Millikin students create music using wooden wind harps
Students from Millikin University's School of Music and Art Department having been working with Decatur, Ill., native and Millikin alumnus Craig Dongoski '88 to create music using wooden wind harps made by Dongoski called Aeolian harps. The Aeolian harps do not make music, they make noise. The harp plays when wind blows through it.
"I don't like to manipulate it too much," Dongoski said in a recent interview with the Herald & Review. "The wind has its own rhythm – it has a voice."
Recently, Dongoski decided to test his harps using the wind turbines at the National Sequestration Center at Richland Community College. His harps need a place with plenty of wind to work properly, so he thought the wind turbines would be a great location.
Brian Justison, director of the School of Music at Millikin, collaborated with Dongoski on a program called "Spelling the Wind." Millikin art and percussion students participated in the commission of the work for the synergy festival in February.
"Students love Craig; he's just a really interesting guy with a lot of ideas," Justison said. "He has a really important voice. He's got something to say."
Justison also participated in an improvisational session with the wind turbines and Aeolian harps. He improvised with the sounds of the wind turbines and tried to frame the sounds as something clear.
"It was an experience of inquiry, and the inquiry is exploring these sounds as art and not just something that results from a mechanical device," said Justison. "We went out there and explored the potential of what we recorded. It was mostly Craig recording and me improvising and framing the whole wind turbine and its potential as a work of art."
Dongoski noted, "People take the area around Decatur for granted when it comes to potential for art. There are many opportunities to interact with the Earth and understand its energies."
Dongoski hopes to continue working in the local area and experimenting with his harps and wind turbines. He is currently a professor at Georgia State University specializing in drawing, painting and printmaking. Dongoski is an artist living and working in Atlanta since June 1999. He has taught painting and drawing full-time at Georgia State University, becoming a permanent faculty member in fall 2001.
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