A unique event celebrating forests with a “harmonic convergence of natural and composed sound” has been slated for September 17 in the Town of Tusten.
“For the Forest,” a concert and informational sessions focused on the importance of forests, has been developed in response to the United Nations General Assembly declaration of 2011 as the International Year of Forests to raise awareness on sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests.
To illuminate this focus, Arts for Peace, a project of the World Association of Former United Nations Interns and Fellows, will present the concert in various locations within Camp Keowa on the 12,500-acre Ten Mile River Scout Camp in Narrowsburg. Arts for Peace works to bring the arts community together to make practical contributions in support of the United Nation’s peace-building efforts.
For the Forest will present the work of three unique and powerful artists—Yoko Ono, John Luther Adams and Miya Masaoka—in a setting where the natural environment offers its various voices in partnership with the musicians and audience members. Works to be performed include Yoko Ono’s “A Secret Piece,” John Luther Adam’s “Inuksuit” and Miya Masaoka’s “Pieces for Plants.”
The site-specific works are vehicles that enable audiences to interact with the environment as an integral part of the compositions. The presentation invites delegates, representatives of UN agencies and affiliated non-governmental agencies, artists and the public to experience a living forest directly.
Recently, Suzanne Thorpe, Arts for Peace special programs director and associate director of the Electronic Music Foundation (www.emf.org ), and Andrea Reynosa, organizer of Tusten’s Sky Dog Supper Club and water awareness events such as Flow Slow and Snow Flow, scouted potential locations for the performances and informational sessions that will take place.
The event will feature compositions that fold the natural acoustic environment into the works. As such, vocalizations of wind, water, birds, insects, and animals can be heard, affording the opportunity to forge new and dynamic relationships with the surroundings and embedding the experience of the forest in the listener.
“The environment has an important part to play in the performance,” said Thorpe. “And the audience will be invited to walk among the performers at times. When people participate in an activity while being exposed to music, they can embody the information being shared and build an emotional bond with that.”
Thorpe described the three-pronged approach to the event, weaving together the performance, the audience and the environment to create the actual experience. “A trilogy is a most effective way to transmit these potent messages,” she said.
Thorpe got involved with Arts for Peace through one of its first projects, a multi-locative performance in which musicians played in five different locations while their images and sounds were transmitted to each other as they played from the same score. Thorpe was the sound engineer for the New York location, which was performed at the Secretary General’s floor at the United Nations.
Thorpe also has connections to the Upper Delaware region that root in early childhood. “My father is a fly fisherman,” she said. “I have such wonderful memories from when we were kids playing in the waterways of the Upper Delaware and Upper Hudson valleys and the Adirondacks. I built relationships with these environments and believe it’s important to allow others to have those same opportunities.”
What does she hope people take away from the experience? “A stronger bond with the environment and a stronger resolution to contribute their own energies to what they can do to support healthy forests,” said Thorpe. “It’s about maintaining a healthy environment. There are activities that obviously do damage to the greater good and we want to promote healthier sustainable ideas.”
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