Thursday, April 6, 2017

Ten Hours of Mother Ann Lee

I have to admit I have a special fondness for Basilica Hudson's 24-Hour Drone: Experiments in Sound and Music. Two years ago, at the very first 24-Hour Drone, everyone gathered for the event poured out of the Basilica to join the reenactment of what occurred on that night in 1865 when the train bearing the body of Abraham Lincoln stopped briefly in Hudson on its way from Washington, DC, to Springfield, IL.

Photo: William Shannon

Photo: Dini Lamot
This year, 24-Drone, which happens on April 29 to 30, is embracing something similarly otherworldly: the reading aloud of the 1816 Testimonies of Mother Ann Lee, presented by Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon, which is expected to take approximately ten hours. The reading begins at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 29.

Mother Ann Lee, the illiterate daughter of a blacksmith in Manchester, England, was the mystic and visionary founder of the Shakers. She placed gender equality, pacifism, and a profound sense of community at the core of the Shakers' beliefs. Testimonies, a compilation of her statements and the memories of those who knew her, is a foundational Shaker text.

You have the opportunity to participate in the first endurance reading of Mother Ann Lee's Testimonies. Just send an email to expressing your interest, giving your name and contact information, and indicating your top three preferences among the following time slots: 
  1. 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (already filled)
  2. 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  3. 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  4. 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  5. 10 p.m. to 12 midnight
Each reader will be assigned a sequential number within the two-hour window and will be expected to read for ten minutes. The text will be provided, and there is no preparation necessary. Along with the opportunity to be part of this remarkable event, readers will receive "a free pass to 24-Hour Drone, a drink on the house, an adventure, encounters with cool people, and--just possibly--a moment or two of transcendence." Who could ask for more?

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