories, Gestures and Voices of Friendship Village Residents

They didn't only attend a world premiere. They were the inspiration for, contributors to, and participants in a world premiere.

Gestural Traces and Material Memory, created by visual artist Susan Giles and composer Amy Wurtz, artfully integrated and featured the stories, gestures, and voices of residents of Friendship Village senior living community in Schaumburg. The Vocal Artists of Friendship Village performed the musical score "Come Through the Door"late last month.

The project was supported in part by an Individual Artist Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

Friendship Village Choir is a 30+ member resident ensemble led by resident Susan Young. Giles and Wurtz were connected to Friendship Village through the Friendship Village Choir's former accompanist, Trevor Watkin. The project was based on interviews of residents as they shared their perceptions and experiences of the meaning of "home." Giles created drawings of the participants' gestures while telling their stories; Wurtz incorporated quotes into the musical composition she created. The culmination of the endeavor was Gestural Traces and Material Memory.

The performers, the Vocal Artists of Friendship Village, were the nine residents who participated in the storytelling. Young directed them.

A video exhibit is planned this autumn in the Chicago area.

See the story as it appears in the Daily Herald.

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