William Close plucks the strings of his Earth Harp. Richard Sherwood played the “drum cloud,” an instrument comprised of 24 drums and inspired by thunder clouds.

The Fabview: Pulling on heart strings with Earth Harp Collective

And basking in the arts alpenglow
Just when I thought the night couldn't get any better, Close puts on this brilliantly stunning jacket, covered entirely in brightly-colored sequins that Elton John and I will be fighting over far on into the afterlife.

Most of us who have spent some time in the mountains know the amazing splendor of a great alpenglow. An experience that comes to mind for me was while snowboarding through knee deep powder, at what felt like 140 mph, with my hair on fire. At that moment I was so exhilarated. Yet I stopped, turning to see the most amazing light show the mountain peaks have to offer. Time stopped too, my breath was nonexistent, everything went silent. It’s a moment frozen in time and space that I will never forget! 

That is how I felt experiencing the Earth Harp Collective during their recent show at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center. I knew I would love this show, yet they really exceeded my high expectations. As I walked into the theater, I was stunned at how great the stage, lighting and the strings of the Earth Harp appeared.

The Earth Harp is the world’s largest harp, strung from a sound chamber on stage to the back of the theater. The illuminated strings, like rays of golden sunshine flying over our heads, were emitting sound from above us, filling the room with music you could see, hear and feel.

William Close, the designer of the Earth Harp, was standing on stage in the middle of all these strings while he played them. Close explained that with the strings attached to the building, the audience was in effect hearing the music from inside this amazing instrument. The first Earth Harp Close designed was strung across a canyon. It has since been strung from the ground to the top of mountains and skyscrapers, and is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest stringed instrument. 

Also on stage was an amazing vocalist Rafe Pearlman. His voice was unbelievable. He was accompanied by guitarist and backup vocalist Thomas Hjorth, whose guitar was on point.  Hjorth’s voice blended with Pearlman’s so seamlessly and beautifully! Drummer Richard Sherwood added to the mix, playing a wall of 24 drum heads known as the "Drum Cloud," that was not only an amazing drum performance but also a dance. These three guys really enhanced the Earth Harp to create a magical experience!

Just when I thought the night couldn't get any better, Close puts on this brilliantly stunning jacket, covered entirely in brightly-colored sequins that Elton John and I will be fighting over far on into the afterlife. He then started tapping on the jacket, and everywhere he touched made a different drum and percussion sound. He was dancing and tapping away while making amazing music. I need to buy one of these jackets but I'm sure my bank will tell me I can't. 

For me, the pinnacle of the evening was the final song, a mashup of Pachelbels soothing “Cannon in D” with U2’s "With or Without You," two vastly different songs that were blended together magnificently. 

I was so moved at times I was in tears. I was sitting next to young Sidey Trulen, who really seemed to be enjoying the show. I tried hard not to let him see my tears; I didn't want this nine-year-old to think I was a wuss. After the show I asked him how he liked the show, and all he said was "good." I thought, that's not going to sell any papers, so I followed up by asking how he thought it compared to other shows he has seen, to which he got excited and responded, "It's the greatest show I've ever seen!"

The WMPAC had their own audible and visual alpenglow inside the theater that night. The illuminated strings stretched above us, creating sounds and visuals that were so astounding I can never forget – once more, a moment forever frozen in time and space. 

There was even a local connection. The Earth Harp Collective was complimented beautifully by the amazing photography of Kene Sperry. His breathtaking views of the mountains we live in reminded me of why I moved here and why I stay.

I feel so blessed to live in such a beautiful area, with many great people in this mostly quiet little town, yet at the same time being exposed to some of the best art the world has to offer.

If you didn't see the Earth Harp Collective I am sorry, but don't make this mistake again. I have to agree with young Sydney, this is the best show I have ever seen! I know I have said that before and I could likely say it again, because WMPAC doesn't put anything on stage unless it is amazing! So, get tickets, see shows and never regret!

The next WMPAC performance I am excited to see is Take 6, an all-male a cappella group that will be performing on January 5. 

The upcoming show I am most excited for, though, is Eighth Blackbird. This group uses classical instruments to create very nontraditional music, drawing influence from tango, funk and pop along with older classical music. And if that isn't enough to inspire you to check it out, maybe telling you that they are four-time Grammy winners would help. Eighth Blackbird is performing January 19.

You can see more upcoming shows and purchase tickets at warrenmillerpac.org.

And as I have said before, thank you for supporting the arts, I personally really appreciate it,  and want you to know that by doing so you are helping to enrich the lives of all of us here in Big Sky.

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