Yesterday I drove out to Enchanted Rock with my family. Enchanted Rock is an exposed portion of a giant granite batholith which protrudes roughly 400 feet above the surrounding Texas hill-country. Visiting Enchanted Rock is always fun, but this time I had a special purpose in mind. When visiting Enchanted Rock a year ago, I had found a certain place on the rock which I thought could serve as a performance space for playing guitar. This time I brought my guitar to test it out.
The space is about a quarter of the way up the rock on the southwest side facing Little Rock in the southern part of Echo Canyon. Looking up the rock towards the summit, there is a semi-circular wall or stair-step about 10 feet high which creates a natural spacial boundary like a clearing in a forest. On top of the stair step and centered on the arc, there are two large rectilinear boulders. Along the base of the arc, there are small rounded boulders scattered about. After testing out various performance positions I found that the space offers two good ones. The first is sitting on one of the small boulders at the base of the arc. In this position, the performer is a part of the landscape and close to the audience. The sound travels well but is not amplified. The second position is on top of the arc and in front of the two large boulders. This position is picturesque and grand, but the performer is separated from the audience and seems a bit removed. This position would work best if the audience is large and the first position would work best if the audience is small.
It felt good to play on the rock. There is something about playing in nature that makes me drop stylizations and pretensions from my playing and just let the music flow naturally.
As I was playing and testing the space out, I saw people taking pictures of me from afar. I can just imagine them saying, “Look! A guitarist!” as if I were an unusual specimen of wildlife or something. As I was packing up, a family saw me and asked if I would play for them. I obliged and played Leo Brouwer’s “Un Dia de Noviembre.”
I was glad to test out this performance space. Even though it is not the most accessible of performances spaces, it is a great one and has flexibility for two different types of performance. Now the project will be finding an audience.