Below is Paul Winter's invitation letter for the Sunrise Solstice Concert this coming Saturday morning. 350NYC folks attend free! Please see end of letter for instructions on guest entry to event.
We need volunteers to help run our table after the concert during the reception from 6:30 - 7:30am. If you can lend a hand please email us at [masked]. Thanks!
Dear 350NYC Members:
350.org will be a presence at a unique musical celebration on the morning of Saturday June 22 winning Paul Winter Consort is presenting its annual Summer Solstice Celebration in New York’s most extraordinary acoustic space, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. The event takes place from 4.30am to 6.30am, to welcome the first sunrise of summer, and usher in the longest day of the year. Paul Winter has invited all New York 350 members to attend free of charge.
What you will hear:
Beginning in the pre-dawn darkness, the musicians will create an evolving tapestry of sounds, interweaving the melodic instruments of the Consort with a galaxy of percussion encircling the audience, including nine bass Balinese gamelan gongs and large drums from various cultures, as well as the Cathedral’s great Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ,
along with the beguiling low voices of African elephants, who will be this year’s guest vocalists. All of this will be in living surround sound, within the amazing acoustics of this largest cathedral in the world.
Led by Paul Winter on soprano saxophone, the musicians of the Consort include Eugene Friesen, cello; John Clark, French horn; Marcus Rojas, tuba; Tim Brumfield, organ; along with four percussionists.
Why the Solstice Celebration?
The two great celestial milestones of the year, the summer and winter solstices, are perhaps humanity’s most ancient ritual observances. People paused at these times to reflect upon the journey of life, with its trials, blessings, hopes, and promise. The Paul Winter Consort has been presenting unique celebrations of the solstices since the group became artists-in-residence at the Cathedral in 1980.
Paul Winter speaks of the deeper meaning of this event and why he has invited 350.org to take part: “The Summer Solstice gives us an opportunity to glimpse, even for a moment, a perspective of the whole Earth, in our ongoing journey with the Sun, and to realize that this entire planet is our home, and that we have a responsibility to take care of it. So I feel it’s pertinent to link this celebration to the most inclusivist cause on Earth: climate change. 350.org has launched a tremendous movement to wake up the world, and I feel a great kinship with its mission. This is why I’ve invited 350.org to have a table at the reception following the concert, and why I would love the members to share the experience of this celebration.”
Why the Cathedral?
“This Cathedral is the most titanic performing space I know besides the Grand Canyon,” says Paul Winter. “It is as long inside as two football fields, and tall enough to easily house the Statue of Liberty. Plus it has a seven-secondreverberation time, which enhances the music with special magic. But beyond these physical characteristics, the heritage of this Episcopalian cathedral is remarkable, having been mandated 100 years ago as a “house of prayer for all people.” It is perhaps the most welcoming spiritual temple on the planet.
Why elephant voices?
Paul: “I believe we have a responsibility to all the other species in this great family of life, for the Earth is their home as well, and it is we humans who are jeopardizing their future generations. The elephants to me are symbolic of this greater life-community, and their situation is now quite dire.”
A new piece for this year's Summer Solstice Celebration, June 22, is “Song of the Elephant,” inspired by and interweaving the mystical and powerful low vocalizations of African elephants. It will feature the amazing artistry of tuba master Marcus Rojas, a new special guest with the Consort. The elephant recordings are from biologist Joyce Poole, who has been recording in the Amboseli National Park in Kenya for 30 years. This piece will be dedicated to the individuals and organizations working to end the horrendous slaughter of the African elephants, due to
increasingly high prices for ivory, and the growing mania for ivory religious icons and trinkets throughout the world.
Tea and Coffee Reception:
Immediately following the music at Summer Solstice, the entire audience will be invited to a reception in the Nave of the cathedral, during which members of the audience can meet each other along with the musicians. Our friends from the Shumei Community of Japan will host the reception, and offer complimentary green tea, roasted tea, coffee and organic cookies. Paul says: “We consider this reception an integral part of the Summer Solstice Celebration. Our audience always includes many uniquely devoted people who welcome this chance to meet kindred spirits with whom they've just shared this deep-listening journey from the darkness to the dawn.”
Paul Winter’s musical odyssey has long embraced the traditions of the world’s culture, as well as the wildlife voices of what he refers to as “the greater symphony of the Earth.” From the early days of his college jazz sextet, which toured Latin America for the State Department and performed the first ever jazz concert at the White House for the
Kennedys in 1962, to his later ensemble, the Paul Winter Consort, his concert tours and recording expeditions have taken him to 52 countries and to wilderness areas on six continents, where he has traveled on rafts, dog sleds, mules, kayaks, tugboats, and Land Rovers. He has produced 45 albums, of which seven have won Grammy®
Awards. His latest project is Flyways, a celebration of the great bird migration from Africa through the Middle East to Eurasia, featuring a new Great Rift Valley Orchestra, with indigenous musicians from each of the 16 countries over which the birds fly. www.flywaysmusic.org
Where to go:
The Cathedral is located at 112 and Amsterdam. Arrive if you can by 4.15am and come up the steps into the front door.
You will see a sign directing you to the Will-Call table, where you will receive your ticket for free admission.
There will be a 350.org person there, plus a member of Paul Winter’s staff, in case there are any questions.