New BeethoVAN project connects engineering and fine arts
There’s more overlap between the mathematic precision of engineering and freeform creativity of the fine arts than you may think. South Dakota Mines showed that creative connection with the BeethoVAN, a project that hopes to bring chamber music beyond the concert hall.
Thanks to the BeethoVAN - a collaborative effort between South Dakota Mines and the Rushmore Music Festival - these concerts can now be found right on campus - or anywhere else you could imagine.
Brett Walfish is the cofounder of the Rushmore Music Festival. He said this is about filling an arts gap.
“We’ve always believed our mission is to serve classical music and our community in doing that. So many communities, so many people, either don’t have access to classical music, or they feel alienated by a concert hall. They feel like they don’t belong. By having this portable stage trailer, we can bring classical music to the people. It allows us to bring high-quality classical music anywhere we can dream of it.”
Senior mechanical engineering major Logan Leader was the student lead on the project. A sousaphone player in high school, he said he didn’t have access to classical music growing up in a small town along the Nebraska-South Dakota line.
“So, small town – 600 people. There’s nothing like this," Leader said. "Even in band there was no string section. Like, guys knew how to play the guitar already and had one then they’d bring it in and play that, or one person would know how to play the piano, and it was a standup not a grand. I said at the design fair, don’t forget about the Kennebecs of the world – the Kadokas.”
Leader said the van, complete with a professional stage and a piano lift, took him and his team eight months of work to complete.