3D Projection Mapping

The centerpiece of this commemoration is a nine-minute 3D, projection-mapped animated video by Scott Meador and accompanying musical score composed and performed by Blake Tyson. This projection and recorded musical score will run continuously every 15 minutes over two evenings, September 23-24, 2017, 7:30–9:30 p.m.

About the Soundtrack

About the Video

“Imagine If Buildings Could Talk” by Scott Meador


The nine-minute 3D, projection-mapped, animated video by Scott Meador will loop continuously on the front façade of Central High and will feature visual effects created using extrusions, inclusions, shadowing, lighting passes, and contrasts.

Here are some still images from video.

Here’s a sneak peek of the video.

Meador’s credits include video projections for Metallica, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, the New Century Saxophone Quartet, and Avaya Communications, among others. He also provides design visualization services to Ematination-Media, MouTV, and 67Post in Nashville. An associate professor in the Department of Film, Theatre, and Creative Writing at UCA, Meador teaches courses in visual effects compositing, visual storytelling, motion graphics, and stereoscopic filmmaking. Prior to joining UCA, Meador was head of the 3D Animation Program in the Department of Computer Graphics Technology at Purdue University. As a teaching artist, Meador has conducted visual effects workshops for teens at the THEA Foundation, the Spring Creek Arts Festival (Springdale, AR), the Offshoot Film Festival (Fayetteville, AR), and the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival.

Check out Scott’s Projection Mapping Blog.


“The Surfsurface1ace of the Sky” by Blake Tyson


To punctuate the narrative elements of the video, herald the dramatic imagery, and draw viewers to the site, composer Blake Tyson has created “The Surface of the Sky,” an original score for keyboard percussion sextet (one 5 octave marimba, two 4.3 octave marimbas, two 3 octave vibraphones, and glockenspiel), which will be broadcasted along with the video performance.

Today, the images of the Little Rock Nine from 1957 have lost none of their power. Six decades later we can not only see the past in those photos, but also reflections of our time, and ourselves. We see the best, and worst, of human nature. We see hate, bigotry, and fear juxtaposed with courage, bravery, and resolve. The Surface of the Sky doesn’t attempt to depict any specific event of the crisis through music. Instead, I’ve tried to honor the bravery and courage of the nine students, and their families, who truly risked everything to move us forward. To stand up to the bullying, the threats, and the hatred took incredible strength and character from each one of them.

Visit Blake’s Website

There is a reflecting pool in front of Central High School. As you approach the immense building, you can see its now famous doorways reflected in the water. When I began writing the piece, I called it Reflecting Pool. I thought the title would symbolize the idea of seeing reflections of the present day in the images of the past, but I was never completely happy with it. One day when I was very close to finishing the piece, I drove to Little Rock to visit the school again. I walked from the street, toward the school, and down to the pool. Approaching its edge, I noticed the reflection of the building began to recede as the sky overtook the water. I realized that I should have been looking up, not down; that the endless expanse of the sky, instead of a small pool of water, is a far better symbol of the accomplishments of the Little Rock Nine. They continue to radiate outward to touch our lives today, and they will continue to touch the lives of the generations that follow us.

The details of the past, no matter how significant, can fade and be lost to time. Carlotta Walls Lanier, one of the Little Rock Nine who regularly speaks to young students about her experiences, wrote that she is often asked the question, “Why haven’t we heard more about this until now?” I hope The Surface of the Sky will inspire those who hear and perform it to learn more about the achievements of the Little Rock Nine and to discover more about the sacrifices made by all those who have fought against racism and injustice across the country. Learning more about our past will help us be kinder and more compassionate to those whose lives and struggles we do not yet understand. While hate and anger may make us feel strong, they do not actually make us strong. True strength lies in understanding and kindness, and it always will. – Blake Tyson

About the Music

Tyson writes,

Because it is inspired by the actions and achievements of the Little Rock Nine, I decided to use nine-note motives as the structural basis for the piece. There are nine, nine-note groupings that make up the introduction, representing the nine members of the group as a whole and as individuals. The second and fourth nine-note groupings are actually reflections (retrograde inversions) of the original grouping. The final two groupings overlap the beginning of the first main section of the piece as their melodic material becomes the basis for an ostinato that runs throughout.

The first main section, built over the ostinato, is what I call the “music of everyday life.” It is happy and calm but moving forward. This music is then caught up in an unexpected whirlwind. This transitions to the second large section of the piece, where these swirling figures will come up against a new, rising nine-note motive. This motive represents courage, bravery, and strength. Each time it rises to the eighth note, meets resistance, but never fails to push through. This is followed by an episode that juxtaposes feelings of happiness and assuredness with those of unease and trepidation. A nine-note rhythm in the bass marimba connects the phrases, first statically, then rising. The emotional content becomes calmer as the music transitions into the next section.

The third large section of the piece could be called a “Hymn of Reflection” or a “Hymn of Thanks.” It leads to a celebratory or joyous passage, the fourth main section of the piece. It revisits the rising figures of strength and finally a transitional passage that builds to a moment of silent suspense.

The coda of the piece is over a simple ostinato and pedal tone. There are once again nine, nine-note motives. There is a difference this time, though. The nine-note motive from the beginning has been transformed. Those nine notes are now in the shape of a motive that appears in many of my pieces. I describe it as “sliding-sixths” because it is built by combining intervals of a sixth moving by stepwise motion. But, the idea the sound represents to me is an indefinable combination of hope, friendship, love, and kindness. This motive is heard four times, each time answered by an echo (or reflection) of the original nine-note motive that began the piece. As the “sliding-sixths” motive appears for the final time, it hangs in the air for a moment. Then, in the final two measures, the harmonic pedal tone is finally resolved into a chord of warm light.

Blake Tyson, Composer and Percussionist

Blake Tyson is a professor of percussion in the Department of Music at the University of Central Arkansas.  An accomplished composer, he writes beautiful, emotionally powerful music that is immediately accessible yet possesses compositional depth. His works are performed around the world by professional artists as well as students of all levels. A skilled marimba player, his own performances have taken him to five continents and over thirty states. He holds a DMA from the Eastman School of Music, an MM from Kent State University, and a bachelor’s in music from the University of Alabama. As an educator, Tyson has the ability to relate to students of all ability levels in workshop settings.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Dr. Gayle Seymour at gayles@uca.edu or call 501-450-3295.