Sunday, November 11, 2012

In Response to Friday Night's Holy Fool

Friday evening I attended three wonderful art openings here in Duluth. Sandwiched between these events I was able to take in a very special collaborative event called holy fool at the Sacred Heart Music Center. Show notes describe it this way: 

"This show explores the intersection of stories / languages / materials and gesture. Wire, wood, pine pitch, horse hair, vellum, light, graphite, iron, thread, word, electrons and code, puncturing, tearing, creasing, stitching, scrawling, staining, illuminating... immersing in the infinite line... diving into the wreck."

The program began at 7:00 p.m. with a time set aside to explore the installations. The collaborators were Kathy McTavish, Sheila Packa, Cathy Podeszwa, Cecilia Ramon, Carla Stetson and Molly Tillotson. At 7:15 lights went dark and a bright light behind a screen illuminated McTavish seated on the stage, bow in hand, cello at the ready.

What follows are my own notes scribbled during this experience. 

holy fool

Kathy McTavish begins the trance sound, her cello grazing the arches and alcoves of Sacred Heart’s sanctuary. Then Sheila Packa, standing in the shadows at the podium, begins. “To the wind… Dear wind.” Kathy’s haunting undercurrent continues. “Crows rise in glossy coats… The wind, the water, the aurora borealis..." The streams of imagery flow.

They share the space, poetry and cello, words and music… until the words let go, and there is only…

I am reminded of Gorecki’s Third Symphony.
I am reminded of a thousand sorrows.
I am reminded of a tree.
I am reminded of a shift in the shadows of consciousness.
I am reminded of anguish and frustration and grief.
I am reminded of the perfection of beauty.

I am transported by roiling breakers to a far off place where memories are stirred, but there are no words. Is it a call? A howl?

It is something somewhere deep, something longing for resolution.

She plays like a blind person whose heightened senses reveal nuanced appreciation for the chords and discords delivered by her dexterous fingers, swaying at times under her own spell.

At times she is bowed down as if by the weight of it all, but much of the time she holds her head high, affirming her strength. The music levitates us, and we drift away.

The applause is loud, warm and extensive.


You can see / hear a brief excerpt of this performance at YouTube.

Holy fool was funded by the Jerome Foundation. This activity was also funded in part by the Minnesota State Arts Board through the arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota Legislature with money from the Legacy Amendment vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.

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