YouTube Invites You to Compose Yourself

YouTube is a wonderful invention, and not just because it has brought us dancing weddings and countless baby panda videos. It is a particular gift to the performing arts community, enabling performances to be easily preserved long after the final curtain call.

Last November, a conglomerate of theatre groups on campus joined together to create Compose Yourself: A Showcase of Student Composers. The show featured the work of 8 budding campus composers and 20 dynamite performers. With just two performances that quickly sold out, the live show was seen by only a couple hundred people. However, thanks to YouTube creators Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim (and cameraman Pat Blute), anyone can see Compose Yourself at any time of day.

It’s difficult to incorporate the idea of preservation into an art form that is, by definition, a one-time live experience. Watching an online video will never have the same impact as a live performance. But by recording a performance and making it easily accessible, the number of people who are able to partake in the experience becomes literally unlimited. Accessibility also allows an audience to become more actively engaged. Rather than passively absorbing an arts experience, they can actively join the conversation and encourage their friends to participate as well.

Here are a couple of my favorite songs from Compose Yourself. Do you have any favorite performances that are available online?

“Gerald’s Mask,” By Matt Star and Eric Binswanger, performed by Zach Aaronson

“No Getting Back,” By Berkley Todd, performed by Ross Ramone

Check out the rest of the numbers on Pat’s YouTube channel, or visit CUartsTube for performances by your other favorite groups.

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Darcy Zacharias, CC ’10
Darcy produced Compose Yourself.

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