Kathy Kennedy: Residency, Performances & Installation of The Numbers Game

The following text is taken from Front Magazine, vol. VI, no. 5, p. 6, May/June 1995:

Outdoor performances of The Numbers Game,
an Outdoor Installation for Choir and Radio at:

The Vancouver Public Library
Saturday, May 27, 12:55 pm

Granville Island Market
Sunday, May 28, 12 noon

Vancouver Art Gallery
Monday May 29. 1:00 pm

Using a full choir rigged with radios, Montréal artist Kathy Kennedy creates “musical interventions” on a grand scale. During three events scheduled for late May, 100 singers carrying portable radios airing Kennedy’s score will grace some prime Vancouver turf, including the new Vancouver Public Library (during its opening ceremonies), Granville Island Market and the Vancouver Art Gallery.

The singers’ radios are tuned to a low-watt signal Kennedy transmits from a nearby building. The Numbers Game  score blends pre-recorded classical music and found sounds from the sites (birds, trucks). The choir’s text is made up entirely of numbers sung in different languages. As the singers make their way across the site, with Kennedy ‘choreographing’ the sound to take full advantage of the acoustic environment, individual radios keep everyone on cue.

“It’s important to stimulate listening and to make people aware of space – particularly in our time,” says Kennedy. Her interest in sonic environments and how sound is perceived draws this composer to public places, where the line between performer and audience is less defined.

Similar versions of Kennedy’s sound installations occurred in 1993 – unannounced and indoors – at Montréal’s Hydro Québec and Palais de Justice buildings and, in 1994, at the block-long Place des Arts, during which hundreds of people moved along with the choir to hear the sound. Called Never/Always, the work was recorded for the CD compilation Musicworks 59  and appears along with Souindwalk, a concert hall version of found sound, orchestra and choir, recorded live at the Banff Centre.

Kennedy is spending a month-long residency at the Western Front during May. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art and a Bachelor of Music, both at Concordia University, and a Master’s of Music in Performance (voice) at the University of Western Ontario. As well as composing for film and choreography, she is the director of the innovative women’s choir Choeur Maha.