A science documentary with a musical score by two Mizzou alumni has proved to be a major hit with online viewers, this month passing one million views on YouTube.
Living Soil, a documentary funded by the national not-for-profit Soil Health Institute, features music written by Haley Myers, a pianist and composer who graduated from Mizzou in 2016 with degrees in music and geography, plus additional works for solo guitar by Tim Pilcher, a musician and sound designer who earned his degree in Spanish at Mizzou.
The film is something of a family affair, as it was directed and shot by MU School of Journalism alumnus Chelsea Wright, who is Myers’ older sister, and co-produced by Chelsea’s husband Josh Wright, also an MU Journalism grad. In addition, Rob Myers, who is NCR-SARE Regional Director of Extension Programs at Mizzou as well as Haley and Chelsea’s dad, served as a science advisor.
Adding to the local connection, parts of the film were shot in Columbia, including a scene in the soils lab at Mizzou’s Anheuser-Busch Natural Resources building and segments at nearby farms and the Columbia Farmers Market.
Released in November 2018, Living Soil is believed to be the most viewed video on soil health in the world, with a 97% “thumbs up” rating on YouTube.
Myers, who was a Sinquefield Scholar at Mizzou, currently lives in Columbia and works as a composer, performer, accompanist, and teacher. She released Etudes, her first album of original solo piano music, in 2019, and now is working on a follow-up release.
She also collaborated with former MU piano instructor Paola Savvidou on the book At the Piano with Yoga, writing a series of introductory piano pieces that can be combined with yoga exercises to help avoid repetitive stress injury.
Pilcher also resides in Columbia, working as a musician, producer, and sound artist across multiple disciplines including podcasting, film, theater, dance, and multimedia performance and installations.