October 28th 2011 We invited a mistress of change whose love of making music becomes a source of growing confidence for others. Roxanne Goodman brought her digital keyboard and placed her iPad on the music stand. I had never seen a musician do that before. She had made a few notes of keys and chords and a few notations of song ideas. This is the stuff of improvisation. By way of introduction she told us that what we would hear would not be like anything we had heard before. She offered some vocal warmup excercises and then she sat down and began.
Almost immediately I heard two very well-trained voices and I wondered if she was using the looping function on her digital piano. It turned out to be one of the labyrinth participants who was a trained opera singer. This was not planned but somehow it led the way for the rest of us more tentative singers and opened a door to participation. Before long there were many people up on their feet walking and grovin’ and movin’ and singing along.
A most inclusive and inventive atmosphere began to grow in the room. I think there were quite a few people from Roxanne’s community choir, Big Soul, so it was no surprise that there were uninhibited singers taking part. It opens up the possibility for cross-pollination of ideas, as I like to see it. The actions and activities of one participant inspire something else in the next person and the whole thing has a way of building its own momentum. I have even seen this happen with the paintings and drawings that participants create, where a kind of theme will ripple down the table. This is community at its best!
My labyrinth partner Vanessa Compton offered these observations on the evening’s events: The space between the musical passages was intriguing – as one piece drew to a close, and a single piano note held the space first a little tentative then with increasing certainty until a new expression emerged. That was literally “avant-garde” for me, “nouvelle vague/new wave” of energy and growth. I found it to be a powerful auditory image for the process of moving from old form to new.