Willie Baltz and J.T. Vineyard held their shared junior music recital, Explorations in Living Color on March 29 in the Recital Hall at the University of Montana School of Music, Music Building.

The performance was open to a limited socially distanced and masked audience. The recital was also live-streamed on Facebook.

"It meant everything to have a live audience. Like to think that a year ago I was at home not knowing if I'd have my junior or senior recital," Baltz said.

Music majors are required to perform a junior level recital and a senior level recital. Typically, students share their junior recital with another student and perform their senior recital solo. Vineyard, a music composition major whose primary instrument is bassoon, partnered with Baltz, a music performance major and a percussionist for their junior recital.

"Willie and I kind of knew we would do our junior recitals together for a pretty long time," Vineyard said.

Their junior recital entitled, Explorations in Living Color had been in the works for a while.

"I started working on some of these pieces like last year or probably even before that," Vineyard, who composed the final song, said. Baltz and Vineyard used the title of that piece as the name for the recital as well, Explorations in Living Color.

A different approach was taken to put the recital together. Instead of just focusing just on the music, they added another element; an interactive light show. Each pieced that was performed used a different lighting technique. Even a few of the pieces were performed almost completely in the dark. For the finale, a program the displays colors based on pitches, volumes and timbre was used and displayed on a projector behind the performers. 

"I think there's a culture of recitals that's been going on for a while where you kind of just practice and play for like a few people and you're just done, but like, I think we wanted something more immersive and like interesting to people and like gave them a reason to come. We're trying to just like change the culture of recitals for sure," Vineyard said.

Many precautions were taken to allow a live audience. Everyone was required to wear a mask and there were a limited amount of seats that were open. All of the open seats were spaced far from each other. 

"I mean, it just took a lot of work for us. I hope going forward we can start to have more live events, but I think we did a pretty good job with all the precautions that we did take, but also made it like an actual recital. Like it wasn't weird in any way. It's just great to be playing," Vineyard said.