C of I cellists create ‘Music from the Fringe’

This summer, ten musicians and composers descended upon The College of Idaho campus to take part in Music from the Fringe 2. Set up by Langroise Trio cellist Sam Smith and his wife Nancy, Music from the Fringe combined a remote-viewing experience to produce a brand-new musical work that will premiere when the Boise Cello Collective takes the stage at 7 p.m. Nov. 6 in Jewett Auditorium.

“We’re probably the only people on the planet that use remote viewing for music,” Nancy Smith said.

According to the International Remote Viewing Association (IRVA), “remote viewing is a mental faculty that allows a perceiver (a "viewer") to describe or give details about a target that is inaccessible to normal senses due to distance, time, or shielding. For example, a viewer might be asked to describe a location on the other side of the world, which he or she has never visited; or a viewer might describe an event that happened long ago; or describe an object sealed in a container or locked in a room; or perhaps even describe a person or an activity; all without being told anything about the target—not even its name or designation.”

Using IRVA remote-viewing protocol, the group of musicians gathered together in a room on the second floor of the Langroise Center for the Performing Arts to remotely view a target.

“This is our coordinate,” Nancy Smith said on the first night of project, as she held up a manila folder with the number 860635 written on it in black marker.

Not knowing what was in the folder, the participants went into a dim, quiet room in to get into a meditative spot to view the target. They sat down on inflatable mattresses and some slipped on a sleeping mask as they laid back and fell from conscious reality.

After coming out of meditation, the viewers wrote down the impressions, feelings, smells or visions they received while trying to get in touch with the target. The cellists then had about an hour to write a new song based off their notes.

Once their song was written, each cellist presented the music to one of three composers who recorded it. Once all the songs were recorded, the composers combined all them into a final work. The process was repeated the next day while viewing a different target. In the end, two new songs were produced and recorded.

“It was remarkable how much matched,” Nancy Smith about the notes each musician wrote down. “And as they were giving their sound snippets [to the composers], they were in the same key signature.”

The targets hidden in the folder ended up being two Robert Frost poems with matching photos. One was “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” and the other was “Nothing Gold Can Stay.”

“A poem and a picture ends up being a really strong target,” Sam Smith said.

“There is an emotional pull to it,” Nancy Smith said.

After performing Fringe 1 last year, and having some of the same members return to do Fringe 2, the event was even more successful as some participants already had remote viewing experience under their belts, Sam Smith said. And the collaborative effort between everyone helped the process go off without a hitch.

“There were a lot of pieces that needed to be available and present to plug in there to make it flow like it did,” Sam Smith said. “So I feel very fortunate that we had everybody available and really into the project.”

The College of Idaho has a 125-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom.  For more information, visit