Visual and Performing Arts Goes Green with Digital Programs


Tiffany Wu

The digital program features a gorgeous, full-colored image of Saint Basil’s Cathedral located in Moscow, a popular symbol of Russia, corresponding to the “Russian Winter” theme. Multiple images pertaining to the program’s content were placed throughout, such as photos of sponsors of the Portola High Music Boosters and the many instruments played at the concert.

Annie Qiao and Tiffany Wu

Between performances at the Winter Concert on Jan. 31, the faint blue glow of cellular devices joined blazing stage lights, illuminating faces of parents and students reading the newly-digitized concert program.  

In an attempt to go green and embrace technology, music directors Desmond Stevens and Kyle Traska designed a digital interactive program through the application Adobe Spark to replace the traditional paper handouts, setting specially placed links that corresponded with information being discussed on stage. Before the concert and during intermission, a lowered screen displayed a QR code that audience members could scan that would take them to the digital program.

“We’re hoping to embrace technology a little bit,” Stevens said. “Everyone already has their phone at the concert anyway, so why not use it for the greater good rather than let them play ‘Clash of Clans’ during the concert?”

Most worries revolved around audience members mistaking the digital pamphlet as an encouragement to stay on their phones during the concert. To offset these concerns, the pamphlet was specifically designed for use during intermission, between pieces and before performances.

While the online website often led to inconvenient scrolling, as opposed to a more easily accessible paper program, it was ultimately a step in the right direction in a rapidly digitizing world and was one of the first attempts at bridging the two fields of technology and music on campus.

“I think it embraces everything that we’re trying to do here at Portola; we have the infrastructure, we have the network to be able to support online uses of everything,” Stevens said. “And I think it reaches across to a lot of the other things we’re doing, like the digital portfolio. I think it makes it all feel like it’s all in one rather than having to hold onto a hard copy of something and the digital copy of other things.”