The two artists behind Squonk Opera—Steve O’Hearn, who is part visual artist/part construction engineer, and his partner, composer Jackie Dempsey—aim to create work that is “fast, funny, shameless and inclusive.” Richard Winham talked to Steve O’Hearn on the telephone from Pittsburgh, where he and his partner live and work. Also in the studio were Bob Boyer, the director of the Patten Performance Series here at UTC, and Lisa Darger from UTC’s Office of Sustainability.
Ticket information is here.
Tuesday, April 11, 20174:00 pm - 6:30pm - 8:00 pmat Historic Engel Stadium
Tuesday, April 11 at Historic Engel Stadium, UTC and the City of Chattanooga are presenting Earth, Wind & Solar, an Earth Week Celebration! Featuring three 30-minute concerts and multiple workshops about energy, wind power, and wind machines from musical guests Squonk Opera along with sponsors EPB and Tennessee Solar Solutions, this educational, family friendly festival is a signature event for this year's Earth Week celebrations in Chattanooga. Musical guests Squonk Opera will be performing Pneumatica, an outdoor musical event about air, made of air, and powered by air. The Squonkers pump up the volume with live original music that permeates the air, while inflatables pump up and immerse the audience. They perform three times - at 4:00 pm, 6:30 pm and 8 pm and their workshops will follow the 4:00 and 6:30 pm shows. The Pittsburgh-based Squonkers have played on 3 continents and in over 25 states while creating eleven original productions which have been performed in more than 250 venues across the United States. They appeared in season six of the NBC reality show America’s Got Talent, making it to the top 48 and performing live for 14 million viewers. The Buffalo News hailed them as “Rust Belt dada” and the Washington Post described them as “Debussy meets Godzilla,” although they say they suspect that last one may have been an insult. Often overblown, site-specific and participatory, Squonk’s work was born from Middle America, places where people like their art boisterous and their food greasy. In addition to Squonk's, EPB's, and Tennesee Solar Solutions' workshops, Hamilton County Schools will feature working displays from their robotics and STEM classes, local farms and craftsfolk will have displays and items for sale, local sustainable businesses will be on hand to demonstrate products and educate everyone on making sustainable living practices a viable choice for daily life. Food trucks will be providing choices for snacks and dinner at the festival, while the TreeDimensional light show, silent auction, and other activities will keep audience members engaged not just with the music and the festival but the historic ball park itself.