Skip LaPlante, Ridgewood Artist
Apr 27, 2016 | 16264 views | 0 0 comments | 750 750 recommendations | email to a friend | print
They may be common items for everyday people, but for Ridgewood artist Skip LaPlante they’re musical instruments.

LaPlante, a composer originally from the suburbs of Boston, takes items like forks, bed springs, bicycle gears, broken lobster traps, belt buckles and old house keys, turns them into 130 chimes, a full orchestra.

“I specialize in working with unusual instruments, mostly with stuff that I build out of recycled, repurposed stuff,” LaPlante said.

LaPlante will give a free performance, “A Symphony of Chimes,” at Flushing Town Hall on Sunday, May 1 at 2 p.m.

Out of college, LaPlante lived on a rental farm in New Jersey. Lots of young people moved in and out with high turnover, LaPlante said, so they always left small items like forks that they didn’t find important.

“Nobody else wants it, so if I break it or do something else to it, nobody cares,” he said.

LaPlante wrote a grant to an organization called Exploring the Metropolis, which focuses on connecting performing artists and cultural facilities with underused space.

“My grant said I use these chimes, so let’s get them up and write something spectacular for these things,” he said.

The Ridgewood artist said a big challenge with playing with these types of chimes is that they’re non-standard instruments. Some produce just dull clicks, while others combine pitches together.

“You have to throw out the notion that you’re going to be able to organize with pitch,” LaPlante said. “You also have to throw out the notion you’re going to organize exactly how these things are going to behave in time because once you start them, they’re just going to ring.

“You know where you start, but you never know when you can stop,” he added.

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