Senior Ty Nanos stares at the mass of people in the Kauffman Center. She’s impressed with the turnout — half of the seats are filled in Helzberg Hall. She spent a whole month, almost seven hours a day, composing, practicing and arranging songs with 25 other musicians for this. The opportunity to perform their original pieces in front of her biggest audience yet via the Grammy Museum’s Music Revolution Project.
Experiences like this are what Nanos works towards. Her hard work in music has gotten her opportunities like the Grammy Project and composing for the spring play this year.
Before the performance, the Sprint Center buzzed with activity. Offices were filled with musicians from around the city. They worked in rotating groups together and received assignments like changing a pre-existing song or writing one from scratch in rotating groups.
Because of her involvement in the Grammy Project, Jonathan Lane, Nanos’ orchestra teacher, recommended her to drama teacher Tom Defeo to compose all of the music that will be featured in the spring play. Lane said he suggested Nanos based on her involvement in the Grammy Project and knowledge about technology and composition.
The spring play, “Eurydice”, is a tragic love story between Orpheus and Eurydice, who dies and is sent to the underworld. Orpheus can bring her back to the real world as long as he doesn’t check to make sure she’s following him, but he ends up looking. To fit this, Nanos writes short lines of music. Her songs also hint at classical and rock genres.
“Defeo wants there to be a lot of atonal stuff [not in a particular key] to tie in with the eeriness of Greek mythology,” Nanos said.
With school, her two jobs, composing the music for “Eurydice,” writing a book and extracurricular activities occupying her every waking moment, Nanos has little to no free time; not even the weekend offers relief. Nanos spends most of her Saturdays and Sundays working at the local Peachwave or Mission Square Retirement Community.
“It’s actually hard to make time to make music these days,” Nanos said. “I try to at least pick something up and practice but my production comes and goes depending on how hard my schedule is.”
After graduation Nanos plans to take a gap year and apply to music colleges. She said that the decision to take a year off from school was an easy one.
“I was really stressed out about school and what I was going to do and where I was going to go and how was I going to find the time to apply [to colleges] and as soon as I took a step back I realized ‘I don’t have to do this right now. I can take a year and then come back to this,’ my body relaxed,” Nanos said. “Everything seemed to make sense after that. It was more of a relief than anything.”
During her gap year she’ll move to Austin, Texas and continue to work on her book and her record. Nanos’ parents were supportive of her decision to take a gap year. Her father, an audio engineer, has connections to people in Austin. The gap year is mostly for Nanos to see how she does on her own and move towards becoming a film and video game composer.
Nanos’ experiences with the Grammy Project and “Eurydice” have prepared her for Austin and life on her own.