Hello, and welcome to Sound-Walks, Saint John’s: “For the Sake of a Single Poem”. I’m George Maurer, a 1988 graduate of Saint John’s University, and I designed this sound walk. Thank you for being here today.
Before proceeding, I ask that you pause here on the oval in front of the Saint John’s Abbey bell tower and listen to a few short instructions on how to get the most out of this sound-walk experience.
The recordings you will hear on this sound-walk cover a 20 year period of time in the life of a mentor and friend to many, Father Mark Thamert, OSB, Professor Emeritus of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. They are culled from intimate conversations, stirring convocations, lunchtime talks, as well as end-of-life talks with Mark. All the music you will hear, the underscoring and various compositions, are my own creative response to the depths my mentor Mark, awakened in me, through poetry, through collaboration, and through friendship.
In May of 2017, Mark passed away from a long struggle with cancer. This sound walk is dedicated to his memory and to his legacy.
I welcome you to walk with Mark as he shares insights into the life of the German poet, Rainer Maria Rilke. As you listen as you walk, a distinct thread will begin to emerge; a thread that takes themes, metaphors and archetypes found in Rilke’s poetry and connects them with a visceral “sense of place” that is present here in the various sculpture gardens, historic buildings, and beautiful woodlands and lakes found here at Saint John’s Abbey and University.
As you walk slowly along the sound walk path (which you can see laid out on the map on your smart phone), you can watch your GPS pin approach and move through various light blue squares, circles, and shapes found on the map in the ECHOES app. These shapes are called ECHOES, and each one of them contains sound files that will play once you enter them.
As you enter fully into a new sound zone, or ECHOE, the light blue shape will turn DARK BLUE then triggering it’s sound file to begin to playing.
At the very beginning of each sound file, you will hear the toll of a bell [BELL TOLL] recorded from the Saint John’s Abbey bell tower. This bell toll [BELL TOLL] indicates that Mark is about to speak.
When Mark is done speaking, and it is time to proceed to the next ECHOE, you will hear the bell toll one more time. [BELL TOLL]
In some ECHOES, you will be given instructions to either pause on a bench or seat nearby until the ECHOE has finished playing, or to walk slowly along the length of an ECHOE zone while it plays. The best tip is to not proceed into another ECHOE zone until you hear the final BELL TOLL that indicates its ok to move on.
Once you have begun streaming this walk, I encourage you to keep your smart phone in your pocket as much as possible, and, instead, look out and around you in order to connect that thread between what you are hearing and what you are seeing.
If at any moment you feel uncertain as to where to walk next, you can always refer to the map of the walk on your phone to make certain you haven’t missed anything. Then, I encourage you you to put the phone away again.
Feel free to walk any stage of this sound walk in any order that you wish, but know that to fully experience the long arc of these conversations with Mark, you may want to follow the verbal instructions given on where to walk next.
Thank you for joining us on Sound Walk, St John’s for the next hour or so.
And now, as you face the bell tower, start walking at an angle to your right, across the grass towards the courtyard of trees that lays between the Auditorium on your right, and the red-bricked Quadrangle classroom building just to the south of it.
When you get to that courtyard, you will know you have entered the next ECHOE when you hear the bell toll.
As Mark begins to speak, draw your attention to the sculpture of Saint Benedict, there in the courtyard.
I’ll see you over there!
Sound Walks, Saint John's: "For the Sake of a Single Poem" Greeting by George Maurer
MT "For the Sake of a Single Poem"
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