bridge sings

bridge sings | tuba with stereo playback | 9′ | 2021
commissioned | Dr. Paul Carlson
premiered | Dr. Paul Carlson @ Free Play 46, Allendale MI
recording | Nate Bliton

bridge sings exploits the sound material of the Mackinac “Big Mac” Bridge that connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan. The bridge’s history is stored in the metal grates that make up the inner traffic lanes, where drivers can hear several iterations of repairs through the plating’s inconsistent pitches. The sound material in the tape is an amalgamation of these traffic sounds and the environments around and under the bridge. The metal elements in the recording are temporally unaltered, thus capturinging the experience of anyone driving over the bridge in November 2018. In a sense, the weathering and repair of the bridge determined the structure of the piece.

The Mackinac Bridge and its transit authority were recently thrust into the national spotlight due to the aging oil pipeline, Line 5, that runs alongside the bridge underwater. It was discovered that the pipeline’s condition will degrade more quickly than thought; that the construction’s integrity has been severely threatened by the eroding lake bed and dropped anchors; and that a leak would catastrophically damage the shorelines of the Straits of Mackinac, covering more than half of Lake Huron in oil. In an effort to slow the installation of a new pipeline, Enbridge convinced the outgoing Michigan Governor’s Office that the company needed ten years to develop a drilled pipeline under the straits, thus ensuring another decade of use for Line 5 without further government action.

Special thanks to: commissioner and past teacher Paul Carlson for his commitment to me and this project, to the fearless folks at the Mackinac Bridge Authority for humoring my strange requests, and to my trusted chauffeur John Jansen for his steady foot and pleasant company.

Additional Performances:

Paul Carlson @ the 2022 Midewst Regional Tuba & Euphonium Conference, Lexington KY
Paul Carlson @ the 2022 Leonard Falcone Adjudicators Recital, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, MI

All solo, chamber, and large ensemble works have score, parts, & relevant media available for purchase. Please contact me at with inquiries. I’m happy to get my music in your hands!