Garden of Memory 2008

I had to the opportunity to attend the Garden of Memory, a walk-thru performance to celebrate the summer solstice at the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland.

The Chapel of the Chimes is a columbarium, a building dedicated to the placement of cremated remains. It is an exquisite building both in terms of shape and lighting, and thus a rather interesting place to experience late evening sunlight:

There were so many performances throughout the building that it was difficult to see them all, and we only provide a small sampling here.

Outside the chapel, I saw a performance by Jaroba that featured the gopichand, a single string instrument from India that we have mentioned on numerous occasions here at CatSynth.

Inside the chapel, performances ranged from more conventional to the more exotic. Sarah Cahill performed the music of James Tenney and others (yes, here at CatSynth James Tenney is considered “conventional”). Dan Plonsey’s Daniel Popsicle played several avant-guard jazz sets for most of the evening on the roof garden.

Edmund Campion, a former colleague of mine from CNMAT, performed with Daniel De Gruttola and John Campion, with digital piano, cello, live electronics, poetry, and a row of triangles. I was listening to hear how the triangles were being processed or used to trigger other sounds in the performance.

In the meditation chapel, Randy Porter performed a set of compositions that featured a 1940s portable electric organ, prepared guitar, and series of “brass instruments”, consisting of tubing and custom horns. The result was both musically and architecturally interesting, and seemed to “fit” into the space:

Custom instruments were in abundance, with these offerings from Walter Kitundu, including the “phonoharp” illustrated below:


[click to enlarge]

I am definitely curious to check out more of his instruments.

This installation by http://www.maggipayne.com/]Maggi Payne[/url] used one of the many fountains to control one of my favorite hardware synths, the E-MU Morpheus:


[click to enlarge]

I haven’t even plugged in the Morpheus since we moved into the new CatSynth HQ :(. Maybe this will provide some inspiration to do so.

More tubes, this time with both air and water. Krystina Bobrowski performs on special water glasses with electrical pickups, with Brenda Hutchinson (in the background) playing a large metal tube.

Brenda Hutchinson has also been involved in a project called dailybell2008, in which people observe every time the sun crosses the horizon and mark the event by ringing bells. The solstice sunset is a particular special crossing, and most everyone in attendance participated in bell ringing at 8:34 PM. Given the time and the location, it was also an occasion to remember those who have left us.

After sunset, darkness began to descend quickly and many of the chambers in the building, providing an appropriate end to the event.

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3 Responses to “Garden of Memory 2008”

  1. Kitty Says:

    Nice pics. Sounds like you had a good time there. Those custome-made instruments looks very interestings. Wonder how they sound.
    Happy Solstice – though a bit late. Sorry.

  2. Sarah Says:

    Ive personally heard the phonoharp, it sounds amazing and has a very “calm” sound

  3. CatSynth » Blog Archive » Garden of Memory 2009 Says:

    [...] more views of the Chapel of the Chimes itself, please visit the review from last year. It is full of light and a mixture of large and intimate spaces, and a really interesting place to [...]