Boothbay Sea and Science Center presented “Melody in Motion” by Halcyon String Quartet July 31 to supporters at Bristol Marine Shipyard in Boothbay Harbor. BSSC is in the ninth summer of its marine science and boating program which serves youth ages 5-17.
Halcyon is a Maine-based string quartet composed of violinist sisters Sophie Davis and Josie Davis, cellist Nora Willauer and violist Colin Wheatley. The performance had 15 pieces of music, three in collaboration with video artist Luke Fatora for a multimedia experience bringing the beauty of nature to the audience.
BSSC Executive Director Pauline Dion said the performance in the Shipyard’s main building had been in the works before the pandemic and was set for last summer before being called off. However, sponsorship came out in great support for the Center which, along with improvements in public health, made the evening possible, Dion said.
“We just wanted to do something unusual and coming out of what we've been through the past 18 months, I think we really needed this,” said Dion.
Dion said she and Sophie Davis met at a conference and found many similarities in their missions bringing the unlikely subjects of music, marine science and sailing together under the umbrella of environmentalism.
“That started the interest in building a (relationship). We also wanted to bring the (music) in a way that it brings nature in. Let's do something together to bring music into our program and to – say it without words.”
Halcyon performed Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet Opus 76, Number One, movements i-iv; Danish String Quartet’s O Frederik, O Frederik, Æ Rømeser, Old Reinlender from Sønndala, and Shine You No More; Jose Elizando’s Estampas Mexicanas, i, iii; William Grant Still’s Summerland; and Florence Price’s String Quartet in G Major, ii.
The multimedia performance was three short films accompanied by three pieces of music, Philip Glass’s String Quartet, 3, vi; Benjamin Britten’s Simple Symphony, Op. 4, ii.; and Gustav Holst’s St. Paul’s Suite, iv.
“These were inspired in part just by the textures and emotions the pieces of music suggest to me,” said Fatora. “But they're also inspired by passion for environmental stewardship that Halcyon and the Sea and Science Center share.”
The performers and the artist said they were pleased to be able to have a live audience. And they remarked on the harbor venue. Said Sophie Davis, “Much of the work we do is not only based around performing music, but partnering with organizations to celebrate the natural world and especially the state of Maine and the places and landscapes we live in … We're still kind of relishing being able to play for you. So, thank you for being here … It's such a pleasure to be in this beautiful space on such a gorgeous evening.”