Cape Spear brought to life in sound

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Published on July 12, 2010

Ernie Tollar plays at Harbourside Park as part of a noon-hour concert on opening day of the symposium. Tollar performs alongside partner Maryem Tollar, Deb Sinha, Ian da Souza and guest vocalist Roula Said. - Photo by Ashley Fitzpatrick/The Telegram

Published on July 12, 2010

The crowd gathers beside the parking area at Cape Spear on Saturday, July 10, in anticipation of the closing event of the 2010 Sound Symposium. Approximately 200 people were in attendance for the event start at 10:30 p.m. - Photo by Ashley Fitzpatrick/

Published on July 12, 2010

Composer Moritz Eggert welcomes the audience, before sending them out to explore Cape Spear National Historic Site in his "Breaking the Waves" sound experience. The flag holder in the gas mask did not speak, but added to the military undertone planned

Published on July 12, 2010

Following the car horn symphony, the sounding of a vuvuzela marked the start of the "Breaking the Waves" sound experience. - Photo by Ashley Fitzpatrick/The Telegram

Published on July 12, 2010

An unidentified visitor shakes a piece of metal inside a damp room of an abandoned Cape Spear military bunker. The sounds created by visitors added to music being played by musicians throughout the site, collectively creating the sound experience. - Ph

Published on July 12, 2010

A masked man taps two drumsticks together, the sound echoing down the hallway of an abandoned military bunker at Cape Spear. Visitors explored the site with the echoing sounds. Standing next to the masked man, who did not speak, is one of the security

Published on July 12, 2010

One visitor comes across a percussion set-up at the entrance to one of the abandoned military bunkers at Cape Spear. The set-up was used by a few wandering guests, before musicians arrived to perform an orchestral piece by Moritz Eggert that signaled t

Published on July 12, 2010

Wandering the cement hallways of one of the abandoned military bunkers, you might stumble across a dancer or, as here, a masked accordion player. - Photo by Ashley Fitzpatrick/The Telegram

Published on July 12, 2010

Visuals were added to sounds to complete the experience. Here, an audience member takes a picture in the "room of memories," a bunker room filled with burning candles.- Photo by Ashley Fitzpatrick/The Telegram

Published on July 12, 2010

A masked guide. - Photo by Ashley Fitzpatrick/The Telegram

Published on July 12, 2010

People continue to wander in and out of the bunker rooms as preparations are made for an orchestral performance that will close out the soundscape. - Photo by Ashley Fitzpatrick/The Telegram

Published on July 12, 2010

Playing as part of a four-piece at one of the lookout points, Sound Symposium participating musician Dan Morphy is on cymbals. - Photo by Ashley Fitzpatrick/The Telegram

Published on July 12, 2010

Playing as part of a four-piece at one of the lookout points, Sound Symposium participating musician Ed Squires is on drums.

Published on July 12, 2010

Inside one of the bunker rooms, a visitor takes up a drumstick to tap on a set of hanging drums. Guitarist Duane Andrews dropped in to play inside the same room. - Photo by Ashley Fitzpatrick/The Telegram

Published on July 12, 2010

Having fun playing the drums. - Photo by Ashley Fitzpatrick/The Telegram

Published on July 12, 2010

Performing the closing orchestral piece at the "Breaking the Waves" sound experience at Cape Spear. - Photo by Ashley Fitzpatrick/The Telegram

Published on July 12, 2010

Trumpet player Patrick Boyle leads an improv session during the Sound Symposium Thursday. - Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on July 12, 2010

Local St. John's Eastern School District school music teacher Sheila Ryan-Jackson of the Sound Symposium Complaints Choir, performs her part of the song "Everybody Else is a Whiner" - music and lyrics by Sean Panting and choral arrangements by Kellie W

Published on July 12, 2010

Peter McGuire presses a ship's horn during the harbour symphony Friday. The symphony is one of many events being held during the annual Sound Symposium. - Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on July 12, 2010

Sound sculpture Le chevalier de la resignation infinie/The Knight of Infinite Resignation display by artist Diane Landry Saturday afternoon at the MUN School of Music where she gave a presentation on her sculpture during this year's Sound Sympsoium XV

Published on July 12, 2010

Performers are shown on stage during Sound Symposium XV at the LSPU Hall Wednesday evening. - Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

Published on July 12, 2010

Mack Furlong performs during Sound Symposium XV. - Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

Audience, musician participation piece closes festival

As night fell at Cape Spear National Historic Site Saturday about 200 people had gathered beside a ticket table with a sign that read "Sound Symposium." Even in the dark, it was not cold - with a warm wind flying over the ground and through the crowd.

They waited, holding roughly sketched maps titled "Breaking the Waves," provided in return for their ($10 general) admission. The maps showed the historic site - its lookout points and Second Wolrd War bunkers circling the lighthouses on the hill.

As night fell at Cape Spear National Historic Site Saturday about 200 people had gathered beside a ticket table with a sign that read "Sound Symposium." Even in the dark, it was not cold - with a warm wind flying over the ground and through the crowd.

They waited, holding roughly sketched maps titled "Breaking the Waves," provided in return for their ($10 general) admission. The maps showed the historic site - its lookout points and Second Wolrd War bunkers circling the lighthouses on the hill.

Car horns began to sound in the parking lot. Drawn to the patterned noise, the crowd came to a circle of parked cars, their drivers being conducted on their honks by German composer Moritz Eggert. A few minutes and Eggert finished the symphony, turning to his audience to introduce "Breaking the Waves," a musical experiential soundscape of Cape Spear.

The audience was given one hour to take their maps and go explore the site. It was approximately 10:30 p.m. when a vuvuzela was sounded - by an individual wearing a war-time gas mask - and the clock began ticking. People set out in all directions, heading to the "room of echoes" or the "silent corridor" in one of the concrete bunkers, or to an open stage and lookout point with 12 percussionists in front of another.

Sound Symposium participants were scattered throughout the site - faces of provincial musicians including Patrick Boyle, Bill Brennan and Curtis Andrews giving performances, mini-concerts at bunker entrances and on lookout ledges. "But also doing little theatrical actions during the show (the one-hour exploration), so that somebody would suddenly be in a room and someone would play with a saxophone suddenly or someone would play a violin or somebody would talk in Vietnamese," Eggert said.

Eggert spoke with The Telegram after conducting a closing piece with the bulk of the participating musicians. The piece was created specifically for the event - with crescendo after crescendo, wave after wave of sound. It was made all the more dramatic by the light echo of real waves rushing up against the rocks only a few feet away.

The entire experience, mapped by Eggert, ran at times from eerie to exilerating, with a seriousness resulting from the military aspects of the event - the gas masks, the bunkers.

"I thought that this is a place built for war and you can't completely ignore that," Eggert explained of his soundscape experience.

"I wanted to have that as a theme, as a kind of memory that lingers on that people don't really want, but it's still there - the guns are still there, the bunkers are still there."

Yet Eggert provided breaks from the serious, military aspect by adding areas that allowed for "humanity, individual response." You could play some drums in one room, rub or tap water glasses in another, or simply make noises in the echoing corridors - sometimes having them returned from a faceless voice around a corner.

It was an abandoned space brought back to life.

It was the closing event for the international festival of new music and arts.

afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com

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