Friday, February 22, 2008

A Music Pilgrimage

I'm always struck by the way the word and practice of "pilgrimage" is used in this world. For example, when talking about our upcoming film/documentary/television pilot, we've focused on both the sacred sites and holy people, as well as secular sites and people, in which people experience something that people would call "spiritual." These sites/sights would include going to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, but also Graceland in Tennessee, where Elvis Presley lived...and is buried. While there are candlelight vigils in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, there are also candlelight vigils at Graceland on the eve of the anniversary of Elvis' death.

Today in the New York Times, there was a beautifully written article on the Martin guitar home in Nazareth, PA, in which Peter Gerstenzang writes eloquently of the spiritual experience Martin guitar lovers have when visiting the building where the guitars are made: "Even though Nazareth, Pa., isn’t quite the holy city its namesake is, pilgrims with a musical bent still go there every weekday in search of a potentially spiritual experience. They head to a quaint brick building, lured by the promise of taking a tour at the C. F. Martin & Company guitar factory

The tour itself also makes use of modern headsets, so you can hear the guide’s narrative above the impressive whine of guitars being birthed. But once the pilgrims make their way and start seeing guitars in various stages of completion, that holy look creeps back into their eyes. Sometimes, mixed with tears.

That was the case last October with Beverly Goskowski, from nearby Hellertown, whose horn-rims showed a studious side, but whose leather jacket whispered, “rebel.” Ms. Goskowski really did think of her trip to Nazareth and Martin as something, well, related to the soul.

“I came here seven years ago with my granddad,” she said. “He passed over the summer, and I guess I’m trying to recapture the fun we had when we first came. Or to say goodbye to him. I don’t know which, really.”

Ms. Goskowski said all this in a strangely amplified voice mangled by the headset. She wept a bit, removed her glasses, wiped her eyes and chuckled at the tender moment being distorted by a modern contraption.

“Granddad, whose name was George H. Giltenboth, didn’t play an instrument or anything, but he loved music,” she said. “When we went on the tour, he kept grabbing the tour guide’s arm, asking her to repeat certain facts, always calling her ‘honey,’ or ‘dear.’ He loved being here.”

Click here to read the read of the article.

Bien camino,

Pilgrim peace,