You might not recognize Kelly Pratt’s name, but there’s a good chance you’ve heard his work. The Portland-based multi-instrumentalist has contributed to albums by Coldplay and Beirut, and spent the better part of the past year conducting Father John Misty’s live band. He also has the distinction of helping arrange some songs for the animated series Bob’s Burgers.
But Pratt’s greatest achievement may still be on the horizon. This Friday, Pratt will premiere a new work he wrote under his solo moniker Bright Moments in collaboration with the Camas High School Choir. The hour-long piece for rock band, horns, and voices veers through a number of different styles, incorporating doo-wop, Afrobeat, and metal.
“As a horn player, you’re typically not in a band as a band member and that’s your project; you do a lot of floating around,” Pratt says. “That leads you to working within different genres. And that’s how my solo projects have worked. This kind of takes it to the extreme.”
He couldn’t have found a more game group of kids to bring Bright Moments’ new piece to life. With the help of Young Audiences of Oregon and SW Washington, the Camas High School Choir and their director Ethan Chessin have worked with local musicians and composers, like AU’s Luke Wyland, with whom they brought forth a soaring performance at the 2016 TBA Festival. As part of the process, the choir has been getting a crash course in the music industry, working on everything from the visual presentation of their forthcoming gig at PICA, to writing a press release to promote it. It’s a rare opportunity for young artists to watch a piece of music get formed and fine-tuned from the demo stage all the way to performing it for an audience.
“No matter what the piece sounds like, they’re able to get their hands dirty with a new work,” Pratt says. “It’s a vibrant living thing that they get to premiere. That’s pretty special for a kid in high school.”