Sound of Gong Signals Grief and Anticipation in Wake of Pandemic Year

Georgia College Music Department Chair Don Parker plays a gong with two mallets during This Moment in Time. The hourlong public event formed the local celebration of Make Music Day. Photo by Michael Gillett
Georgia College Music Department Chair Don Parker plays a gong with two mallets during This Moment in Time. The hourlong public event formed the local celebration of Make Music Day. Photo by Michael Gillett

Each year on or around the Summer Solstice, musicians and music lovers around the world come together to fill the year’s longest day with song, from beginning to end.

Make Music Day began in 1982 in France and has spread around the world in the years since. During the celebration, people gather together in public and play music between noon and 1 p.m. local time. With celebrants in more than 1,000 cities across 120 counties, the public performance of music spans the globe and all 24 time zones.

Following the isolation, death and despair of the coronavirus pandemic, percussionists around the world formed the This Moment in Time initiative to reflect upon the devastation of the last year during this Make Music Day celebration. 

This Moment in Time transforms the ceremonial sound of the gong—often used to announce an arrival or the beginning of an event—into a lament for the lives and livelihoods lost during the pandemic and a call to action for the year ahead.

Georgia College Percussion Professor Nathaniel Gworek organized This Moment in Time for Milledgeville’s Make Music Day celebration.

Gworek said he invited local percussionists to join him for This Moment in Time to bring people together after a year of increased isolation.

“Being locked inside made people disconnect from each other,” he said. “I just hope that people get back to normal and start loving each other again and looking forward to getting back to [more of a] community feeling.”

 

Hear this audio postcard by WRGC's Daniel McDonald at https://soundcloud.com/wrgc/sound-of-gong-signals-grief-and-anticipation-in-wake-of-pandemic-year

You can learn more about the This Moment in Time initiative on the Make Music Day website: https://www.makemusicday.org/national-projects/this-moment-in-time/

You can see an archived livestream of the Milledgeville celebration at https://www.twitch.tv/mrjamdango/