Terry Hunt’s new song cycle, “Wendell Berry Songs,” based on the poetry of Wendell Berry, premiered in Wenatchee on Sunday evening (June 7). The performance was part of the Wenatchee Valley College 75th Anniversary Music Series.
This is Terry’s second musical composition based on a poet’s work; the first featured poems by William E. Stafford. Both song cycles came from Terry’s collaboration with Steve Stefanides, a science professor at Wenatchee Valley College, who is also a talented tenor singer. Steve’s interest in the poets’ themes inspired both compositions.
The two compositions have much in common. The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org) says that Berry’s theme is that “humans must learn to live in harmony with the natural rhythms of the earth or perish.” Berry is known as an environmental activist as well as for his poems, novels and essays. With Stefanides as solo tenor and Terry on guitar, Sunday’s performance featured the Volta Trio on piano, cello and violin, and an alto flutist.
“The Stafford Poems” features the poems of William E. Stafford, familiar to many of us for his Methow River poems. Steve also created the tenor solo role for this cycle for choir, orchestra, and tenor soloist. The Stafford cycle was performed in Twisp as well as Wenatchee. As of now, Terry has no set date for a performance of the Berry composition in the valley.
Terry received a 2010 Grants for Artists Projects award that allowed him to work on “The Stafford Poems.” Terry says that a third cycle might be based on poems by our Methow Valley poets.
Terry is the retired conductor of the Pipestone Orchestra and Okanogan Valley Orchestra. These days he dedicates his time to his composition work and private lessons, his performance as a jazz guitarist, his filmmaking, and television production for methowtv.com.
There were 10 siblings in the Knox family until February, when Zach, 23, the next-to-youngest, was killed in an ATV accident near his home in Nevada. When Zach died, the four Methow Valley Knox siblings — Emily (James) Park, Becky (Charlie) Curtis, Jessie (Josh) Kulsrud, and Micah (Erica Jensen) — went to Nevada to be with their mother Juanita Knox and the rest of the family.
“We all are very close,” my friend Emily Knox Park, shared. “We always have been. We have a group text that goes out each day,” she says. It includes photos and gives the brothers and sisters a chance to say hi.
Then in April, valley resident Micah Knox, partner to Erica Jensen and father of five, was seriously injured in a Balky Hill car crash. (Micah was especially close to Zach, Emily told me.) Micah’s condition was touch-and-go for a bit, and he spent weeks in the hospital and at a rehab facility in Wenatchee. Once again, the other eight siblings were there for each other, the three sisters from the valley each doing three-day shifts at the hospital, where they slept on an extra bed set up by hospital staff.
Micah is back in the valley. He will continue occupational and speech therapy in Omak and will begin physical therapy in a few weeks. His recovery will take a long time, so Micah, Erica and the family are especially grateful for the community’s support through contributions at the bank, a gofundme.com site, and money jars in local businesses.
I guess if I have to share my birth date with anyone, sharing with Kathy Goldberg and Kent Woodruff isn’t so bad. Happy June 8 birthday to us all. I’m the oldest and happy to reach the advanced age of 72! My friends Kathy and Kent are 39.