Harps in the Redwoods
The Coastal Redwood is a California icon and a national treasure. Found nowhere else on Earth, its age, size, beauty and grandeur are unmatched. A ramble or a drive through a redwood forest uplifts body and soul. And like so many of our natural treasures, its existence is endangered. This summer, a group of young musicians will make their new and unique contribution to the preservation of California’s precious old-growth redwood forests, and everyone is invited to join in.
The group is the Bay Area Youth Harp Ensemble, or BAYHE, who have been performing under the direction of Bay Area harpist Diana Stork since 1999. Ranging in age from elementary school age to college graduates, BAYHE members play multicultural, international music on the folk or Celtic harp. Interestingly, the modern folk harp, a non-pedal harp varying in size, is also a sort of California native, as the art of building them was re-invented here in the 70s. With Stork’s guidance, BAYHE members learn not only to play their music, but to compose, arrange and present it as well, organizing and promoting their own musical events.
While this tour offers a wealth of opportunities for these young harpists to hone their skills as musicians, there are many reasons that it is important to educate audiences about the need to conserve our remaining redwoods. Maybe you already know that only 5% of the original old-growth forest remains, and that only 29% of that is currently protected. Maybe you’re already aware of the redwoods’ potential to aid in carbon sequestering, biodiversity, and medical research. Maybe you just love redwoods. Stork says. ”We want to deepen the connection between music-lovers and conservationists.” John Steinbeck — yet another California native — wrote “The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. They’re not like any trees we know: they are ambassadors from another time”.
So BAYHE is launching its “Save the Redwoods” tour to preserve the forests, for the present and for the future. The tour is sponsored by the Multicultural Music Fellowship, a non-profit educational organization of which Stork is a co-founder. To fund the tour, BAYHE has set up a Kickstarter campaign that will launch on May 3, 2016. Donations will pay for travel and accommodations for the harpists, and, most crucially, for a professional videographer to record the tour for later airing on Youtube, and possibly on other venues.
Besides letting any viewer enjoy the beauty of both the music and the forest, the video’s goal is to raise awareness about the plight of the redwoods, and the ways to conserve them. All proceeds earned from airing the video — as well as all ticket sales and donations from tour concerts — will go directly to the Humboldt Redwoods Interpretive Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving Humboldt County’s old-growth forests. Stork and BAYHE hope that viewers will also be inspired to donate to other organizations working to preserve the forests redwoods — Save the Redwoods Foundation, the Sierra Club, and the National Resources Defense Council, to name just a few.
The tour will begin in the Bay Area, with a kick-off concert at Oakland’s Chapel of the Chimes, on Sunday June 26 at 3 pm. The tour itself will run from June 29 through July 5, with concerts held among the oldest and most majestic redwoods on earth, near the Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt County. BAYHE will perform music from around the world, and has taken pleasure in choosing music written in praise of nature and the earth.
Performances will be held at campfires, in old lodges, and in ancient groves; and vary from an improvisational evening with laser and light show, to an evening of classical and Celtic pieces performed by the group’s most long-standing members, to impromptu concerts to be held within the forest.
For more information about the tour, including a full schedule of events, visit bayhe.org; or http://www.multiculturalmusicfellowship.org/calendar/
To make a KICKSTARTER donation before June 3, 2016, please visit:
To learn more about Humboldt Redwood Interpretive Association, visit:
If you’d like to know about other the other musical educational programs, events, performances, scholarships and other services provided through the Multicultural Music Fellowship, please visit: www.multiculturalmusicfellowship.org:
Office: 510-548-3326; firstname.lastname@example.org