Singing Your Way Back to the Future

One of Dunn Gardens more imaginative events is coming up. It is called a Good Vibrations Party but is really a love fest of all the songs you remember growing up. If you went to high school anytime from the 50s through the 90s you will feel right at home at this concert. The Lake Boys are featured and will play the songs you knew. Through the magic of memory you will pluck the words right out of the place your adolescent brain put them. You will tap your toes and remember that time …. whatever it may have been.


August 1. Check it out. Not only is it a concert but it is a picnic too.


All this thinking about a music party brought me back to the blog I wrote in 2016 when we held a music concert on the Great Lawn. It is worth repeating since the sentiments haven’t changed. For that constant I am grateful.


Music and gardens have a long and happy connection—the art of one inspiring the art of the other. Paintings spring to mind initially since many artists have set their subjects listening to music in gardens. Manet’s famous Music in the Tuileries Gardens (1862), is one.  

It turns out, paintings are merely the tip of the iceberg when thinking of music and gardens together.  There are many iterations of the theme.

Sometimes gardens inspire music. A wander through YouTube offerings uncovered a light classical piece composed in 1915 by Albert Ketèlbey after he visited a monastery garden. If you listen you will discover it is whistled, but that feels entirely in keeping with the setting.


(As an aside some claim that music, or at least the vibrations, inspires plants to grow.  A British gardening commentator supports playing the music of Black Sabbath, noting that the blasting rock pushes the plants into growing while the soft dulcet tones of Cliff Richard puts them to sleep! )


Unsurprisingly, others view their personal gardens as visual music.  Anne Sheldon, played cello professionally for more than 20 years and believes music and a garden flow in similar ways. A song’s introduction corresponds to the path leading into a garden, a musical bridge takes a listener to the next section of a piece and like a refrain, repetition in the garden unites different elements into a whole.

There is also the Toronto Music Garden, its creation inspired by Bach.

So, even with a little thought, the deeper you get into thinking about music and gardens together, the more complicated it seems to get. Take, for instance, quotes about power of music.  

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ~Berthold Auerbach

Were it not for music, we might in these days say, the Beautiful is dead. ~Benjamin Disraeli

Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life. ~Ludwig van Beethoven

Substitute gardens for the word music and the truth of the remark remains.

All this to say, individually both art and gardens are a joy and even more so when they come together. When you are listening to The Lake Boys you will believe Friedrich Nietzsche, with apologies for the addition to his quote: Without music/gardens life would be a mistake. 










Lake Boys copy