Listening to the music of Brent Michael Davids, a Native American composer transports me to a world where everything works together in harmonic unification.
This past weekend I had the honor of attending the performance of Native Sounds by the Grand Rapids Symphony, with composer Brent Michael Davids and the native community. The world of symphonic music joined the world of Native America graciously. Children dressed in Native regalia danced to the beat of the community Drum while the symphony played in unison elegantly, blending the sounds and worlds together. The colors of Pow Wow rhythmically in unison with the melodies of the orchestra, the native singers and the heartbeat of the drum.
In the beginning the President of the Gathering Thunder Foundation, Denise Iwaniw spoke of Peter Wege, the man the theatre is named after, and his affinity toward Native culture. Referencing his collection and return of artifacts from the Lakota Nation of the Black Hills helped to connect the audience to the piece, “Black Hills Olowan”.
Participating in this experience brings together not only the cultures of the symphony and Native America, but reflects my world and ultimately the realm of our entire existence.
Natives have a saying, “honor the circle”, the circle of life. This means we are all connected and what affects one affects all. Gathering Thunder is integrated with the Black Hills, as is Brent Michael Davids, the GRPS Native Program and even my daughter. My youngest daughter is preparing a report on the State of North Dakota, where the Black Hills are located. All of these elements and aspects of life come together as a symphony, blending with each other to create the most uplifting and inspiring music, the music of Life.
This is how the Universe works as a blended symphony. All musicians are important. All must be seen, heard, and felt for synchronization. All must work together.
I feel this is the energy of 2015. Where there was once discord through healing and love harmony prevails.
Gratitude to Martin Luther King, Jr. on this day of peace,
Susan J. McFarland
January 19, 2015