Musician, artist, videographer, and community builder Herb Moore has brought joy to the TPA community for years. He’s the guy who plays bluegrass at our sharing events, introduces children to the joys of scrapophony (fun with found sounds), and has recently brought his creativity to video recording of our events. And all this with keen intelligence and an irreverent sense of humor.
Read Herb’s thoughts about music and art as community building…
Music and Art as Community
The role of the arts is an essential component in maintaining sense of personal wellness, community spirit, and cultural continuity.
Traditionally, music, dance, poetry and art have been intertwined in ritual associated with the daily activities of people and their villages and/or communities. For example, there might be a song and a dance for birthing or seed planting and another rhythm and dance to accompany the work of harvest or the grinding of grain. The arts have also traditionally served to archive the history of people and place.
Today we have access to an amazing variety of music, art and culture via sources like the Internet, which can be a wonderful way for us to learn about other cultures, but this can also contribute to a mindset that sees the arts as something separate from our own lives.
I like what Pope Francis has said in his encyclical “On the Care of Our Common Home” concerning culture and the environment, “Culture is more than what we have inherited from the past; it is also, and above all, a living, dynamic and participatory present reality, which cannot be excluded as we rethink the relationship between human beings and the environment.”
For my part, I’m interested in making some small contribution to that relationship via my music and art.
In the past I have organized song circles, where folks can share songs or poetry about a particular topic like gardening or peace, or events like Be a Drop in the Bucket to encourage water awareness and to promote the idea of working as community to solve problems.
Of late I’ve been enjoying videography as a way to shine light on activities in my community that focus on rethinking our ways of being. https://vimeo.com/herbmoore
I think the need for greater attention to the health of our planet, “our common home” as Pope Francis says, is of primary importance at this time in our human existence. My philosophy of the role of the arts in that endeavor is pretty much summed in the Dragon Dreams story, and music, I wrote several decades ago.
Long before the time of humans, even before the time of dinosaurs, a great and wonderful dragon flew near the sun. The dragon felt the warmth of the sun and decided, “this is the place to warm my heart”
And so the great dragon took its tail in its teeth, curled itself into a huge ball and slept as it circled around the sun.
As time passed, the skin of the dragon became covered with dust and moisture, and mountains and oceans began to appear on the surface of the sphere that wrapped itself around the dragon’s heart.
The dragon dreamt of many types of plants and animals that came to live in this great land of the dragon’s heart.
After some very long time, the dragon dreamt of a special “human” creature. This creature had many wonderful traits, but the dragon’s dreams became troubled as it dreamt that these humans might destroy themselves, the other creatures and the very land of the dragon’s heart in which they lived.
The dragon dreamt that some of these humans became confused and moved the “H” from the front of the dragon’s heart to the end, thus creating what they called Earth. They seemed to think the Earth had been given to them to do with as they wished.
With our music, dance, poetry, art… our garden … our appropriate use of science and technology… or simply by the way we live our lives, we can sweeten the dragon’s dreams, return the “H” to its proper place and nurture the warm heart of the dragon.
See how many words and phrases you can find in the circle of letters in this image.