Taking note

Art, music, poetry yield new song for Chris Vallillo

click to enlarge Taking note
Chris Vallillo at the Dana-Thomas House next to the statue "Flower in a Crannied Wall."
Chris Vallillo at the Dana-Thomas House in front of the statue Flower in a Crannied Wall.

Central Illinois roots musician and songwriter Chris Vallillo found inspiration at the Dana-Thomas house this summer. While performing a series of shows at the Springfield state historic site as part of a new music program called Made for Music (areas in the home were designed specifically for musical performances), Vallillo was captivated by a statue that sits in the entrance alcove and a song was born.

click to enlarge Taking note
Flower in a Crannied Wall statue
Another shot of the Flower in a Crannied Wall statue.

 Frank Lloyd Wright and artist Richard Bock’s 1903 terra-cotta statue, Flower in a Crannied Wall, is an interesting and beautiful statue of a woman either placing or removing a cube from a formation of crystals. On the back are two inscriptions: One is the Lord Alfred Tennyson poem Flower in a Crannied Wall, of which the statue was named after; the other is three musical chords.

click to enlarge Taking note
The back of the statue.
The back of the statue.

Says Vallillo, “This intrigued me to the point where I was allowed to examine the statue and photograph the chords which I then transposed. This three chord passage became the inspiration for the new composition.” After researching the house and the statue for his new song, Vallillo hasn’t found anyone who knows where the chords come from, what they represent or even why they are on the statue.

The seasoned musician adds, “I used the three chords as the jumping off point and tried to make the piece reflective of the experience of the house as I felt it. Being in the house extensively as much as I was, I came to almost feel a relationship with it. My goal was to write a piece of music that reflected both the poem and the Dana-Thomas house.”

Vallillo’s lovely song “Flower in Crannied Wall” (click on the link to listen to the song) will be on his new CD available at his website soon. The Dana-Thomas State Historic Site, 301 W. Lawrence, is open for tours Thurs.-Sun. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Submit poems or ideas to astienstra@illinoistimes.com.

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