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Shenandoah Conservatory, Esports program collaborate in exploration of similarities between music, Esports

shenandoah universityShenandoah Conservatory and the Esports program at Shenandoah University partner to present We Play Together: A Collaboration Between Music and Esports. This seminal, cross-disciplinary project seeks to explore the similarities in practice, pedagogy and performance in music and esports. The event will be livestreamed from the Shenandoah University Esports Arena on Twitch, YouTube and Facebook from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. (EDT) on Wednesday, April 28.

The event features a solo performance of J.S. Bach’s “Prelude to Partita No. 3 in E Major” and Eugène Ysaÿe’s “Ballade from Sonata No. 3 in D Minor” by violinist Jonathan Toomer ’21 (Bachelor of Music in Performance) followed by an esports game performance with Brad Blanchard ’23 (Bachelor of Science in Esports) playing Overwatch and Alexander Krecek ’22 (Bachelor of Science in Esports) playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. A live moderated Q&A with the artists, gamers and collaborators will follow the performances.

“The increasing popularity of video games, esports and video game music provides new, innovative and diverse ways of exploring and discussing sound and performance practice,” said Adjunct Instructor and Teaching Fellow of Instrumental Ensembles J. Aaron Hardwick, M.M. “We hope this collaboration will help bridge the gap between the traditional and the modern notions of game and music performance.”

The project seeks to facilitate transdisciplinary collaboration and study of performance practice and pedagogical ingenuity that is beneficial to both music and esports students and faculty. It presents students an innovative approach to study, highlighting the future of collaborative and diversified learning in the 21st century.

“This is such an innovative form of collaboration between the esports program and the conservatory here at Shenandoah,” said Director of Esports Joey Gawrysiak, Ph.D. “Aaron has led the way in bringing this project together and we could not be more excited to see the outcomes. This is just another way that Shenandoah University Esports truly goes beyond gaming.”

The project was envisioned by Hardwick and facilitated by Gawrysiak. Panelists include the Shenandoah University student performers; Esports Head Coach and Assistant Director Zach Harrington; Instructor of Esports Chris Scroggins, M.S.; Assistant Professor of Trumpet Mary Elizabeth Bowden, M.A.; and Associate Director of Performing Arts Medicine and Assistant Professor Division of Athletic Training Michele Pye, Ph.D.

We Play Together: A Collaboration Between Music and Esports premieres online at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 28, and audiences can access the free livestream via the Shenandoah University YouTube channel, Shenandoah Esports Twitch channel and Shenandoah Conservatory Facebook page. Audiences are invited to submit questions via the Twitch chat section and Facebook comments. Visit for more information.

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