• Last modified 1019 days ago (Aug. 11, 2021)


Samples of sounds become a piece of music

Staff writer

A dozen people have signed on as guinea pigs in a community effort to turn the county’s sounds into song.

Residents who sampled tea and scones Saturday helped Flint Hills Counterpoint kick off its Sound Tasting tour.

Director Susan Mayo, a cellist and composer, is a faculty member at Friends University in Wichita and music director for Symphony in the Flint Hills fall event called Woodfest.

As a lifelong musician, she is “intrigued by sounds of all kinds.”

“Listening deeply and being aware of the sounds around you just improves the quality of your life,” she said. “It’s a good thing to do.”

A soundscape is a collection of sounds that make up an environment, she said.

“Car horns, cicadas, the wind, and passing trains are all included in the soundscape,” Mayo said.

Mayo will collect sounds gathered by volunteers and use them to compose a piece using those samples.

She played a sample at the tour Saturday that featured goats and crows from her farm.

The audience chuckled as she paused her talk for a passing train.

The group kicked off sound sampling with a car caravan to Faie Frederickson’s prairie walk to enjoy a summer night in the prairie.

Winter and spring sound tasting events are planned for January and April next year.

In the meantime, volunteers who want to help Mayo’s musical adventure are asked to make a 10-second video of sounds unique to the county and email it to

“There are no rules,” she said in the tour group’s flier. “If you have a sound you love, send it. If you are not sure your sound will work send it.”

Last modified Aug. 11, 2021