Sunday, September 5, 2010

Whitewater September 4th 2010, 1:00 PM

Again, an adult style hike. And again, a plane flew overhead right on cue which caused park naturalist Dave Palmquist who joined us for the hike to enquire if I called that plane in on purpose. Dave has bee such a great help in making this hike happen and I have learned quite a bit from his advice about how to run a hike in general and even learned a thing or two about how to run my listening hike so I was really glad to have him along to actually hear what we had been collaborating on for the past few months. Also on the hike was Jennifer from the park office and two couples, one camping in the park and one from St. Charles where my friend Laura at Hava Java is really talking up the hike to the whole town.

Planes were quite the common thread in this hike flying overhead and sometimes mixing with the wind and water below. At one point after the first bridge where we stopped to listen to the water features both to the right and left of us, a plane flew overhead as crickets on both sides made rising and disappearing drone sounds making a unique and beautiful three dimensional sonic mix. When we reached the turn around point, a plane flying overhead framed the sound of the wind and a creaking tree as well as birds chattering in the distance. Then, as we made the return trek and the sound of distant drums became more and more apparent, the sound of another over flying plane framed the steady crescendo of the drum as we walked closer and closer and almost at times disguised it as we rounded the corner into the main valley.

Though it is hard for me to gauge how the sounds in the valley fit together as the hikers sit at inspiration point (you cannot really hear the reverberations from the vantage point of the drums) I think they got an extra interesting improvisation and it seems we are starting to kind of "respond" to one another often slightly imitiating each others sounds from iteration to iterations giving the same sounds to activate different parts of the valley. This is especially interesting form me since I cannot hear the farthest drummer when I play and I know she can't hear me however, I think we are communicating in a way through the middle drummer who we can each imitate and who can imitate each of us.

In any case, the audience was very pleased with what they heard and I think that we finally hit the mark. Amazing what you can do with an amature french horn player and someone who has absolutely no background in music such as the two volunteers who are joining me on this leg of the song path. We are engaging in free improvisation in a giant valley.


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