Last week one of our neighbors on nextdoor.com posted about the Summer Solstice concerts at Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland.. the Garden of Memory columbarium walk-through has been an annual event since the mid-late 1990s according to their website..
I spent some time researching Friday night what was involved, how I would get there.. trying to convince the spouse (he wasn't interested) and then finally purchasing my ticket online so I could "avoid the crush of people" that would be queued up to purchase tickets in person.. We're still in the midst of a drawn out moving in/moving out.. so there was the timing of how I could get there and from where.. It all worked out though.. I got there and I was just a little early.. which was nice because I got to experience how nice a soprano sax sounds echoing through the beautiful Julia Morgan gothic-inspired columbarium..
There were so many groups and individuals performing.. I definitely didn't see or hear everyone.. but I'm grateful for the experience. By going early I felt like I could take in the music and still experience the columbarium with some sense of reverence and appreciation of art and architectural detail. I kept in mind that a friend of mine had only recently experienced the interment of her grandmother. Then I found myself in the Chimes Chapel..
It's so beautiful..
and not knowing what I would walk in on.. I found myself sitting in on a performance of Left Coast Chamber Ensemble accompanied by actor Steven Anthony Jones performing "Reply to a Dead Man" (written by Laurie San Martin inspired by a short story by Walter Mosley) the rather jazzy, contemporary music with Jones' well-timed narration, drew me in. I only wish I had come earlier to catch the entire performance.
Although I wish I'd seen the entire performance, the event lends itself to wandering and taking in the various sounds, and musical genres.. whether it's experimental "bubble" music, feedback, water glasses, jazz, classical chamber, sitars, bells, or any number of sensory experiences.. I managed to experience several performers and I take a few photos with my cellphone.. and while not very good, can give you a general sense of what it was like.. some I posted here;
You can see the rest of my set including a couple very short videos HERE
If I manage to go again, (and I'd like to very much) I'll be sure and remember (along with a sweater and comfy shoes for my walk home) to bring the Nikon (wasn't sure I could bring a regular camera but you had lots of people taking images with digital cameras, iPads, and cel phones.) I would think as long as you don't take flash pictures it may be alright.. but checking ahead of time is always a good idea.) This is a place of rest and reverence for people and their departed loved ones.. I would think some consideration should be given before anyone goes shooting off photos or whatever..
As a little girl I witnessed skipping up to her mother exclaimed: "Look Mommy! More books!!" (this is where I kind of cringed) and her mom replied "Yes honey, more books.."