An ongoing exploration of transformative music and sound. We open ears everywhere, including our own.
Open Ears Festival of Music and Sound
Patricia spends most of her day writing policy papers about climate change, and when she heads out for her nightly run, she’s sure to have her Spotify playlist ready. On a recent sound walk she found herself on a familiar terrain but attuned to the sounds around her. She had never noticed how the wind rustles through the crisp fallen autumn leaves, or how she can hear the King Street construction blocks away.
The sound walks at Open Ears are open to all members of the public, and Patricia joined a dozen people on this event. At the beginning of each walk, people are instructed to refrain from speaking, and to pay attention to the sounds around them: occasionally they are provided with cues about what to listen for.
Since 1998, the Open Ears Festival has been presenting new and unusual musical and sound experiences in a variety of places that range from parks, city streets, parking garages, traditional concert halls, and churches. The festival takes place every two years. Between each festival, Open Ears presents Between the Ears, a mini-festival that aims to present more playful programming in the public spaces around Kitchener.
A regular feature of the festival has been sound walks led by performers and composers through different spaces in Waterloo Region, including Victoria Park and downtown Kitchener.
Open Ears wants to introduce new audience members and its regular attendees to the sounds in the world around, and to find music in unexpected spaces. At Open Ears you will find composers responding to their environments and inviting you to respond in turn. We open ears everywhere including our own town. Journalist Bill Dean expressed that “an event such as Open Ears gives you the chance to develop that keen sense of hearing without having to go blind.”
Open Ears is volunteer driven. Donations and funds allow us to expand our programming and our impact on the community. Talent can assist us with increasing our effectiveness as an organization.
Support to Open Ears allows us to bring in additional artists and to provide programming such as sound walks that support our mandate but do not generate revenue.