Monday, July 12, 2010

July 12th 2010. Banning Prep Day 3

After a brief meeting with Randy Gordon and Staff yesterday, I tried and re-tried a few things along the path. There were some concerns over starting the trail near the boat landing as the parking lot tends to get rather full and though I thought I had found the magic spot to start the hike and do the meditation between there and the beginning of the loop, Randy suggested an alternate route which would start the hike near the picnic area a bit farther away from the river. To my surprise, on doing the hike two more times, once from each starting point, I was entirely wrong about the magic spot. In fact, there is no magic spot. I was entranced with a particular mix of bird activity, wind, and river noise. Today, I found that in fact, the birds seem of course do not stay stationary over the course of a day and especially not from day to day so the "sweet spot" in which all sounds will be well balanced enough to guide the audience through listening to all the sounds will change from hike to hike. But in general, I think Randy had the better idea regarding people finding the trail head. Park Ranger 1, composer 0! We will meet again Sir.

I also had a visit from my longest supporters as a composer, that is, my parents, this afternoon and they volunteered to be guinea pigs for the hike. It was great to try the hike with actual live people to get a chance to run through the meditation out loud as well as to practice dealing with chance encounters such as how to stay a reasonable distance from other hikers without seeming rude, and dealing with hikers who are, how to put this........mature in body.....through the park trails. I think I can confidently say that Banning's Quarrty Loop will definitely be a hike that most adults will be able to handle, even in advanced years.

In doing a few hikes, it has become clear that using musicians in any spot but the last part of the loop will be completely unnecessary as the first part of the loop, especially the south west section where the river becomes almost completely inaudible, requires subtle listening rather than any man made stimulation, to create a convincing musical arc. I did discover one surprise spot on the east side of the loop by the river where a clear picture of the river can be heard by bring the group slightly off trail. Between this and the power house/ stone crusher area, I think there will be plentiful opportunities for human interaction. After all, these are the structures where the workers toiled to shape the quarry area into what it is today by cutting out stones one block at a time for decades in the late 1800's which basically made the park what it is today and left us with such unique sonic features. But more on that later. For now, I am pooped and need to take some pictures yet this evening.

To take a closer look at what I am talking about, check out the PDF map of the park here

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