Sunday, September 5, 2010

Whitewater Revisited

After a few days in Osage, a couple of days in Whitewater, and then a day of extreme apartment moving in Chicago, I finally returned to Whitewater with my sister Jennifer and her friend Courtney who have volunteered to be my musicians for the weekend here. Jennifer has spent 3 years as a teacher in the Brooklyn school system on a Brooklyn College Teaching Fellowship and is currently planing a move to Australia where she is a citizen by birth to pursue some lab assistantships and do some traveling before returning to the states to get a degree in physical therapy. She is also a gifted musician, a trait she cleverly did not pursue as a career, but has kept as a part of her life and personality none the less.

She and Courtney spent the day very patiently hiking, sitting, waiting, beating on drums, making noises with their voices, hitting various percussion instruments, and then doing it all over again a various locations until we found just the right spots. It turned out that the ridge atop the mountain opposite inspiration point that I was so proud of having found a few days before ended up yielding less than satisfactory results once I got atop inspiration point and heard it there. Though the sound came across crystal clear, it did very little to activate the reverberation in the valley below and unfortunately, we had to hike the drum back through the woods and down the hill to the parking lot and then to a better spot along trout run creek trail.

After deciding that the drums were too biased to the right when sitting at the point, I then had my sister hike all around the hill just to the left as you sit on the point to find the place where that part of the valley was most activated by the sound of the smaller drum.

Speaking of drums, I have two new drums with me now bought from my high school alma-mater in Bloomington, John F. Kennedy High. Each of these drums were in fact drums that were used in my tenure on the drumline there. Now one had been tuned lower and used as a taiko drum and then other was an extremely heavy relic from the early days and was replaced after my freshman year. Very heavy for a marching drum.

They sound amazing in the valley. It is not really the drum I am interested in, it is the valley. That is why I hiked one of the drums back down in to it. The point of this hike is not that there are drums in the park, it is that there is an amazing valley who's sonic properties need to be explored and drums alone really reveal that low end response. We spent about 6-7 hours perfecting things, and I wished we had another day to keep on tweaking, but with their patience and enthusiasm I think we have it!.

The first hike is tomorrow at 10. We need some rest.

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