From A to B: The Journey of Sound

The stage is set. Lights dim, fade and pulse uniformly with the lively and soulful melodies of the music that resonates through the auditorium.                   

Flutist Meerenai Shim and percussionist Chris Jones command the stage with melodies that range the full spectrum, from bellowing lows to acute high notes.

This unlikely pairing of sounds is similar to the duo themselves. Shim lives in Campbell, California and across the country finds Jones, who resides in Rochester, New York.     

However, the stage is their middle ground, a home away from home, where a blending of styles, emotions, and talents collide in a spectacular display of musical prowess.

Together they form the A/B Duo.

The group was originally formed by Shim and Jones in 2012. According to Shim, the duo began their first rehearsals in the basement of a symphony center in Chicago.

The duo addressed the origin of their name on their website.

“The musicians’ entrance was on Adams Street. We would casually say something like, see you at 3 at Adams basement. Adams basement became A/B Duo,” said Shim. 

On March 10, the A/B duo took their talents to Framingham State, where they performed a two-hour concert from 7 to 9 p.m. at DPAC.

The duo successfully put a contemporary twist on classical music, with a seamless weaving of modern technologies that aided in producing music with a unique and soulful flavor.

Equally impressive to the music itself was the wide array of instruments that were utilized by the duo.

Both Shim and Jones played a large variety of instruments, swapping constantly during the duration of a single song.     

From the pint-sized piccolo to the massive multi-piece contrabass flute affectionately named the “gentle giant.” The duo also made use of some other interesting instruments such as various sized glass bottles.

Jones bounced around from drum kit to vibraphone to crotale, a tiny finger cymbal, in a lively manner all while staying focused on the piece at hand.

Shim commanded the contrabass flute which towered over her. She delicately disassembled the flute mid-song in order to produce varying sounds and pitches.

The masterful transitions from instrument to instrument made the A/B duo just as enjoyable to watch as they were to listen to.

As the performance drew to a close, the young duo played the song “Echoloquatious” composed by Matthew Joseph Payne as their finale.

Echoloqautious is an 8-bit-sounding piece that draws inspiration from the soundtracks of the games Payne grew up on.

The duo used all the technology at their disposal, including two Game Boys, to make Echoloqautious as interactive with the crowd as possible.

The duo had designed a video game that was played on a laptop by an attending student. The game was played in tandem with the duo performing Echoloqautious, creating a blend of throwback 8-bit music with a true display of audience interaction and participation.

The duo’s performance came to a close with a roar of applause from the crowd.

The Civic Center Blog best summed up an A/B performance as “one of the most charming concerts imaginable… The music was bouncy, strange, interesting and fun. The A/B Duo is worth seeking out”