Pioneer Valley Soundscapes - Five College project explores connection between sound and place

Pioneer Valley Soundscapes is a project that explores the connection between sound and place by documenting the musical communities and acoustic terrain of the Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts.

The films, recordings, and images are produced by students at Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst through semester-long collaborations with local musicians and partnerships with area communities.

Expanding Silence: The Rise and Fall of the Estey Organ Company

A Taste of Music in the Pioneer Valley's Puerto Rican Community

To anyone unfamiliar with the Pioneer Valley (and this includes many college students here), it might seem out of place that Puerto Rican folk music could thrive in the area. But it does, and the large Puerto Rican populations spanning from Hartford to Holyoke support many local musicians playing traditional melodies. Victor Rios, shown in our documentary below, made his living for years playing Puerto Rican music as a full-time musician in the Valley.

trs: Brainstorming soundscapes in the Pioneer Valley

Submitted by Thomas R. Sibley on Monday, 9/14/2009, at 7:55 AM
  1. Amherst Coffee — "Every Thursday evening Amherst Coffee plays host to local jazz group the Liberated Territory Collective."  What makes this venue interesting is the very small size of the space and the volume of the music.  It is not your normal, in-the-background coffee shop jazz performance.  It dominates the space, forcing patrons who wish to talk to lean in closer to one another.
  2. Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School

Close to Home

By Katherine Duke ’05

One of the many reasons I chose to attend Amherst College was that it was far away. Or, far enough away.  My parents could do the three-hour drive fairly easily when I wanted them to—but only when I wanted them to. The other serious contender, Vassar, was only an hour from my hometown. I cringed when I realized it got the same radio stations. I have nothing against my family or my high school, but I wanted my college experience to feel separate from them. So Amherst it was.

Amherst College and Surrounding Area