Press Release
Immediate Release

SBSO’s Three-Dimensional Octet Creates a One-of-a-Kind Immersive Musical Experience

South Bend Symphony Orchestra (SBSO) unveils Octet to the public at the South Bend Museum of Art (SBMA) on November 6, 2020 and running through the end of the year. Octet is a unique, immersive experience offering visitors the chance to get closer to orchestral music than ever before. The project, a collaboration with the Riverlights Music Festival, aims to recreate the feeling of being in an orchestra by situating the listener within a three-dimensional soundscape.

Octet is a proof of concept. Originally a response to the global pandemic, the result transcends this period. The idea is this: eight musicians record as a small, socially distanced ensemble. After a sound engineer channels each musician through a unique speaker, the system is set in a large circle giving listeners the freedom to explore each instrumentalist’s part, or stand centrally in the space and experience the musical blend. The project employed SBSO musicians during a time of severely limited work opportunities, and the high-fidelity speakers and immersive soundscape offer patrons a completely new perspective on music.
“Not only is this one solution to music-making during a pandemic, but we can take the system – which is small enough to be portable – into schools, libraries, hospitals, etc. It works as an amazing education and community engagement tool as well,” said Halle McGuire, project lead for the Symphony.

“When we were first discussing how Riverlights could partner with the SBSO to build what would become Octet, we were eager not only to collaborate with the team at the SBSO but also to create an innovative way to capture and share music within our beloved community. We’re excited by the unique application of music and technology we’ve been able to create together and look forward to Octet being shared with the greater community,” said Matt Teters, Riverlights Music Festival Executive Director.

Future plans for Octet include school-specific programming, avant-garde concert experiences, and civic tie-ups. Inquiries can be addressed to Sarah Perschbacher, Director of Marketing for the Symphony, at or 574-232-6343.

This project was made possible through the collaboration of the South Bend Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors and the expertise of Riverlights Music Festival, along with the support of the South Bend Civic Theater and the South Bend Museum of Art. The South Bend Symphony Orchestra acknowledges generous operating support from national and local organizations, such as the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County, the Indiana Arts
Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The public unveiling is November 6, 2020, from 5 – 7 p.m. EST at The South Bend Museum of Art in conjunction with Downtown South Bend’s First Friday event. The installation will be on display at the South Bend Museum of Art until the end of December 2020. Masks are required at the museum and physical distancing will be enforced.

About the South Bend Symphony Orchestra
Embarking on the 89th season, the South Bend Symphony Orchestra is the region’s only professional orchestra and is committed to engaging the community in all it does. In addition to being recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts and other state and local arts funding organizations, the South Bend Symphony Orchestra is the recipient of the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County’s 2019 Leighton Award for Nonprofit Excellence, which recognizes the best-run nonprofit organization in St. Joseph County, Indiana.
Media Contact
Sarah Perschbacher

About the Riverlights Music Festival
Riverlights Music Festival is a collaboration between local, regional, and national artists, community leaders, and local businesses seeking to illuminate South Bend as a prime destination for original music in the Midwest. Our festival showcases awe-inspiring music and creates unforgettable experiences featuring the best local artists, businesses, and entertainment vendors in South Bend. We are a homegrown, South Bend based organization that strives to better connect our community to music and the arts in fun and family-friendly ways.”

About the South Bend Museum of Art
The South Bend Museum of Art affirms the enduring power of the visual arts to reflect and create community, engage minds, and nurture growth through exhibitions, collections and educational programs.”