Lyre Association of North America

Inviting Lyre Friends from Around the World . . .

The Lyre as Instrument for Peace:  
Giving Ear Toward Understanding and Reconciliation

2015 International Lyre Conference - 3-8 August, 2015
2015 Lyre Pedagogy Conference - 1-3 August, 2015

DETROIT, MICHIGAN, USA

  What is the task of the lyre in our time? What is the full reality of the lyre tone? Is it possible that there is more to this instrument than we, in our richly varied endeavors, have so far managed to bring about? 

  Contemplating a thematic focus for the next International Lyre Conference, the Board of the Lyre Association of North America, inspired by the suggestions of Channa Seidenberg, has felt compelled to ponder these questions in the context of our present global situation and to consider whether the lyre may have something particularly important to offer in our time. 

  We have found it of interest to remember that during each of the regencies of the Archangel Michael* throughout history, there has actually been a lyre on the earth. We wonder if the existence of the lyre in our contemporary world may suggest that this instrument, with its unique tone, has the capacity to elicit new thoughts about how we might learn to work together. How could this be so? The sounding of even a single lyre tone evokes a listening response – not just the usual “listening to,” but a deeper “listening into.” The tone of the lyre creates a space for silence.  In that silence, we are thrown back onto ourselves and into a state of inner listening. Could we consider the possibility that the deteriorating social conditions in our world may be asking us to look within ourselves? Could the cultivating of peace and reconciliation within our own souls have an impact in our families, in our communities, and even beyond? Is the courage to “look within” part of the signature of Michael in our time, and can our work with the lyre bring us closer to the realization of that possibility? 

  We feel that this is indeed a key aspect of the task of the lyre in our time: to learn how to “listen in,” so that we may begin to experience the reflection that arises from the lyre tone. Such a gesture of “listening in” can then allow for a consciously penetrated “sounding out.” This kind of inner activity has the potential to reconnect us with the life forces that are always in and around us – life forces that can inspire out cognition of who we really are as human beings, and a sense for the responsibility that such a realization entails. This process may well guide us to a deeper understanding and reconciliation within ourselves. 

  The Lyre as Instrument of Peace has been conceived in the spirit of the theme of Healing with the Lyre from Lyre 2006 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. For Lyre 2015 in Detroit, Michigan, we propose to take this theme to the next step – that of healing ourselves by playing, listening, and exploring together through our work with the lyre, toward the possibility of furthering understanding and reconciliation in the world. We warmly invite the world lyre community to join us in this worthy, mutual endeavor. 

~ Sheila P. Johns, for the LANA Board

  *The archangel Michael is a spiritual warrior in the battle of good versus evil, whose reign began at the end of the 19th century. His previous reign occurred in Greek times, about 200 BC. He is considered a champion of justice, a healer of the sick, and a guardian. In art, Michael, whose earthly counterpart is St. George, is depicted with a sword, a banner, or scales, and is often shown vanquishing Satan in the form of a dragon.

Conference News

As we announced in our last edition of LyreNotes, the Lyre Association of North America will be hosting the next International Lyre Conference from August 3-8, 2015. We are quite excited about the prospect of inviting our lyre friends worldwide to come to North America once again! This time, we will be gathering in the middle of our country in an American city that is making an impressive cultural resurgence. With echoes of our 2009 conference in Belfast, we envision a task for our world lyre community to support and add our voice to the healing and rebuilding that is springing up in so many ways at the present time in Detroit, Michigan. 

  Founded in 1701 by Antoine de Cadillac, Detroit has a rich, diverse history. In the past century, Detroit has gone from the great heights of the automobile industry to the depths of bankruptcy. The city is now growing into a vibrant new era of rebuilding its community through embracing the cultural diversity of its citizens. Among many other things, the area boasts historical museums and churches, art and cultural centers, a riverwalk, riverboat cruises to the great lakes, and nature walks on Belle Isle. 

  Our host for the conference will be Wayne State University, which is well-experienced in hosting conferences and workshops and will provide for us all the advantages of a seasoned infrastructure. The Wayne State University campus is in the center of the city, located just two blocks from the magnificent Detroit Institute of Arts and a short bus ride from the Detroit River and the new five-mile river walk. If you can stay for a few days after the conference, you may wish to travel to Northern Michigan to see the Mackinac Bridge or take the ferry to Mackinac Island where no cars are allowed and everyone travels by foot, horse-drawn carriage, or bicycle. 

  For our conference, the Lyre 2015 Planning Group has designed a varied program around our theme of "The Lyre As Instrument for Peace: Giving Ear Toward Understanding and Reconciliation."  In addition to a morning musical plenum, afternoon lyre groups, and evening concerts, we will have two different types of workshops: morning workshops related to our conference theme and afternoon workshops on more wide-ranging topics of general interest to our lyre community. You can view the entire schedule here: 

  Lyre 2015 Schedule                    Leier 2015 Zeitplan (in German)

  Additionally, we are looking forward to our Third Lyre Pedagogy Conference for teachers or others interested in exploring the many approaches to teaching the lyre. This conference is scheduled immediately before our general conference, from the afternoon of August 1st through the morning of August 3rd. We hope that many conference attendees will plan to come a few days early in order to participate in this important event. 

  We are also very pleased to be able to host a Youth Lyre Workshop, which will take place concurrently with our general conference. Details about this can be found below. 

  With so many opportunities to greet old and new friends from around the world, to make music together, and to participate in exploring new ways to work with the lyre in our time, we are hopeful that many friends throughout the world will seriously consider joining us for Lyre2015 in North America. It is important to add that we do recognize the individual financial requirement for such an undertaking. LANA is engaged in fundraising efforts of our own so that we can offer as much support as possible to those who need financial help; however, we urge all friends of the lyre to work within your local lyre communities or as individuals to brainstorm fundraising ideas in your own regions in order to make it more possible to consider attending the conference. 

  Please be watching for the official Lyre 2015 Online Conference Registration forms which will be made available within the next two weeks! In the meantime, further information about conference costs and arrangements can be found elsewhere in these pages. 

  With the year 2015 now underway, our approaching conference is beginning to feel much closer. Knowing that we have friends and colleagues throughout the world who are standing behind this effort will continue to provide us with the moral support and courage we need to carrythis world conference to its full realization in August! 

  Sheila Johns, for the Lyre 2015 Planning Group

Youth Lyre Workshop

  As part of Lyre 2015, we are happy to be able to offer a workshop for young people from age 9 through adolescence. No previous experience or particular musical skills are required to participate in this workshop. 

  The lyre will be introduced and worked with as the primary musical experience; other new instruments, such as gongs and other metal instruments, bordun lyres, and bowed instruments will also be used. All of these new instruments, especially the lyre, offer original and creative possibilities for making music together. 

  In comparison with traditional classical instruments, these new instruments pose fewer technical “hurdles” for beginners. The smaller lyres and the majority of the other instruments even allow for movement while playing. Much original music has been written for these new instruments, and there are also many arrangements of classical, folk,and pop music, particularly for the lyre. 

  Our morning schedule will include improvisingand playing together as well as practicing a selected piece of music to be presented at the concluding concert of the conference. In the afternoons, other activities will be offered, such as crafts and outings to the surrounding area. 

  The workshop will be led by Christina Porkert and Veronika Roemer, with additional adult leadersfor the afternoon activities. Christina and Veronika are both professional musicians with many years of experience with these new instruments and enlivening ways of making music. Please pass the word and encourage your children or students to join us for this special youth supplement to our international lyre conference!

  For more information, please contact VeronikaRoemer, email: vbrtnstn@gmail.com.