Monday, November 4, 2019

Music Shed at Tanglewood 1972 with Religious Rant

Last in my series I drew the interior of the "Music Shed" at Tanglewood, the summer concert home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. This handsome design of floating triangles reflected sound out into the grassy areas in front where the audience sat. The round things in front are audience heads.

Despite my placid drawings of concertgoers and fellow students, this summer at Tanglewood was very difficult for me. It was at the height of my Christian religious quest but I was very naive about religious exploitation and fundamentalist craziness. During that summer a virulent form of evangelical Bible-spouting fundamentalism burned its way through our little community, causing outbreaks of Bible quoting and "speaking in tongues." Even the venerable  Roman Catholic Church experimented with this, calling it "charismatic." I thought this was "true" Christianity because you could read it in the Bible. I thought it would put me in touch with the real Jesus who would save from what? Misery and uncertainty, perhaps. "All you have to do," they said to me, "is kneel down and beg Jesus to COME INTO MY HEART and you will be SAVED! Then you will prove it when you speak in tongues." I tried this once and it didn't feel right. This was the emotional, "heart-centered" spirituality which is still dominant now. Every sermon says "Open your heart." Every one. But my heart belonged to music, not to a brain-shredding fundamentalism. It took me months to undo the effects of this virus, helped by some more rationalist and good-thinking friends.

Pencils on sketchbook page, 8" x 5", summer 1972.

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