On July 3rd I had the amazing experience of playing 4 of my Name Music compositions solo on violin (with one duet with my niece Emily), for two outdoor memorial services for two uncles, and aunt, and a cousin, all of whom passed away during the pandemic.
It was a magical day in the Catskills of connections from the past strengthened, new connections forged, a new future envisioned. One service was in the middle of the day, held in a wooded glade above the pond my uncle Guido created, by the side of the house he designed. Three were gone from that family -- Gi's wife Liz, and their son Mike, had passed away as well as Guido. In The compositions "Guido" and "Liz" I was evoking their very different characters, and even the way Guido walked in his later years. Liz was full of a Russian folk passion, and featured the oodles of kindness and gentleness that was her hallmark. For Mike I wrote a funky vocal line and a pizzicato, imitation guitar line for the violin, and luckily my niece Emily joined me singing the vocal line. I was trying to evoke the light-heartedness that I remember in Mike from when he was a child.
The second service was at the end of the day, on a terrace patio beside the glowing Neversink River next to the wonderfully rustic cabin where my uncle Tony came to take in the glory of the setting sun playing on the trout stream, and the deep quietness of the woods. We partook of that grace also. I had written "Patoto" for him, as that was the nickname he was called by his grandchildren, and tried to express the love he had for music, family, the beauty of nature, and his generosity of spirit.
The quality of focused attention, the acoustics and intimacy of the outdoors, the community of relatives all connected to this Catskills place -- all conspired to give the experience of creating and listening to the music that extra special meaning and significance that is the wave of magic emerging from within us into the world. Long moments of beauty, the inhale and exhale of connection between worlds.
And also for me personally, the incredible magic and affirmation of being seen, heard, and understood by so many close relatives who had never heard me play, perhaps never even heard any of these Name Music pieces I've been creating. This was so lovely to experience -- it came close to a recurring dream I've had where the role I had in my village community involved going each morning to a wooded glade situated above my village and play improvised/created on the spot music on my violin/harp instrument in order to tune the events of the day and the people of the village.
My deep thanks to everyone for this opportunity to share my music at the memorial services!