Nightingale and the Tower, with Sonic Butterfly

Sequina DuBose as Philomena in the production of Nightingale and the Tower
April 5, 2024 - 8:30 PM
First Ward Park

The College of Arts + Architecture Digital Arts Center and the Charlotte SHOUT festival partner to present Nightingale and the Tower, an electro-acoustic multimedia performance featuring the Sonic Butterfly.

Nightingale and the Tower, by composer, director, and award-winning performing artist Rebecca Comerford, is an intergenerational futuristic fable about a young boy who challenges the dystopian norms by disobeying his mother and playing outside. Entering a magical forest, he finds a nightingale (thought to be extinct) and a super-computer tower operated by an empress that knows a little too much.

At the heart of this musical adventure through nature, technology, and art is the spectacular Sonic Butterfly, an acoustic, chromatic, long-string harp designed and performed by acclaimed musician and installation artist Andrea Brook. With strings more than 60 feet long that span out over the audience, the vast two-octave harp creates rich longitudinal vibrations with ascending overtones that will transform First Ward Park into a stunning immersive musical instrument. Its two resonating chambers have butterfly-shaped projection-screen/LED wings, adding visual splendor to this extraordinary sonic experience.

Local artists, faculty, and students collaborating in the fields of opera, dance, theater, and electronic composition join Brook to perform segments of Comerford’s electro-acoustic chamber opera in an enchanting program that challenges us to consider how we can remain connected to our humanity and the natural world in the face of encroaching technology.

Pictured top, Associate Professor of Voice Sequina DuBose as "Philomena" in Nightingale and the Tower.

About Sonic Butterfly

Andrea Brook has presented performances at performing arts centers, festivals, museums and corporate events for nearly 20 years. She has performed as an aerialist, dancer, musician, vocalist, and yogi. Andrea has worked with Cirque du Soleil, symphony orchestras, opera, rock, classical, world and new age musicians through out the globe. As Associate Director of MASS Ensemble from 2001-2013 and as Creative Director for Sonic Butterfly Productions since its conception in 2013, she has executed extraordinary long-string harp installations and conceived, directed and performed in thrilling shows around the world from the Grand Theater in Shanghai to a 9th Century Medieval Castle in Italy, the Temple at Burning Man, a church in downtown Sao Paulo Brazil and the Space Needle in Seattle.

The concept for Sonic Butterfly was born in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where Andrea was performing for a Day of the Dead Festival in 2012. Entranced by the return of the monarch butterfly as they came home to Mexico after their yearly migration, Andrea felt a deep resonance to their process of transformation and purpose. Simultaneously, a Rumi poem was recited, and one line made it all clear, “Jump into the fire, become the butterfly, become the butterfly.” Andrea dedicated herself to create Sonic Butterfly and an immersive musical chrysalis. 

Andrea Brook and the Sonic Butterfly