By Dez Webb
When I arrived at the Nasher Museum on a recent Thursday a man was standing in the great hall making eerie sounds. He wasn’t touching anything, just moving his hands near an instrument I’d never seen before. The instrument was a theremin and he was having fun with it. Watch it here.
Steve Burnett told the crowd he’s been playing the theremin for 12 years, but still feels as if he hasn’t mastered it yet. I disagree. The sound went from being eerie to relaxing as he went on. One boy in the crowd asked him if the theremin had notes like a regular instrument Steve told him yes. He said, “There is an A somewhere, a B somewhere, and a C somewhere in there…it’s just not easily located as it is on other instruments.”
Steve let other visitors take turns and gave them instructions on how to hold their hands, how far to stay back, when to keep still. A little girl was the first to volunteer. Then I played it without even knowing it at first because the theremin picks up the presence of nearby objects or people. It was picking me up but the sound wasn’t that great. My six years on the saxophone didn’t help.
If you can’t make it to the Nasher Museum for First Thursday events, you’re in luck. Every Thursday night is free, from 5 to 9 p.m.
Dez Webb is a rising senior at North Carolina Central University and a marketing intern at the Nasher Museum.
VIDEO: By Brittany Titus