Empire State Plaza fireworks with sound

Corning Tower

Empire State Plaza pic
c. 2020 Chuck Miller. Used with permission.

It wasn’t that I needed another piece of “stuff.” But there was something both familiar and wacky about this piece of art and craft by Chuck Miller that I had to put in at least an opening bid on. And, as it turned out, I won.

Here is one of Chuck’s photos of the Empire State Plaza fireworks, this from 2018. He’s taken quite a few of them over the years. As he explains here, “I’ve dabbled with electro-luminescent wire projects – mostly my neon sign recreation projects that later became successful art sales at Historic Albany Foundation’s BUILT charitable auction.

“So I wanted to build another one, and this time I wanted to integrate sound-activated lights in it.” And he did and offered it to the HAF auction.

Yes, it does light up with sound activation, such as talking or clapping. Playing music on the CD, though was less successful unless I played it very loud. But two things really work to create sustained lighting. One is to sing Om at approximately the F below middle C. That is amazingly effective. And fun. One can do that for only so long, though.

The other is to take the sleep machine I use every night. For most purposes, I set it to Stream, which replicates a babbling brook. For this exercise, I put it on Calm, which sounds a bit like a chant. Maybe sometime, I’ll bug my wife to pull out her clarinet to see what sound is most effective.

Sight and sound

I’m musing on this piece’s appeal to me. It is a fine photograph. It’s also the Albany connection. The Corning Tower, at 42 stories, is the tallest building between Montreal and New York City.

The picture is a reminder of something approaching “normal” in 2020, though the shot was taken in 2018. I hadn’t gone down to the plaza to watch the fireworks n a couple of decades, as it’s too crowded and noisy. But I had done so frequently last century.

The combination of sight and sound connected with me. I always find my own photographs of fireworks depressingly lacking. And I have no skills whatsoever on the mechanical front.

If nothing else, I can put Empire State Plaza fireworks with sound below the front windows. If anyone tries to commit a break-in, the burglar will be startled by the flashing lights.

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