Church? NOT. The Magic that is The Church of Beethoven.
By ceceev on April 01, 2011
Church? NOT! Yun’s friend invited her to attend the Church of Beethoven which is a Sunday morning concert and poetry reading here in Albuquerque that is designed to take the place of going to church. It is not religiously affiliated at all! So why the name church? Read on!
The CoB is a creative Sunday service in honor of music and artists. The service takes the form of a concert and a poetry reading. Here is the description of the Church of Beethoven from Wikipedia and its founder Felix Wurman: “In early 2007, after performing at a church service, Wurman was inspired to create the “Church of Beethoven.” Wurman noted it was not the theology he liked; it was “the ecstasy of the music, and the warmth of the parishioners enjoying it together.” Wurman came up with an idea: “How about a church that has music as its principal element, rather than as an afterthought?” Wurman recruited musicians from the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, and they began playing Sunday concerts in an abandoned gas station off old Route 66. Wurman called the Sunday concerts the Church of Beethoven. Wurman said he founded the church to help people “find spirituality through culture.” Wurman named the church after Beethoven because the composer “poured all that spirituality that he couldn’t find a place for in the traditional church, he poured it straight into his art.”
” The services also included poetry readings, and one poet who participated described Wurman’s goal in forming the Church of Beethoven as follows: “Wurman wanted to foster the same sense of communal experience one can have at a church, but without the dogma.”
Yun walks into the ‘gas station.” She was amused by its appearance: a dusty parking lots leads her to a shabby ramp into a open door; old garages doors are still there with their original bare rough metal springs hanging proudly; to block the direct sunlight, part of a side door is ducked taped; one lone black speaker is hung from the ceiling with unsophisticated and awkward aluminum chain; the ‘stage’ backdrop is three uneven back panels which almost looks like it is straight from a recycling bin; the three chandelier hung over the espresso bar are definitely from a yard sale, none matches the other; to cover the loft, a straw mat is cut into half and tied to the rails…. If Yun were to accidentally walk into such a place, she’d turn away by the abandoned gas station.
However, she is drawn to it like a little speck of metal is drawn by a strong magnet. The invisible magnet? She does not know. Could it be the smiles she sees on everyone? Could it be the murmurs of the people’s inaudible chat? Could it be the smell from the espresso bar? Could it be the rehearsal that is before the concert? Could it be the name? Could it be the air and sun of the spring? Could it be…? Yun does not know. But this place has cast a magic spell on her the moment she walks in, before the music and the poetry reading start, before she even finds a seat and tastes her coffee!
Take a deep breath, Yun feels right at home. Home is about the invisible and indescribable content (some might want to call culture or spirit) that speaks to our soul and makes us feel alive and completely comfortable and at ease. Yes, CoB has the content that is invisible and indescribable… one must walk into that door to feel its magic and power!
“Bye for Now” from The Two Whos
Post Script: In the recent post about the Online NYTimes subscription, Cece wondered whether she would end up subscribing to the online version or if she could manage only reading 20 articles a month. Well, she decided to subscribe to the online version. She could not curtail her reading and she wanted to support the NYTimes in any way she could!
Cece-one of The Two Whos http://www.thetwowhos.com
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