FARMINGTON — Seventeen-year-old Alessandro Pane likes taking sounds people don’t like and trying to make them into a melody they would enjoy. He incorporated some unique sounds he produced and his own music, along with his own narrative, into a piece he wrote for The Beautiful Minds Challenge.
Pane, of Wilton, is a senior at Mt. Blue High School in Farmington. He won third place in the challenge, a competition at Marlboro College in Vermont. The $500 prize has already been spent on a laptop to make more music.
He will join 24 other finalists, college students and faculty at The Beautiful Minds Symposium at the college in April. They will share ideas and learn about creative process and problem-solving through group activities.
The challenge was to “take a road less traveled” and to make something that shares the participant’s journeys.
Pane created a digital, audio journey of sorts in multiple episodes titled “Three Roads Not Taken.” Though he knows he won’t take these roads, they will ultimately influence the path he eventually takes, he said.
The project informs people that he doesn’t plan to go to strictly a music conservatory, to take a gap year like in James Joyce’s “Dublin,” and he doesn’t plan to drop everything to become a neo-beat poet, he said.
He wants to go to a school or small college that allows him to experiment and collaborate on projects. A college such as Marlboro allows students to design the courses they want to take, he said.
He likes to collaborate and meet other people who are motivated in the same way he is, he said.
“I think because of where I am in my life … any notion of an ultimate goal is pretty vague,” he said. He does know that he would like to increase his understanding of the complexity of the world, he said.
His Beautiful Minds project “was all about reaching between music and literature,” he said.
The three episodes play with different ways that music interacts with text.
During his examination of the potential roads through the lens of travel literature, including “The Inferno,” “Ulysses,” and “On The Road,” his project took many forms, often integrating disparate disciplines to express a single idea, he said in his introduction of his work on Marlboro College’s website.
“In reflecting on this journey of creation, I have learned that I, too, must forge my own path: a road inspired by the others not taken,” he said.
Pane said music has always been a part of his life.
His father, Steven Pane, is a professor and music teacher at the University of Maine at Farmington. His mother, Lily Funahashi, teaches piano at Colby College in Waterville and performs regularly, he said.
Alessandro has been involved with several musical groups and has created projects with others. He started out playing the cello when he was younger and now plays the piano as well. He also sings and creates and produces music electronically on his computer.
He is in the midst of writing “The Beginner’s Guide to Eloping” for Mt. Blue High School, where it will be performed as the school’s biennial musical.
“I’m writing all the songs, scripts and instrumental music,“ he said. Casting has already been done and he is making sure the parts are right for each performer. He developed the story this past summer.