Tuesday, April 24, 2018

St. Louis: Symphony Chaco

Symphony Chaco, UMSL, St. Louis, Missouri. April 2018.

The University of Missouri - St. Louis (UMSL) hosted the premiere of an original symphony: Symphony Chaco, composed by Gary Gackstatter.

Symphony Chaco, UMSL, St. Louis, Missouri. April 2018.

One hundred choir members (led by Jim Henry) + 100 orchestra members + Native flutist, R. Carlos Nakai + iconic road-trip memoirist, William Least Heat Moon +  writer,  Debora Taffa.

Symphony Chaco, UMSL, St. Louis, Missouri. April 2018.

When you've got 200 living creatures doing something together, in sync, then you've got power in the air.

In addition to instruments, singing voices, and narrative voices, a slide show in a giant overhead screen opened a virtual window onto Chaco Canyon and, at times, animated paint images, which  synchronized with the auditory performance.

The symphony fit well into my limited attention span for such things, which was an added bonus to my experience of it. It lasted about an hour. 

I've been very close several times to going to Chaco Canyon, but it's not worked out so far. Maybe in the future. When I think of Chaco Canyon, I think of a place not far from there, Bisti Wilderness. Which I visited once, but hanker to again, and stay awhile.

Bisti Wilderness, Navajo Nation, New Mexico. May 2013.

The symphony began with Creation and ended with the leaving of Chaco Canyon by its inhabitants, climaxed by the shattering of pottery:

"Breaking pottery is an act of purification and offering, a prayer of release to the afterlife." 
Program note from Symphony Chaco: A Journey of the Spirit

This took me back to two final days in my rooted home: 

Just Stuff. I got a little teary-eyed re-reading this just now.

Mazel Tov! A reader took me to task for what I did. I have no spiritual regret for my action. It felt fitting. I do confess to a bit of a cringe at the materialistic loss.

With last night's Symphony Chaco, it seems I was just carrying on an ancient tradition.           

No comments: