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+ Photographs by J R Compton
2002 by JR Compton - All Rights Reserved.
Symbolically praying a prayer for peace
by tying a ribbon on the Peace Tree in the lobby was one fine
way to edge into the spirit of this winter's SolstiCelebration.
Discovering old friends is another. Remember
father and son from last year's
couldn't stop myself from saying aloud as I beheld these vivid members
of the Winfrey Bells Morris Dancers practicing stomping
backstage. "Not pink,"
they replied, insisting instead, "fuchsia."
Old friend and one of my favorite musicians,
Chad Evans greeted me with a big smile while setting up
to be one half of the dance band - with fellow musician (and KERA DJ)
Kim Corbitt - in the lobby
ClarySage - Shelly
Nieburhr and Debbie Garner
- sang sweet harmonies while the audience noisily filled the
Cathedral. That's a crimson garbed pixie lighting
candles in the background.
Horn player Freddie Jones
waits quietly behind the New Moon Gate, a symbolic transition
from the darkness of the shortest day and darkest night of winter
to the coming bright of spring - perfect for dancing through.
A percussionist's preschooler
just before the party proceeds.
A little stretching gets our
ready for the evening's festivities.
And a little meditation gets
our eyes and minds ready, too.
The acoustics were a little too
bright for a sustained gonging...
... but not at all bad for bowls that
sing. Love that eerie sound resonating all around the crowded
Cathedral of Hope.
Poet Jeff Davis gets
into the spirit of the words...
are a circle,
... and everybody all through
the church joins
hands and chants a simple tune.
within a circle
and never ending
Emcee Amy Martin introduces the members
of Our Community in tonight's
Story tellers Gene & Peggy Helmich-Richardson
stretch a tale about a Buried Moon.
Then, as Moonlady
drum slowly, darkness descended.
Till it was so dark,
without a spotlight, my camera could only see with infrared light.
Here, members of Mosaic wait through the darkness to
welcome us on the other side with their singing.
The Cathedral of Hope's
regular preacher couldn't make it, so Gay Mallon Lustfield reminded us that doubt was part of the plan,
and we should embrace the darkness.
Slowly bringing us out
of the darkness, Amy lit one candle at center stage, then as
Mallon Lustfield sang, the light spread ...
... candle to
candle, light to light, fiery spark to bright....
... and brighter
Till, like this Winter
Solstice that marks
the low stopping of the sun's apparent arcs,
the darkness dips slowly,
growing toward the
glowing dawns of spring.
And the light
Then, as suddenly as the light shone
on us again, members of the Winfrey
Bells Morris Dancers jingled
a stomping dance to the tune of a lively squeeze box, then jangled
While they changed costumes,
led us in the traditional
howl into the light, and...
... the dancers come returned as a goofy
herd of mournful cows - drudging their bovine way through the
Abilene Bromley Longhorn
... picking up verve along the way. When
they finally exited, the crowd, by then thoroughly wowed, 'cheered'
a bellowing longhorn moo in their honor.
Maaaah ommmm!! a boy child hollers for
Mom, who musta gone thataway.
It fell over during this longest
night, so two volunteers helped hold up the sun as the crowd
wound through it and ...
... the flanking moon gate. Like greeting
the rising sun after long darkness, people came out the other
side of the gates joyed and streaming light.
After all the excitement inside, the
crowd gathered in the lobby for wonderful nibbles and visits
who had a happy little something for little boys and girls who have been
good, or -- as Amy suggested, "good
at being bad," and ...
... Mr Gloom, whose
ragged coat adults were urged to squeeze, letting our shadowy
darknesses soak, so we'd be rid of them. But ya had to be quick
about it; Boogeyman The
Tim shot through the crowd like
a blazing star on a cold, winter's night. He did not stop to
pose for pictures along the way.
When I left, exhausted at just after
ten, bigger kids were blowing bubbles, and louder, littler ones
were running screaming around the pews inside the church and
... splattering light in the