The “news of the day,” on all fronts, gives me pause, as I contemplate the music for our upcoming Summer Solstice Celebration, this Saturday morning. At a time when an ill wind is blowing across our country, I ponder what this solstice milestone can mean. I wonder how each of us might negotiate this gauntlet of anger which may lie ahead, without getting subsumed by it ourselves.
The message of the solstices – both summer and winter – is that the light will prevail over the darkness. But from ancient times, people have known they must renew themselves, and gird their spirit, with a physical experience of this passage. The Ancients gathered at Stonehenge; we have the privilege of gathering in the great Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
My idea for the sequence of our Summer Solstice event takes inspiration from a little ritual I do each morning near my home. There’s a brooklet, through the woods, that I come to on my walk. I stand on the bank there, and close my eyes, and just listen. The sounds of the water carry me instantly into a new realm; this realm of the ear. My cortical meanderings simply vanish, and my whole being seems to relax. Soon I can feel my breathing deepen, and before long I find I’m smiling … for no reason at all. It’s as if a sun has risen in my heart.
This is the deep listening journey we want to offer people in our early morning solstice adventure. A great writer, James Carroll, has put into words what we aspire to evoke with our music, quoted below.
– Sweet Summer Solstice Balances Life’s Bitterness –
Copyright 2006 Globe Newspaper Company (excerpted)
“This is the week toward which the year has been straining. The fullness of light transforms awareness. Each day prolongs itself. Time is reinvented, as the present tense comes into its culmination. Approaching next week’s summer solstice, Earth seems to slow in its turning. The sun loiters. Evening slides luxuriously into night, which reliably cuts itself short with dawn. All of nature tugs at human consciousness to say: Notice this.
“And when has astronomy ever done more for the lifting of the spirit? The suspended moments of time’s zenith are sacraments of life’s goodness. Haste, duty, and the hassles of work have no admittance here. In the coming week, you will remember with love all those with whom you have found your ease in such suspension — companions of summer. And in recalling such release, you will look for more. Ironically, this is how you deepen your feeling of responsibility for the world. It is the one thing you have learned: to be at peace is the way to prepare to work for peace.
“There is no coping with the heartbreak of the human condition without a nurtured sense of the heart when it is full. It is the business of the summer solstice, through the weave of memory and desire, to nurture that plenitude. That is why, on each day of its approach, you will note the rampant timelessness of evening. In the morning, you will let your eyes drift from the wartime news to the red-breasted bird on the window ledge, to join in its watching.”
SUMMER SOLSTICE CELEBRATION
June 17 @ 4:30 am
Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City
Saturday, June 17, 2017 ⁕ 4:30am
Cathedral of St. John the Divine ⁕ 1047 Amsterdam at 112th St, Manhattan
$50 Preferred General Admission ⁕ $40 General Admission
solsticeconcert.com or 866 811 4111
The concert will be followed by a free tea and coffee reception in the nave of the Cathedral, to which all are invited.
FREE DOWNLOAD TRACKS FROM THE NEW “MORNING SUN” ALBUM
1. “Morning Sun”
2. “All the Mornings Bring”
3. “On the Steppes of Central Asia”
Keetu and “Dad” at the Dead Sea
Our Saturday morning Summer Solstice Celebration is a prelude to Father’s Day, Sunday June 18.
Bring your Dad for a memorable bonding experience.
Paul Winter, soprano sax
Paul McCandless, oboe
Paul McCandless was the original double-reed player in the Paul Winter Consort from 1968 to 1972. He is a founding member of the acclaimed quartet Oregon, with whom he has played for the past 40 years. He has also performed with Wynton Marsalis, Pat Metheny, Steve Reich, the String Cheese Incident, and the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow. His collaboration with Béla Fleck yielded the 1996 GRAMMY for Best Pop Instrumental.
Eugene Friesen, cello
Eugene Friesen has been the cellist with the Paul Winter Consort since 1979 and been part of over 30 Living Music albums. His solo albums are New Friend and Arms Around You. He has also worked and recorded with such diverse artists as Dave Brubeck, Toots Thielemans, Betty Buckley, Will Ackerman, Joe Lovano and Dream Theater. He is a member of Trio Globo with Glen Velez and Howard Levy, and is on the faculty of the Berklee College of Music.
Jeff Holmes, piano
Jeff is a music force of nature yet to be discovered by the broader world. He is a master of the jazz arts, as virtuoso keyboardist and trumpeter, as composer and arranger, bandleader and educator. Graduate of Eastman School of Music, he is currently Professor of Music and Director of Jazz & African-American Music Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Featured on the Jazz at Kennedy Center Series with the Billy Taylor Trio, Holmes has performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Sammy Davis Jr., Louis Bellson, Vanguard Orchestra (Thad Jones/Mel Lewis), Sheila Jordan, Henry Mancini, Johnny Mathis, Mel Torme, David Goloschokin, John Abercrombie, and Slide Hampton.
Tim Brumfield, organ
Tim is considered one of the world’s finest organ improvisers, tours regularly as a solo organist and pianist, and is often asked to lecture on the art of improvisation. He has performed throughout the US and Europe, including famed cathedrals such as France’s Notre Dame Cathedral and England’s Salisbury and St. Paul’s Cathedrals. He recently received the distinguished award of Honorary Fellow from the National College of Music, London. And he currently serves as Director of Music Ministry, Organist and Choirmaster at St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church, Boca Raton, Florida.
Florida Singing Sons, choir
Florida Singing Sons was founded in Fort Lauderdale in 1975. The choir consists of boys, ages eight through eighteen, who audition from throughout Broward County. Boys who are accepted into the program are rigorously prepared through a multi-level music education program for participation in one of the four choirs: Training Choir, Residence Choir, Concert Choir, and 2nd Generation Singers (changed voices).
Florida Singing Sons performs a wide variety of choral literature, from classical masterworks to Broadway favorites. Concerts include secular and sacred choral classics as well as selections from opera, operetta, folk music, and musical theater.
The upper-level choir tours nationally and internationally in alternating years where they perform in notable concert halls and churches.
For living music,