22nd Annual Summer Solstice Sunrise Celebration will take place at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 17 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue at 112th St., New York, NY.
This year’s Summer Solstice Celebration salutes double-reed master Paul McCandless, a charter member of the Paul Winter Consort who has also for the past 45 years been an integral part of the renowned quartet Oregon, the longest-running group in jazz. “Morning Sun,” the theme of this year’s Summer Solstice Celebration, is recapitulated in the title of the new Living Music album, Morning Sun: Adventures with Oboe – Paul McCandless with the Paul Winter Consort, a retrospective of McCandless’s great recordings with the Consort over the past half-century. This year’s Summer Solstice Celebration will also honor McCandless’s 70th birthday.
The Consort will include Paul Winter, soprano sax; Eugene Friesen, cello; Paul McCandless, oboe, English horn, and bass clarinet; Jeff Holmes, piano; and Tim Brumfield on the Cathedral's majestic Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ.
This one-of-a-kind sunrise concert by the Paul Winter Consort is a musical welcome to summer. The music begins in total darkness, with musicians surrounding the audience. Gradually, as the Cathedral’s great stained-glass windows slowly illuminate, the light joins the sounds to carry the listeners into the first dawning of the summer.
Paul Winter speaks of the uniqueness of this event:
"Summer Solstice is one of the great turning points of the year, when the sun is at its peak and the days abound with the promise of life's fullness," Winter says. "My dream, with this sunrise celebration, is to offer an experience of this resonance, in the mystical ambience of these early morning hours, through a deep listening journey within the vastness of the largest cathedral in the world."
Why 4:30 a.m.?
"When I'm awake in the darkness before dawn – as the birds begin to sing, and the Earth prepares for the Sun – I feel as if life is beginning again. There’s something magical about that virginal time, when we’re free of our habitual patterns and obligations.
My dream of evoking this feeling in music was the original inspiration for our Summer Solstice Celebration. We begin playing in total darkness at 4:30 a.m. within the awesome space and acoustics of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. We embark on a continuous, two-hour musical journey, with players stationed in distant corners or moving among the audience. Somewhere near the halfway point, listeners gradually realize that the Cathedral's great stained-glass windows are beginning to illuminate. Together, we and the audience share the experience of the journey from total darkness into the dawn of this longest day of the year, when our sun is at its zenith."
All are invited to a tea and coffee reception in the Nave of the Cathedral following the concert.