In the relative cool of the evening on October 6th, Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens, in the historical district on Adams Boulevard, was lit up for the Prana Concert Series like a grand lady trotting out in her best attire. There were multiple rows of chairs in the large foyer for the audience, and at the other end, circled around the grand piano, were the seats for the musicians. I observed many familiar faces among the attendees, as well as a number of new faces. All seemed ready for a few “Gasp!” moments.
Cheri Jamison, the MC and co-coordinator of the Music Series, began the event with a welcome, a short prayer, and an introduction of each musician participating. Then she announced that all of the music to be presented would be played intuitively and ‘extempore,’ meaning a completely improvised program, with no intermission.
The musicians blended together, collaborating as a single unit, beginning with “Beloved Lord,” Marjorie Eaton taking the lead on her celtic harp. Each piece was designed to activate and balance a particular chakra (psychic centers in the body), evoking the color spectrum and the audible spectrum for that chakra (each one having its own hue and key note).
Pianist Merrill Collins Chausseblanche gave flow and continuity, while Heather Williamson on Indian Tabla (Hindu hand drums) provided a rhythm that was both gentle and strong. Percussionist Forrest Robinson brought in cymbals, bells, chimes and other instruments, which he used artfully and with care and consideration.
There was such an attunement among the musicians, shifting rhythms, changing keys, modulating phrases while listening intently to what was coming next.
With each successive piece, the room became brighter and more filled with something . . . Invisible yet very present — telling an ancient, interior story. I noticed that as the music progressed, I, among many others, found it hard to remain in contact with this world; we were lifted, gently and with great loving, by the ensemble instruments as well as by each individual note. Many images came to mind, with crescendos reaching into bliss and redemption and resolution.
Michael Fitzpatrick played his cello with such joy; and Laura Halladay’s flute offerings were a perfect pairing to Alethea Lamb’s clarinet. Weaving a carpet of Light and Sound, currents danced among each other, the entire concert finding its way throughout the mansion like subtle paths of light.
The Prana Concert Series, largely spearheaded by Alethea Lamb and Cheri Jamison, with cooperation from nearly everyone who lives at the Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens, is a wonderful cultural surprise, beautifully planned, carefully executed, memorable in every respect. A heartfelt thank you goes out to our generous underwriters for this event.
The next concert is planned for early spring 2013. Stay tuned!