‘In Search of the Great Song’ trilogy next in Director Series

Submitted by Friday Harbor Film Festival

The Friday Harbor Film Festival is delighted to present “In Search of the Great Song,” an extraordinary musical documentary series directed by Michael and Doris Laesser Stillwater who were inspired by their “dedication to the underlying source of music and song.” Watch online Feb. 1 through 17 at fhff.org. Screen Individual movies for $3.95 or purchase a trilogy pass for $8.95.

“Shining Night: A Portrait of Composer Morten Lauridsen,” offers a glimpse into the life and music of the artist considered to be one of the greatest living choral composers and certainly one of the most frequently performed. The film features intimate interviews with him in California, Scotland and Waldron Island in the San Juans, interwoven with performances of his masterworks in America and Scotland and commentaries by music contemporaries. It gives the viewer a rare opportunity to spend a little time with this extraordinary man, who has derived his inspiration from the natural world. As Lauridsen has observed, “You can hear that its serenity, calmness, and beauty have crept into my music.”

“In Search of the Great Song,” explores and celebrates the universal current pulsing through all life in spoken word, sound and music. From the Australian outback to the San Juan Archipelago, from South India to the Swiss Alps the question asked of people — faith leaders, artists, scientists, philosophers, indigenous elders, and others — is, “What is the Great Song for you?” Infused with music from around the world, 50 remarkable responses cross borders of culture, faith, arts, and science, weaving a multi-faceted, timeless tapestry, a cinematic testament to our common spirit. This film offers a panoramic, contemplative, and existential overview of the notion of the Great Song in people around the world. Fifty voices. Twelve countries. One question.

“Beyond the Fear of Singing In” a society where people are often measured by the prowess of their performance, those of us who at an early age experience criticism of the sound of our voice, or find our singing constantly being compared unfavorably to others, may end up reluctant to sing. This film explores how this world-wide epidemic of silenced song is being met by an irrepressible uprising of the primal urge to sing. Drawing extensively on the spoken insights and original music of voice educators and artists from North America, Europe, Australia, and India, it presents a truly global perspective.

These films feature music by world-renowned composers Morten Lauridsen and Alex Shapiro, both residents of San Juan Island. Lauridsen is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts and was named an ‘American Choral Master’ by the National Endowment for the Arts. Shapiro’s music is known for her seamless melding of live and recorded sounds that often include striking visual and physical elements, and for her innovative uses of technology in her works.

Special Events!

• Directors Michael and Doris Laesser Stillwater, along with composers Lauridsen and Shapiro will participate in a livestream Q&A. If you miss the livestream, you can watch free online.

• A video performance of Water Voyages by Alex Shapiro featuring Sue Collado (clarinet) and Pat Nelson (bassoon) along with Alex’s photography, will be available free on the website.