Wednesday, August 11, 2010


This and the next few posts are ones that I wrote on paper during my stay at Whitewater state park but didn't have web access/time before I left on a two week trip to Beijing where I discovered, not surprisingly, that my blog site was blocked by the government filters there. I have now been back in town a few days and have been catching up on some organization and getting ready for the first performance dates at Banning State Park which begin this Thursday the 12th.


July 18th 2010: World Listening Day

Today is World Listening Day as declared by the International Society for Acoustic Ecology: an international organization devoted to listening and to preserving and documenting man-made and natural sound environments around the world.

So, since I recently became a member at the encouragement of members who I know and found out about Song Path, I decided I would use this opportunity to participate by bringing some friends of mine and fellow WLP members who lived in the area on a sound hike of Whitewater. We set out in the morning and were accompanied by a group of enthusiasts including Poet James Armstrong, MPR's Marc Sanchez who brought along some recording gear, Videographer and film maker Jason Schumacher, Hans and Nina, and my lovely wife Shannon who surprised the three of us in the middle of our rendition of Johny Cash's "Jasckson" last night at Nye's driving all the way from Chicago to do so! That's dedication.

Though there were some difficulties finding each other at Whitewater and we were running quite late, we finally all set out on a hike in the afternoon shot by Jason and Recorded by Marc. It was my first hike with a large group and though I was a bit nearvous, they were a captive audience and surprised me by at times stopping in places I did not intend to and sometimes lingering longer than I was inclined to. If every group is that into what they are hearing, I will be quite pleased.

After a very interesting hike, Shannon, Hans-Georg, and Nina left and made some noises in the park itself while Marc, James, Jason, and I listened from Inspiration Point. It was an incredible experience to sit and listen to different parts of the valley come together as the sun went down. I also noticed that the wildlife in the park seemed to respond to the man made sounds and once they stopped, we had an sort of "coda" performed by the local wildlife. I hope they weren't noises of displeasure, but as the naturalists seems to think we are not disturbing things too much, I think they are most likely just natural responses to stimulus. I have also noticed that the sun, rain, wind, and mere presence of human beings does seem to influence the amount and type of sound the animals make. I really think the heightened awareness of the space the instruments will bring to audience member is worth the metaphorical disruption the sounds bring. I also found that fellow hikers started to join in at certain moments. It almost made us feel like we all belonged there.

Later, we did a brief interview to use to accent the video document and perhaps to become an audio segment on Minnesota Public Radio and got a great recording of some hawks either mating or fighting. Whatever it was, it was spectacular.

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