Lonesome Traveler

Trevor and Sylvie in costume for Act II.  Photo by J. Tanner.
Trevor and Sylvie in costume for Act II. Photo by J. Tanner.
“My life flows on in endless song
above earth’s lamentation.
I hear the real, though far off hymn
that hails the new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing.
It sounds an echo in my soul
how can I keep from singing?
Sylvie and Trevor in costume for Act I.  Photo by J. Tanner.
Sylvie and Trevor in costume for Act I. Photo by J. Tanner.

Greetings from Ventura, CA!  Last Saturday night marked the opening of the third run of Lonesome Traveler, the play that first brought Trevor and I together back in 2011.  “A journey down the rivers and streams of American folk music,” Lonesome Traveler is a night of rich and storied music performed live by a group of actor/singer/songwriter/musicians.  This is the music I grew up with, thanks to my parents’ record collection; this music made me want to pick up a guitar and sing.

“And in the songs from long ago
we hear our own hearts beating
in every word and every note
their message still repeating.
So to the chorus of the past
we add our voices ringing
and write the yet unwritten songs
how can we keep from singing?

Every person in this cast has a personal relationship to this music, and to music in general.  It drives us all in various ways, and it has created deep bonds among us. Strangers when we met, two years in to this project the cast of Lonesome Traveler is a true family.  It is pure joy to step out on to stage with people whom I love and trust so deeply, and I know that these relationships will last long into the future.

“And when we gather all as one
we know the ties that bind us.
Our numbers strong, we carry on
and leave no one behind us.
And stronger still in harmony
a new hope we’ll be bringing
until the world turns to song
and everyone is singing.
Until the world turns to song
how can we keep from singing?”
Cast and (partial) crew photo.  The picture might be blurry, but the love is clear.
Cast and (partial) crew photo. The picture might be blurry, but the love is clear.

P.S.  Those of you who are familiar with the hymn “How Can I Keep from Singing” may have noted the unfamiliar second and third verses I’ve quoted above.  In a truly “folk-like” collaboration, those were written by the cast of Lonesome Traveler and are sung proudly each night at the end of the show.

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