Friday, August 8, 2008

Words about Psalms without Words

I've been teaching this week at Ghost Ranch, a Presbyterian conference center in the high desert of northern New Mexico. After playing a handful of the tunes on the second evening, a new friend named Pat shared a poem that she wrote during the performance.

It's all the more significant in that "Haunted Landscape" is a tune that I wrote here on the ranch in 2006, as I was decompressing from a silent retreat at the Monastery of Christ in the Desert. I think she nails what was in the air that evening. Thanks, Pat!

Haunted Landscape

They follow us here
yesterday’s painful argument
last week’s discouragement
arthritic knees and swollen joints.
But they will not have the last word.

In the music of the Psalm
we gather courage to face them,
rant and rail against them,
forgive them and release them.

Haunted child, you follow me like a ghost.
You have collected my tears in a bottle.
In the lamenting chords
I feel your power spilling out
as I embrace you in the dance.

-Pat Slentz
Ghost Ranch 8-5-08

Monday, August 4, 2008

Ah, it's sweet...

Yesterday's concert went well at the Scranton Jazz Festival - we played the music well, the crowd appreciated it, and all in all, a good show. The set list, as previously reported, was as follows:
  • Pass the Plate
  • Haunted Landscape
  • How Good It Is
  • The Lingering Questions
  • Inheriting a Parable
  • The Last Word
  • Bill's New Song
  • Everybody Dance
We should get a really nice DVD from the performance. Everybody played extremely well - and trumpeter/French hornist Jeff Stockham was particularly on fire!

Here's a glimpse of the stage during a piano solo, courtesy of Dennis Chapdelaine, a friend from (gasp!) kindergarten days.