Muir and Olson a Narrative Concert

A celebration of the natural world with music and the writings of two of the countries most influential conservationists.

 

Join us for a concert featuring the writings of two of the world's great naturalists, John Muir and Sigurd Olson, intertwined with the music of Ed Willett and Cheryl Leah (a.k.a. "Chance") and the songwriting of Warren Nelson.  This trio of prominent musicians now in their 25th year together have brought under one roof the best of their of their two programs: Willett and Leah's "John Muir - University of the Wilderness" and Warren Nelson's "Song for the Wild".

Warren Nelson is one of Wisconsin's most accomplished and celebrated songwriters.  He's an author, storyteller, songsmith and recording artist. Mr. Nelson received an honorary doctorate from the University of Wisconsin Superior for his contributions to the cultural life of Wisconsin and the region and was also elected a Fellow of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, recognizing his role as a folk historian/musician.  He was commissioned by both the state of Wisconsin and the state of Minnesota to tell their stories during their statehood anniversary celebrations and more recently, he's turned his attentions to bringing together two of his lifelong loves - music and the natural world.

Ed Willett and Cheryl Leah through narration, song and Muir's writings take the listener on a journey beginning with Muir's childhood in Scotland, then moving on to his young life in Wisconsin, and then finally to his profound and influential experiences in the great Sierra Nevada Mountains.  They recently completed their 61st performance of their program which now has played across 12 states in the U.S. and in Europe.  Upon attending one of their California performances, world renowned Muir historian William Swagerty wrote the following.  "It really is the best live musical performance on a Muir theme that I have heard and deserves the wide audience and acclaim that it is presently enjoying".

 - W. R. Swagerty - Director, John Muir Center - University of the Pacific 

 

 




The Program:


JOHN MUIR-UNIVERSITY OF THE WILDERNESS

The writings of John Muir - The music of the Chance Ensemble.

SCOTLAND

AS THE ROUND EARTH ROLLS – John Muir/Ed Willett

HARDYMAN THE FIDDLER – Traditional Celtic melody

THE KINGS – Traditional Celtic melody

THE HOLY GROUND - Gerry O’Beirne

WISCONSIN

HICKORY HILL JIG – Ed Willett

FOUNTAIN LAKE – Ed Willett

CALIFORNIA

THE RANGE OF LIGHT – Ed Willett and Cheryl Leah

THE CRICKET’S CALL – Ed Willett and Cheryl Leah

STROLL OF THE SUMMERLING – Ed Willett and Cheryl Leah

SNOWSTORM ON MOUNT SHASTA – Ed Willett

NIGHT STEPS SOFTLY – Ed Willett and Cheryl Leah

ROSES IN THE HOLLOW – Ed Willett and Cheryl Leah


Intermission


SONG FOR THE WILD

A celebration of wild and wilderness in song for the preservation and stewardship of planet Earth, featuring the words of Sigurd Olson put to music by Warren Nelson

LISTENING POINT *

BWCA / BACK OF BEYOND *

I WAS ALIVE *

HOWLING FOR WOLVES **

THIS IS HOME *

THE LONELY LAND *

PUT IT AWAY **

THE SINGING WILDERNESS *

* Words by Sigurd Olson, music by Warren Nelson

** Words & music by Warren Nelson


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We’ve come to believe that as the ideals and philosophies of the world’s conservation movement steadily and inevitably move to the forefront of our societal concerns, this program will continue to give solace and inspiration to audiences around the globe. We feel so very fortunate that circumstances and a lifetime of work headed in this direction have lead us to this point and enabled us to offer this performance that’s so completely germane to our time. 


Please find below the audience feedback given to the organizers of a sold out 2019 performance for the Cable Area Natural History Museum.  Their survey asked audience members what they enjoyed about the performance.  Here are just a few of the many glowing responses.


"Important words melded with great music for an emotional connection with nature".  


"The history, the talent, the gathering of community, the philosophy of Muir and Olson"


"The readings tied into the music, great songs. John Muir and Sig Olson would have enjoyed this concert!"


"The creative weaving of the spirit of Muir and Olson into the music, inspiring words and songs of Ed, Cheryl and Warren."