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‘Soaring echoes’ audio sculpture cascades in Millennium Park

Updated: June 5, 2012 9:02AM

Music fans going to Millennium Park for the free Downtown Sound Music Series will be in for an extra surprise — an “audio sculpture” pre-show of cascading sounds.

Park officials partnered with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to present “Soaring Echoes,” which uses the Pritzker Pavilion’s cutting edge sound system to deliver a series of sounds that travel through the park — from train whistles to water park noises to Lincoln Park-recorded birds.

“We’re always looking for ideas to entice the visitors,” said Ed Uhlir, executive director of Millennium Park, Inc.

“Soaring Echoes” captures seven distinct movements — including a movement dedicated to movement. That one highlights the transportation systems of Chicago, complete with train bells and whistles, and ship engines.

There are also the sounds of Lake Michigan, the Chicago River and wind turbines.

“Soaring Echoes” was created by Bill Fontana, a professor with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an internationally renowned artist.

Tourists and locals, young and old, took in — and enjoyed — the abnormal pre-show Monday. That is, once they figured out where the strange noises were coming from.

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