Tuned into nature
On August 29, multi award-winning performing artist Serena Ryder performed a concert, ‘on the ocean floor’ at low tide in Fundy National Park near the southeast coast of Canada, to more than 1,000 attendees using Sennheiser wireless headphones as part of Parks Canada and CBCMusic’s Quietest. Concert. Ever.
Herring Cove beach is located at the nortwestern reaches of the Bay of Fundy, known for its vast tidal range, which extends 50 vertical feet between high and low tides. At its highest point, the tide obscures the beach entirely, and when it recedes a temporary oasis is revealed. It was here that Parks Canada and CBCMusic hosted the latest edition of its Quietest. Concert. Ever.
Utilizing wireless technology provided by Sennheiser, Ryder’s performance was broadcast directly to audience members’ headphones – resulting in a musically captivating listening experience amidst the unique surroundings. The concert series itself is designed to bring live music to the most compelling outdoor spaces in Canada in a way that respects the sanctity of these protected environments.
Working against the tidal clock
“High tide to low tide and back to high tide again is about six hours, so we only had that long to stage the entire event,” said production consultant Steve Glassman. The project required reliable wireless technology that could be set up quickly and deliver high quality, streaming audio to 1000 concert-goers without interruption. “After exploring companies with suitable technology that could handle such a project, Sennheiser was at the top of the list,” said Glassman, who had previously worked with Sennheiser on the first Quietest. Concert. Ever. in Banff National Park in 2013.
The equipment for the concert to the beach via helicopter. “Our payload consisted of twenty loads of 800 pounds each as it was,” noted Glassman, who was thankful for the absence of large speaker stacks. After production rehearsals in the days leading up to the event, the CBCMusic team quickly set up the stage, instruments, and cables on the day of the performance. During the performance itself, audio was captured and broadcast from a truck parked at the top of Herring Cove, which sent the audio signal to a strategically placed Sennheiser transmitter located on the beach before arriving at the listeners’ headphones.
After audience members were delivered to the secluded Herring Cove beach via shuttle bus, each collected a pair of RS series Sennheiser headphones before descending a 170-step staircase to attend the 5:00 p.m. performance in the dried out basin. Ryder delivered a compelling performance, made all the more special by the breathtaking scenery and the crisp, intimate audio streaming to each headphone.
Part of Their World [Interview]
MusicZeitgeist.com asked Serena about her thoughts surrounding the concert.
MusicZeitgeist: Tell us how the idea came together – what part did you take in the concept?
Serena Ryder: The idea was already set in place before I did the show- I feel like this show was more of a special once in a lifetime kind of show -something super innovative and fresh.
MZ: What surprised you most about the event?
Ryder: I was totally surprised at how into the concert everyone was – how high the energy was – I didn’t know that was possible without a huge sound system.
MZ: Tell us about choosing the songs for an unforgettable experience like this one:
Ryder: I chose songs from my last record that would be most familiar to the audience – the rest of the set was comprised of new songs off of my up coming record ‘utopia’.
Tech Specs For the Ocean Floor
At the Bay of Fundy concert, she sang through a gold-plated Sennheiser SKM 2000 handheld transmitter coupled with an MMK 965-1 capsule, while relying on an ew 572 G3 system and an additional SK 500 G3 for her guitars.
For the backline microphones, Serena’s band used Sennheiser e 906s on guitar cabinets, evolution 900 series on drums (including a Neumann KM 184 on hi-hat) – along with two Sennheiser MK 4s as overheads and an MKE 600 miking up the audience. Her wireless monitoring system consists of 10 channels of Sennheiser’s 2000 series.
The one-hour TV special of ‘Quietest Concert Ever: On Fundy’s Ocean Floor’ (with Serena Ryder) broadcast on CBC on September 25th – showcasing the beauty of Fundy National Park as Serena Ryder debuts new singles from her unreleased album in an exclusive performance for CBCMusic.
Watch the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Behind the Scenes Video: