Over the past few weeks, my fiance has been singing with fellow TBA-ers in preparation for the opening night performance on the steps of Pioneer Courthouse Square.
Despite pressing her for hints as to what is in store, Rinde Eckert’s piece remains just as enigmatic in my mind as before she began. Our apartment has been filled with a steady stream of improvised bird-call whistles and verses in rounds about cheap wine. We have a growing pile of books that have been dog-eared from the flapping sound of bird wings. Apart from these snippets, I am not sure what to expect this Thursday evening.
Throughout his catalog of work, Eckert has returned again and again to focus on profoundly isolated characters. Stories of solo mariners, paranoid prisoners and men losing their faith. It will be interesting to see how he translates his themes of power, obsession, spirituality and long, Quixotic quests into the collective song of migratory birds. What will he read into the awesome and overwhelming spectacle of flight, the multiple bodies uniting in the movement of the flock?
What I have managed to glean from my fiance’s rehearsals have been revealing about how Eckert will handle the challenges of organizing a group in song. Proximity, sustained collective notes, voices diverging and returning to unison. In their rehearsals, the singers have worked through exercises that experiment and play with group dynamics and their vocal interactions. The result should be unique, and perhaps an apt opening act to a festival that draws so many diverse artists together in an attempt to discover where and how their work’s converge.
Come out and listen as some of your local artist’s form a flock.
There may not be a parade at this years opening, but there will be a migration.
Rinde Eckert On the Great Migration of Excellent Birds will premier Thursday night, September 6th on the steps of Pioneer Courthouse Square. Maybe there will be pigeons.
posted by patrick l.