On March 1st, Diane and I attended an amazing event at The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York City. It was a celebration of the installation of an exhibit of a massive 12 ton, two piece sculpture by the contemporary Chinese artist Xu Bing. The work completed in 2010 after two years of creation is simply entitled “Phoenix”. The sculpture is built from repurposed construction materials and tools from building sites around Beijing. Mr. Xu says the sculpture is a commentary on the effects of rapid commercial development in China. The exhibit will be on display through January of 2015. St. John the Divine is the largest Cathedral in the world. Construction of the Cathedral began in 1892 and its construction continues today.
What first attracted us to this event was the announcement that our two friends Philippe Petit and Paul Winter were part of the celebration. Philippe danced on a temporary tight rope while Paul sang below on his soprano sax. Both Philippe and Paul are brilliant artists-in-residence at the Cathedral. Philippe gained fame in 1974 for his high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. He is the subject of many movies including the must see Academy Award winning documentary Man on Wire (2008), which chronicles his walk between the towers. As a world class artist / author / builder, his contribution to the world goes far beyond high-wire acts.
Paul Winter has won numerous Grammy Awards, performed throughout the world, produced tons of amazing recordings (including Pete Seeger’s “Pete”, a 1997 Grammy Award winner for Best Traditional Folk Album). He is currently working on a project which he calls “Flyways” celebrating the great bird migration between Africa and Eurasia along the Great Rift Valley, using indigenous music of the cultures over which the birds fly. Besides the beauty of his music, Paul’s contribution to the world is multi-faceted as a result of his love of nature and his environmental preservation efforts. Paul, Philippe and Mr. Xu all share a common mission to shed awareness of the subtleties of the beauty of our world through their creative geniuses. If the exhibit and their performance alone wasn’t enough, six other groups performed on this occasion including acts from the Big Apple Circus, dancers, drummers (Glen Velez and others), choruses, jugglers, and the cathedral organist.
Coincidentally, our original windchime, The Chimes of Olympos, was a result of repurposing aluminum tubes from discarded lawn chairs. And one of our latest chime offerings is the Chimes of the Phoenix from the Windsinger Collection. It was inspired by the mythological tale of the Phoenix rising from its ashes as a metaphor of rebirth and renewal.