Recently in my home state, I stood on a butte and looked over the green, green geography of the magnificent Badlands of western North Dakota, unusually green for that land of dry clay buttes. Wind caressed my face and the smell of sage perfume, waist high, filled the air. Sage, a sacred plant to the native Sioux, was collected and used in ceremony around the fire with song and dance. I took a small piece, tucked it in my bag to smell later and remember days of youth riding horses in that magical country President Theodore Roosevelt wrote about and inspired him to create national parks.
In July in Homer rose and lilac perfume fill the air around my house along with bird song. At Carmen’s Gelato shop on the Spit, you can have rose petal gelato and taste roses besides smell them. Music across the street played softly as I ate the deliciousness one finds on Homer Spit in the summer, be it all manner of food or desserts.
At Pier One, on the Spit, a different kind of music resonates from the theater where one laughs from beginning to end of “Spamalot,” the musical with live music on stage, dancing and singing. Devotion and care, sacrifice and diligence make such productions possible and give to this community in ways that inspire future thespians. Youth theater grows in this town with the young people who attend and develop confidence that gives rise to their voice and future careers.
Halibut Cove Live hosts two different weekends of jazz in the cove, one in July and one in August. Harmon and Pauli Hall offer their space each year for boat loads of people to go to the cove, eat a delicious sit down dinner, and listen to music in one of the most spectacular settings! Even on rainy days, umbrellas protect the musicians and diners while the music plays on. It’s an amazing gift to Homer Foundation and ultimately the non-profits of Homer.
In a few days, Kenai Peninsula Orchestra offers free concerts at various locations in Homer and Kenai/Soldotna. These musicians spend hours, weeks practicing music in their homes, together in small groups and larger groups to offer these musical events. Musicians have spent hours, days perhaps years writing music we enjoy today, music that inspires us to greater things, music that touches people’s hearts the world over. Not meaning to sound dramatic, but who was not affected by hearing the young cellist at the Royal Wedding play without missing a note on a stage worldwide?
Homer has such young musicians presently practicing, inspired by someone they heard or watched. “Preludes,” the program in elementary schools led by Daniel Perry, provides young minds the wonder and enjoyment of music at an early age and helps develop neural pathways in the brain only music can create. Music is the universal language, the music of the spheres.
Perhaps some of these young musicians will perform in this year’s orchestral programs in August. Don’t miss out on classical music devoted musicians provide each year for us in days ahead. Read the papers and watch for posters, then get yourself there despite summer’s busy-ness.
Salmon Stock, Music in the Park in Soldotna, chamber groups in various locations on the peninsula, Down East, Alice’s, Kharacters, Salty Dawg, Bunnell, camp fires, church, the list goes on where music can be found. Find it, listen to it live and let it lift you, get your rhythm going and sing the songs the next day. It’s all around us. It’s here to enjoy. We need it more than ever in these difficult times. It brings us together. It binds us.