Presented by Nonsequitur, with thanks to the Frye Art Museum and Historic Seattle.
Performed in the historic Good Shepherd Center on the wooden stairs leading to the fourth-floor and inside the Chapel itself, Welladay! Welladay! sweeps through 36 James Joyce love poems. Singing children, soprano Betsy Baeskins, and a piano trio (violinist Tari Nelson-Zagar, cellist Lori Goldston, pianist Tiffany Lin) perform in this site-specific musical ceremony by composer Byron Au Yong.
The music nods to the orphans and “wayward girls” who once lived in the building. “I am inspired by the Good Shepherd Center – built in 1907 as an orphanage and home for unwed mothers and “at risk” girls – and James Joyce’s Chamber Music, published in 1907,” says composer Byron Au Yong. “The title comes from poem 9 of 36. It is an archaic interjection. In a time of shootings and bombings, I think of love and find fragmented songs.”
Seattle composer Byron Au Yong creates ceremonial musical events where folk and avant-garde music combust. His work has been performed at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg, Jeonju Sanjo Festival and Tokyo Art Museum. Local works include Ishquoh: Where Sounds Meet for six children on railroad tracks in Issaquah and Kidnapping Water: Bottled Operas performed in 64 waterways throughout King County. His namesake comes from Lord Byron and Ouyang Xiu (歐陽脩), two poets who wrote about love.