Artists gathering for peace |

Artists gathering for peace

Nevada County composers and musicians Terry Riley (left) and Mikail Graham (center) and storyteller Utah Phillips have teamed up to organize Oct. 2's "AWAKENING" 12-hour peace vigil.
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Speaking out for peace is not a new concept to artists around the world.

And Nevada County artists are just as expressive as their counterparts everywhere else.

That will be evidenced Oct. 2, when more than 60 Nevada County performers and the Nevada Union High School Chamber Choir donate their time at a 12-hour peace vigil at Miners Foundry Cultural Center.

Music, storytelling and spoken word performances in Nevada City will urge peace, protection and healing of the planet, said Mikail Graham, one of the vigil organizers.

Nevada County composers and performers Terry Riley, Utah Phillips and Graham came up with the idea of sponsoring “AWAKENING: A Sunset to Sunrise.”

“In so doing, we could tell the whole world that we as artists oppose violence as a means to any end,” Graham explained. “And by sending out such a healing, protective message, we could express our unshakable belief that together we can make a difference.”

The vigil is just one of many gatherings sprouting up around the world, noted Riley, who’s been a peace advocate since the Vietnam War.

“The event has several purposes, including to pull together artists united in opposition to a war in Iraq and to protect everybody on the planet – even George Bush. Who knows what crazy forces are driving him to become the world executioner?” Riley said.

“People are slow to speak up. We’re giving them encouragement to speak up. It’ll be too late after it (war) happens,” he added.

The three organizers have urged their friends elsewhere, including those in Australia and Europe, to hold similar vigils on Oct. 2.

Pauline Oliveros, a composer, accordion performer and friend of Riley’s since they were both students at San Francisco State University in the 1950s, is thrilled to spearhead a peace vigil in Troy, N.Y.

Oliveros, a research professor of music at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, immediately altered her concert plans on Oct. 2 to accommodate Riley’s request to hold a vigil.

“We had a iEAR presents! concert for Oct. 2 anyway at 8 p.m. with Kristin Norderval, a singer who is going to perform works she created at Rensselaer,” Oliveros said Sunday from New York, “and at 10 p.m., to be in sync with Terry, we’ll continue until 10 a.m. and play our own stuff all night.”

Oliveros jumped at the chance to join her Nevada County counterparts.

“We had a time, a place and an interest,” she explained. “I want to be part of it because I am for deep democracy and peaceful means and nonviolence. This is a way I can enter into this; making these kinds of efforts do have an effect. If you didn’t do them, they couldn’t possibly have an effect.”

News of the grass-roots event is quickly spreading, Oliveros said. She returned Sunday from a trip to Ashville, N.C., where a vigil is being planned. Her peers in Sweden want to do the same.

Although Nevada County’s vigil is free, donations collected at the Foundry will cover costs of the event that have been paid for out of organizers’ pockets. Any profit will go to the Peace Center of Nevada County.

The entire 12-hour vigil will be broadcast over KVMR 89.5 FM and on the Internet at

“Poets, songsters, ranters, slow talkers, fast talkers, deep thinkers and fun-loving rowdies will stay up all night to play and sing and shout and pray for peace, for a world tired of fear and anger, and for an America that at last finds out how to say please and thank you to the rest of the world,” Phillips said.

“We can do it if we work together and stay awake! Yes, 12 hours is a long sit. But remember: They fight with money, and we fight with time – and they’re going to run out of money before we run out of time,” he said.


WHAT: “AWAKENING: A Sunset to Sunrise” peace vigil

WHEN: 7 p.m. Oct. 2 to 7 a.m. Oct. 3

WHERE: Miners Foundry Cultural Center, 325 Spring St., Nevada City

ADMISSION: Free. Donations accepted


TO VOLUNTEER: 470-9797

County’s artists turning out

Artists set to perform at the “AWAKENING: A Sunset to Sunrise” peace vigil on Oct. 2 include Angelika, Rod Baggett and the Nevada Union High School Chamber Choir, Kimberly Bass, Alexi Bonifield, Rob and Christine Bonner, George Brookes, Bodhi Busick, Adrian Columb, John Deaderick, Bill Douglass, Haines Ely, Paul Emery, Molly Fisk, Diana Fox, Alasdair Fraser, Lorraine Gervais, Jason Graham, Mikail Graham, Che Greenwood, Barbara Higbee, Nancy Hill, Ludi Hinrichs, Stephen Holland, Dick Hotchkiss, Jukolin, Paul Kamm, Jeff Kane, Robert Kelaghan, Rick Kirkpatrick, Adam Kline, Last Season, Mara Leigh, Eleanore MacDonald, Gracie MacKenzie, Jimmy McCammon, Menlo McFarlane, Maggie McKaig, Ivan Najera, Nora Nausbaum, Tim O’Brien, Offering to the Sun, Chris Ollander, Craig Palmer, Paul Perry representing Music in the Mountains, Utah Phillips, Saul Rayo, Gyan Riley, Terry Riley, Rossigonl, Steve Sanfield, Dan Scanlan, Bob Scarlett’s Spirit Drum Circle, Shekina Sehar & Blue Lotus, Gopal Slavonic, Skip Alan Smith, Philip Charles Sneed representing Foothill Theatre Company, Alan Stahler, Jay Sydeman, Jim Townsend, Tynowyn, Tony Unger, Gary Upton, Loraine Webb, Luke Wilson and Zach Zyskowski.

Emcees include Steve Baker, Joan Buffington, Janet Cohen, Dawn Fischer, Annie O’Dea Hestbeck and Chamba Lane.

Some performers will also double as emcees, including Deaderick, Ely, Fox, Mikail Graham, Greenwood, O’Brien, Phillips, Smith and Webb.

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