Luminous Moments: Preparing for the Lifesongs Concert

This is a very exciting time in the Lifesongs calendar. For the last several months we have all – elders, youth, artists, and community members – been wholeheartedly engaged in sharing our lives and stories with one another, and in creating songs (and even dances!) together. On May 7th, as part of the Academy’s Festival of Learning, we will have the opportunity to share these songs with the wider community in our I Saw The Mystery Concert at the Lensic.

Right now, we are joyously and intently preparing for the concert. Rehearsals are happening everywhere. The rooms and corridors of the Academy are filled with music. The sitting rooms of our homes are crowded with instruments and laughter. The cafeteria (turned rehearsal studio!!!) at the Santa Fe Care Center reverberates with song and dance and the basement of the arts building at the University of New Mexico is resonant with the voices of the Children’s chorus.

Last Wednesday, I had the pleasure of listening to the 21 dedicated young singers from the children’s chorus as they rehearsed. I was sitting with Martha Stearns (Marty) and Marta Harrison from our intergenerational community creative ensemble. At 92, Marty is one of the oldest members of our ensemble and the embodiment of grace and love. Marta, a ceramicist, found her place in the ensemble (and in the story gathering project) late last year, but we like to think that we ‘found’ her. She is a treasure.

The young students, who will join us on stage at the Lensic, were rehearsing the ensemble’s song, “I Am Here.” Both women had traveled down from Santa Fe to share the inspiration for the song with the chorus and to bear witness as the students made it their song too. It was a remarkable experience for everyone.

The song has stayed with me all week. The melody is beautiful and compelling, the lyrics equally so. It is a potent reminder to us all that older people have so much to offer, and that it doesn’t serve us as a society to keep our elders, our older selves, separate from our selves.

I’m a lot like you
I’ve climbed trees
Had a family like yours
I’ve dreamed so many things
It’s not so far
To my front door

I am here
Here to live
I’m here to give

I consider it a great honor to work in this collective creative way with people of all ages and interests, bound by a shared commitment to creating meaningful community together. When we create with those who are near the end of life, that which separates us – the illusion of difference – falls away, and our hearts break wide open.

The Lifesongs concert is part celebration, part ceremony. It is a space and time for all those gathered to bear witness and be witnessed; to rejoice and grieve; to laugh deeply and feel safe enough to cry. The lyrics and the melodies are journeys into the joys and the heartbreaks, the loves and the losses of individuals. But, if we are willing to hear it, there is a gift for all of us in each song. For in each individual journey we discover elements of the universal, parts of our shared human journey, and an acknowledgment of the great mystery of life too.

As we prepare for the concert, we are also reflecting upon the year that has been: the heart-opening conversations, the personal discoveries, and the insights that we shared as a community. In the weeks leading up to the concert and in the weeks to follow, we would like to share these reflections with you. We are calling them Luminous Moments.

See you at the Lensic on May 7th!

Lifesongs Director and Co-Founder

I Saw The Mystery:
Lifesongs in Concert
May 7, 7pm
Lensic Performing Arts Center
Purchase tickets through
Presented by the Academy for the Love of Learning in collaboration with our Community Partners:
The Santa Fe Care Center
Ambercare Hospice
The Santa Fe Waldorf School
The Santa Fe Opera (Young Voices Program)
The New Mexico School for the Arts (Dance Department)
The University of New Mexico (UNM Children’s Chorus)
The Lensic Performing Arts Center