dailybell: Day 92 Garden of Memory Solstice

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Day 92 Garden of Memory Solstice

June 21, 2020. Sunset 8:35.
San Francisco, CA.

Our sunset observation this evening was part of the annual Garden of Memory Solstice event. Started by Sarah Cahill in 1995, the event ordinarily takes place from 5:00 – 9:00 in the extensive warren of rooms in Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland. It features 100’s of simultaneous performances for the audience to discover as they wander from room to room. It’s an extraordinary experience that many of us in the Bay Area look forward to every year. Because the event could not be presented on site at the Chapel of the Chimes this year, New Music Bay Area has put together some previously unseen video footage from Garden of Memory 2006 and 2008.

At home this evening, as usual, we dragged the big bell down to the sidewalk a few minutes before sunset. While waiting to begin ringing the bell, Sarah Cahill and I spoke on her radio show, Revolutions per Minute on 91.7 KALW to coordinate a (very) socially distanced communal observation of the sunset. While it’s not possible to recreate the exuberance and amazing sound of 100’s of bells ringing in close proximity, I hope that everyone who participated this evening was able to feel a connection—it was very powerful for me-- recalling past years while imagining so many disparate and distant places merging in time today.

From my end-- I heard Sarah’s radio broadcast playing through my phone on the hood of my car- so we could hear Willie Wynant performing Roscoe Mitchell’s Bell for New Orleans AND the delicate tingsha bell from the radio AND the big bell on the sidewalk AND my neighbors ringing the little bells from the street and a few windows AND I was imagining the bells spread across the Bay and all of us together for a moment.

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