The Hidden City Orchestra does strange things to people who are pulled into its orbit.
Take, for example, one of our founding members, Dr. Charles Faraday. By the end of his life, Dr. Faraday subsisted on a diet exclusively of lima beans and refused to sleep without his hecklephone, which caused his wife to leave him. His dying words were “F Flat.”
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves…
The formation of the Hidden City Orchestra was the direct result of Abraham Lincoln’s speech known as “The Gettysburg Address.”
On that day in 1863, in the audience at Gettysburg, there was a young nurse named Alice Cunningham, who listened very carefully to the president as he spoke the address. The lackluster applause that the president received was by no measure an indication of the fiery inspiration that it awoke in Alice’s head.
After hearing the president’s thoughts about freedom, coincidence and the intention that all of us need to embody in our lives, she ran home, threw open the kitchen door and grabbed all the pots and pans from under the sink.
Running out into the yard, amongst the chickens and pigs, she played The Hidden City Orchestra’s first composition: “Real Time Hoe Down.” The cacophony of her reverie drew so much attention that she attracted a band of deserters who had had enough of the ‘unfinished work’ of war and were looking for a new occupation.
The deserters were from both sides of the fight.
When the band of men saw Alice performing her Hoe Down, with the sun setting behind her and the dust from the chickens rising from around her feet, they took it as a vision. They were so inspired that they immediately ran to the barn, found their own instruments, and joined the orchestra under her baton.
What happened next shall remain a mystery, but many years later, in his treatise on music-making, Dr. Faraday listed the following dozen rules:
- If you have to be either a soldier or a member of the audience, it is better to be a soldier in the audience.
- Listen carefully to all orders and then disobey them with abandon.
- Remember that we are all fighting for love, so when you put down your gun, go home immediately.
- At this rate, with so many dead, we will get to the majority of our healing post-mortem.
- Tea & cookies before and after each song.
- On all rainy days it is mandatory that we wallow in the mud and salt our pork.
- Keep an honest journal.
- Remember that we stand on the shoulders of those who are in the ground below us.
- The future is a hot air balloon rising on currents of useless oratory.
- When lightning strikes the battlefield, it always hits the field hospital.
- Taps doesn’t mean it’s over.
- There’s always room for one more rule.
Hence, a tradition began that is alive and well to this day…