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Drumming Up Interest in a Sculpture Garden

Nicolas M. Perrault/Wikimedia Commons

Ninety-nine percussionists will be playing throughout the Lynden Sculpture Garden this weekend, combining the arts of sound and scene.

The musicians will play maracas, stones, tom-toms, cymbals and other percussive sounds throughout Lynden's grounds full of humanoid figures and fiber glass animals.

It's part of tomorrow's performance of John Luther Adams’s "Inuksuit," a piece of outdoor music that's been played in Central Park in New York and the Alaskan wilderness.

"It's not a traditional piece of music," says Present Music Artistic Director Keven Stalheim. "I think it's more like going for a walk in an exotic forest or something and you don't know what you're going to hear."

The sounds will change as the percussionists periodically come together and disperse throughout the garden, which means each audience member will experience a different performance depending where they are in the garden.

The piece is inspired by the Inuit word "Inuksuit," which references the culture's ancient stone markers. Stalheim says this makes a sculpture garden the perfect place for the performance.

"It's kind of interesting to think, we're going to be out there in this landscape and there are going to be these sculptures - they're not  ancient stone markers, but I think they have an interesting similarity to the original idea of what "Inuksuit" was inspired by and their stone markers," he says.

Lynden executive director Polly Morris says the music will help people look at and experience the garden in a new way.

"I also like the idea that the piece is considered a monumental piece and Lynden of course is full of monumental sculptures, so it's the meeting of the monumentalities," she says.

The music at the end of the piece is a sneak peek from an Inuksuit CD that’s due out in late October.

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