On December 11-12, 2004, a weekend workshop took place at Seattle Circle’s studio, located on the third floor of Trinity United Methodist Church in Ballard. It was not a music-related seminar, but a number of members of the Seattle Guitar Circle were taking part.
The workshop culminated on Sunday night with a feast. Food for 20 people was cooked at my apartment and shuttled over. From time to time during the meal, the seminar director would call for music. That was our cue. Jaxie Binder, Taylor Sherman, Travis Metcalf, Bob Williams and I would rise, leave the room, collect our guitars, briefly discuss and come up with a 2 or 3 piece “setlist”. We entered the room, took our place and played. This happened 3 times during the evening.
The third time we were called upon to play, we chose for our final selection “Eye of the Needle”, which is also known as “Guitar Craft Theme III”, and is within the repertoire of anyone who has been involved with Guitar Craft for a period of time.
We entered, and performed our first selection. When it came time for “Eye of the Needle”, we spread out and surrounded the audience – to the extent that 5 players can “surround” a banquet table set up for 20 diners. The effect was immediate and profound. Of course, the composition has that quality and effect for anyone who can enter in to it, but there was something in this presentation that seemed to bring the music alive in a very particular way. Collecting ourselves outside of the room after the performance, we had the very clear sense that something momentous had just occurred.
It had been a busy weekend, and my computer had been off as part of the seminar. My journal for that weekend, very brief and written in the wee hours of Monday morning, reflects a recognition of the significance of the moment:
I will also never forget looking up as five of us “surrounded” an audience of 15 people and saying to myself, “hey look! A Guitar Craft Circle!” It was just for a moment, but it was as real as real can be.
Writing about it nearly 7 years after the fact, I honestly cannot recall whose idea it was to present EotN in this way; and that seems just as well. I also don’t remember whether we made the decision out in the hall before the performance, or if it was a spontaneous impulse that came up in the moment. It set in motion a line of exploration and inquiry that brought 10 players together in February of 2005 to test the viability of formal performance in this format, and in the following April Tuning the Air was debuted.