Friday, 29 June 2012

Wind Turbines and The Dance of the Ribbons

This is the exact image I had in my head 2 months ago when I wrote the track Dance the Ribbons for my new Fusion Inspire Production:

the dragon tree

I put out a shout on Facebook asking people what they thought of wind turbines and over 70 people responded. The response was polarised. Some believing wind turbines to the worse thing that could ever happen, others believing them to be the future for our children.

I have composed 2 musical pieces to represent this extreme perception. The first is an industrial piece written on the computer with influences from the heavy string section of Elgar's Welsh tune
 ( see earlier blog regarding how I am recording the sea at Llangrannog where Elgar wrote Welsh Tune, to fuse with the industrial nature of the music)

Our main character in the dragon tree, Dafydd, travels from the Wise Women of the West at in New Quay, to find the:

 'Children of the Wind' 

So, you see I had a very clear creative image for the projection back drop of this piece.

  • I went up to film the turbines from all different angles in the village.
  • I wrote to the company owning the land that the turbines are sited (heard nothing back)
  • Contingency: I found a Farmer Arwyn who owned the land in the next field
  • Got Farmer Arwyn's kind permission to use the field.
  • I visited the Head at Johnstown to discuss the children working with me as consultants to create the piece.
  • She arranged for me to meet the Eco Council
  • I had a meeting with the Children's Eco Council who invited me to come and do a more indepth discussion about their role within the production.
  • I went in to do a 2 hour session running through the song, discussing the facebook consultation feedback etc. The children voted to come on board.
  • This work was submitted towards their Platinum Eco -Award
  • I contacted the Dancer who had inspired my ribbon thoughts: Fiona Winter, for her availability. She was touring Canada but would be back end of June.
  • I contacted a fabulous musician who I know is a brilliant wandering minstrel. She was touring Greece and would be back ... end of June! Phew!
  • I also contacted a sketch artist to draw the children but sadly she had an accident the day before the shoot.
  • I went to visit the local garage to ask if we could park there and borrow their toilets
  • I called into school the week of the shoot to check everything was ok
  • I called up to re-assure the farmer and his wife the day before the shoot and arranged that the cattle would be kept in the dairy... Also arranged for the farmer to come up with Flea the Sheep Dog to meet the chidlren

So you can imagine my absolute heart break when we arrived at the top of hill to this ....

The thickest pea soup mist you can imagine, so thick that it was not even possible to see the 10, tall, 150ft wind turbines! In this picture there is one right behind the barbed wire fence!!! Honestly!

We decided that the chidren would have their packed luch and we would hope for a lift in the mist.

I had put a shout on facebook to the Universe (who must be on facebook!) to will the weather to be fair at 12.30pm. I also asked all my facebook chums to will it too. Well, some may say it was coincidence, but at just gone 12.30pm the mist did start to fade.

The children were on the coach and when they saw how big and how close the turbines were, the wonder, the amazement and the thrill that ran through everyone, was more electric than that being generated!

Quick sharp our Dance Leader, Director of Energy Moves,
Fiona Winter, distributed the ribbon sticks.

You can see in this picture that the turbines were coming and going with the mist!

Pretty soon everyone was getting warmed up, even Miss Brunt!

It was magical!

The mist stayed at bay long enough for us to film, to see nearly all 10 turbines, to witness the stunning views ...

One of the most moving things for me, was watching Tom, the Chair of the Board of Governors, with the children.

In the piece the children represent our future and the view that turbines might be the way forward, but they are dressed in traditional costume to represent their connection to their past and their cultural heritage, a reminder that this should not be compromised.

Having Tom there was magical because he is such fun, but also visually, he represents the intergenerational hand over of life's baton.

Thank you to Heather Summers and Fiona Winter for bringing their special magic to the day. .. and thank you to Mrs Starkey, the Head at Johnstown Primary School for her vision in supporting the children to take part in this way. To Miss Brunt and to Tom. To Farmer Arwyn, To the Arts Council of Wales for my Individual Mainline Grant. .. But most of all to the children of the Eco Council for coming, yes, but for caring enough to be part of an Eco Council and for most definitely being the people who will undoubtedly make the decisions about energy in our future.

At the end of the afternoon, I thanked everyone.

And then Miss Brunt said, 'There's one person we really need to thank because without her there would be no Dance of the Ribbons today,' and all the children cheered and hip hip hooray'd for me ... for little old me ... the dreamer who stared out of the science lab window thinking of what could be; Me, up on the tallest hill with the longest views, in the most beautiful place with a whole cast of wonderful people, dressed up and dancing for a song I have written for a production I am creating ...

Diolch Yn Fawr!

 Far bottom right: Me!

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