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NVU Alum Creates Animation for VSO Online Program for Children

The Vermont Symphony Orchestra (VSO) has always taken part in in-school ensemble residencies. That is, until this unusual school year. 

Due to Covid-19, the VSO switched to online introductions to the musical families for students through its VT Symphony Kids program. As these are for kids, Elise Brunelle, Executive Director of the VSO, “believes very strongly that including kid-friendly elements into the online format is so important.” To do so, the programs were sited and recorded at kid-friendly places, like the Shelburne Museum and Vermont Teddy Bear Factory, for example. 

Brunelle also wanted to incorporate a short piece of animation to kick off the classes. And she decided to reach out to the Vermont State Colleges with an animation program to connect with a current student or recent alumni to do so.

“Since we’re talking to young people in the classes, let’s work with a young adult who does animation,” she said.

Brunelle reached out to Professor Barclay Tucker, who teaches in Northern Vermont University Lyndon’s Animation and Illustration program. Tucker connected her with 2019 graduate Kaio Scott, and the VSO Animation and Illustrationhired Scott to create a short introductory animation for the program.

Scott’s animation incorporates Vermont-based animals — a beaver, a moose, a turtle, a bear, and a mouse — playing instruments. The design also allows each animal to be used individually in another way in the future, something Brunelle is interested in exploring.

Scott, who worked in video editing shortly after graduation and has been involved in character commissions and small animatics most recently, said “it was extremely fun to get back into animation.”

Brunelle is committed to working alongside other arts organizations, and says it’s important “to give opportunities to young emerging artists.” Doing so means more legwork, of course, but “it’s important to connect outside of our easy scope” she said.