Two people sitting in front of a screen with musical notes.
BGSU students created original compositions to be played as ambient music during the University's total solar eclipse watch party at Doyt L. Perry Stadium. (Stock photo)

BGSU College of Musical Arts students compose soundtrack for April's total solar eclipse

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The calming and meditative pieces will be played as ambient soundscapes for the University's watch party

By Laren Kowalczyk ‘07

Nine Bowling Green State University students created original compositions for the University’s total solar eclipse watch party on April 8, providing a unique experience to showcase their talents to a crowd that could potentially number in the thousands.

The calming and meditative pieces — intended to set a planetarium-esque mood — will be played as ambient soundscapes at Doyt L. Perry Stadium as visitors explore the numerous educational and entertaining activities throughout the large-scale, family-friendly event.

“I hope people take something away from my music, whether it’s intellectual or emotional,” said BGSU graduate student Yeonsuk Jung, who composed a roughly seven-minute piece titled “When the serpent swallowed the sun.”

“Part of an artist’s job is to make people think, to connect with them on some level. My piece is very atmospheric, and I hope it adds something to their experience.”

Listen to a sample of Jung's music:

The composition project represents the University’s commitment to providing students with experiential learning opportunities that are beneficial to their future careers.

Dr. Christopher Dietz, an associate professor and coordinator of composition in the BGSU College of Musical Arts, said it’s important for student composers to learn to write “music for use” to support an event or project.

“This is a unique opportunity for our students,” Dietz said. “For this project, music isn’t the main event; it’s supporting the event, and that’s very important for student composers to be able to do.”

On April 8, BGSU and the surrounding community will have one of the country's best views of a once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse as the moon passes directly between the Earth and sun, rendering the sky dark for roughly three minutes. A total solar eclipse will not be visible in Bowling Green again until 2099.

BGSU is marking the occasion with numerous learning opportunities, including an 11-week speaker series featuring faculty and experts from several colleges and departments and a student-produced podcast highlighting the historical and cultural aspects of total solar eclipses.

Listen to a sample of Mesnick's music:

BGSU senior Hayden Mesnick, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in music composition, composed a piece this past summer focused on deep listening that he thought would be ideal for the watch party. 

Mesnick said he’s looking forward to his 15-minute piece, “Drone Piece 9561,” reaching a broad audience.

“My music is usually presented in front of an audience of music majors and musicians, so reaching an audience beyond musicians will be exciting,” he said. "This piece was originally meant to be meditative. I hope it brings people a sense of calm along with some excitement for the eclipse.”

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Updated: 04/12/2024 11:54AM