Hello World: Doug Perkins Guest Blogs
“Hello World” or my impromptu collaboration with the Westminster Abbey
Company of Ringers
My project for *AND came out of a fit of inspiration and serendipity (as many good
things do). When I signed on to this project, I did so out a sense of possibility more
than a long desire to collaborate with someone specific. My strategy was to spend
the summer being creative with friends and having something to submit by the time
the deadline came along. I assumed that my submission would be with one of my
close friends or regular collaborators. I definitely did not expect it to be with some
famous bell ringers that I never met.
I went to London in July with my wife and 5 year old son, Jacob, for some vacation
and we inadvertently found ourselves in the middle of the birth of Prince George.
We were staying across from Kensington Palace (where Kate and William were
waiting for the baby), accidentally outside the hospital when they were laboring,
and even outside of Buckingham Palace when they made the announcement of the
birth(just driving past in a cab with stomachs bursting with too much great Indian
food). We were just accidental participants in the frenzy (and I cant believe I am
telling this much detail…)
This all took a fantastic turn for the musical when we were strolling back across the
Thames the following afternoon. As we were walking, I heard an incredible sound
and did the annoying that that music dorks do (to the initial chagrin of my family).
We followed this sound as it reverberated through the streets until I came upon
Westminster Abbey. They were pealing the bells in honor of the new prince and it
was AWESOME!!!!!!!!!! It was beautiful, chaotic, hypnotic, and wonderful. The grass
outside of the bell tower was littered with people taking in this sound, so we joined
them. My son engaged in trying to wrestle his mom and I got out my recorder and
went to work capturing some audio. We eventually all laying around for an hour
and I ended up with some great recordings of the Ringers doing their thing, mixed
with street noises and my sons occasional comments and other interruptions.
Once I was home, I wrote some music for me to play on some chimes, mixed it
with some of the sounds from the Abbey and the end result is a beautiful fanfare of
Trans-Atlantic chiming. Jacob even makes an appearance toward the end with one
of his “woo-hoo’s making it on the tape. (I should note that he takes great pride in
his contribution.) I guess this is my audio postcard and response to what I did on
my summer vacation.