CAREER AT A CROSSROADS
These projects give Seidle’s inner “production nerd” a chance to indulge in a passion he came very close to choosing as a full-time career. Like many kids, he was into video games and movies, but he was particularly drawn to the music — he remembers being inspired by the 80s and early 90s computer demo-scene and learning .MOD and .S3M 4 and 8 track “tracking” software (an early version of a music sequencer combined with soft-synth instruments) with friends to create early chiptune and game soundtrack music. His interests took him through the Mount Royal College Conservatory’s Academy program (with the associated orchestral, fiddling, technique, theory and composition classes) during his Jr and Sr. High school years at Sir William Aberhart High school; then on to U of C for his undergrad, where he doubled in performance and composition.
When he graduated, he faced two options: he was accepted into the film scoring program at the University of Southern California, and into the masters’ program in performance at Northwestern University. The latter also offered a full fellowship. “It boiled down to economics,” says Seidle, who went on to graduate from Northwestern. “I never lost the draw that music production has for me and I always keep my hand in it, but that was a crossroads for me. I chose performance… but it just as easily could have gone the other way.”
He keeps those production skills sharp through his work as a composer, arranger, and producer. Over the past 20 years, Seidle has frequently collaborated with composer and music director Dave Pierce, including as Associate Music Director for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, which earned Pierce an Emmy.
Seidle doesn’t expect virtual performances to disappear anytime soon. They’re a great way for musicians to connect with people, especially right now when venues are closed, and to make music more accessible. On the downside, they’re very time intensive and expensive — and at this point, there is no good revenue stream to recover those costs. But he adds that online videos will never replace the live experience, where musicians come together onstage and perform side by side, listening to each other instead of a click track, following the lead of a live conductor instead of a video, and feeling the audience respond to the music in real time.
Despite keeping busy with virtual projects — and the occasional excursion in his restored 1972 VW van — what Seidle wants most is to get back onstage. “I miss it so much,” he says. “Especially our hall — the Jack Singer has world-class acoustics and it’s always been home. I grew up in Calgary and I’m so familiar with that hall, I’m so familiar with the musicians in this city, so to not be onstage — and to not be on that stage — is hard. It feels like you can’t go home.”
By Maureen McNamee