The second day of rehearsals for David Byrne’s 2009 tour (for which I was Assistant Choreographer), I casually mentioned to David that I had been captain of my high school’s color guard. He said he was interested in developing a large-scale, color guard rock show with live music, and I told him I would be happy to help out in any way possible. Several years later, I ran into him at an opera that I had Asistant Directed and he mentioned he was moving forward with the project. This began a multi-year development process with producers LeeAnn Rossi and Aaron Rosenblum to ultimately create Contemporary Color, a live show featuring around 500 color guard members and musicians, as well as a feature film directed by Bill and Turner Ross.
My role was to consult throughout the entire development process, lending my insight into the world of winter guard (basically marching band without the instruments, also known as the “Sport of the Arts”), as well as my expertise in translating ideas across multiple artistic platforms.
In developing the show, we selected 10 routines from world-class winter guards and commissioned 10 composers to create original music to be performed live behind the guard—ostensibly “replacing” the old music in a kind of chance-operation to create something new and surprising.
In June 2015, Contemporary Color premiered at the Air Canada Center in Toronto, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and featured performances by tUnE-yArDs, St. Vincent, Nelly Furtado, Devonté Hynes, Ad Rock and Money Mark (from the Beastie Boys), Zola Jesus, Lucius and DB himself. Contemporary Color, the documentary film, was released in 2016.