Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Can't touch this

It seemed an unlikely event:
- A concert of funerary music.
- To be performed atop the crypts at historic Laurel Hill Cemetery.
- As part of the Philly Fringe Festival.
- By the Divine Hand Ensemble.
- Featuring a Theremin, an electronic instrument invented in 1919, plus harps, violins, and other instruments that produce sounds described as "ethereal, eloquent and mesmerizing."

So last Saturday, I spent the evening on Laurel Hill's Millionaire's Row alongside a number of prominent names in Philadelphia history who, because they couldn't take their fortunes with them, left behind impressive monuments.

Spending time in the cemetery wasn't scary, spooky, morbid, maudlin, depressing, sad, or weird.

It was surprisingly uplifting.

With perfect weather and a nice crowd, it felt peaceful. A respite from the busy city surrounding Laurel Hill.

I finally got to see how a Theremin works. Not by plucking strings or hitting keys, but by waving your hands near an antenna to control pitch and volume.

The Theremin is an instrument you can't touch to play. An appropriate choice for Laurel Hill, where you can't touch the "residents."

But both seemed very real last Saturday night.

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