Delving into Van Morrison’s  spirituality with local artists
Miles to Dayton bassist Dave March and singer/guitarists Hank Stone and Nick Russell gathered recently in front of the Congregational Church of Patchogue. They’ll play with other local musicians at the Sept. 28 “Spirituality of Van Morrison” concert.

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Delving into Van Morrison’s spirituality with local artists

Story By: NICOLE FUENTES
9/25/2014


Local artists including Miles to Dayton, Robert Bruey, Cassandra House and Hank Stone will channel the spirit of Van Morrison through their music at the Congregational Church of Patchogue on Sunday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. A $10 donation is requested but not required; funds collected will feed the hungry.

Morrison was chosen as the artist of this series, the “Spirituality of Van Morrison,” because Pastor Dwight Wolter looks for singer/songwriters who are able to trigger transformation. Musicians are “in a way little prophets, poets and visionaries being boxed and categorized by record companies and producers,” he said. “They are far beyond what people are exposed to and I am just trying to help people see them in a different context. I think that Van Morrison is low-hanging fruit; he is called the ‘mystic cowboy’ because his music sets up these trances [through repetition].”

House is a singer/songwriter who also plays acoustic guitar. Previously, she performed at both spirituality events of Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash at the church. She enjoys the events because they are different than your average concert, she said.

“It doesn’t just get shrugged off as any other concert,” House said. “The song isn’t just sitting there in the ether. It is explained and I feel people appreciate it and listen more when it has some foundation. Dwight chooses specific songs for specific reasons. They highlight lyrically or otherwise something spiritual within the artist or just something in general that speaks to people in a spiritual way, which is really cool.”

At the event, House will probe Morrison’s spirituality within two of his songs, “Moon Dance” and “The Healing Has Begun.” She said both reveal the very basis of human spirituality and believes music in itself is spiritual. “It is an expression in its most pure form,” she said.

After attending the “Spirituality of Bob Dylan,” Stone found the concept interesting and insightful. When Stone heard the next spirituality event would feature his all-time favorite musician, he jumped on the bandwagon and decided to perform as well.

At the event, Stone will sing two songs, “Listen to the Lion” and “Bright Side of the Road.” He said he will find the spirit in each of those songs and enjoys looking at Morrison’s music from a different perspective. “I tend to describe myself as spiritual, but not religious,” he said. “When I look at some of my songs and I evaluate them, it seems they have a huge spiritual element.” 

Over the past three years, Wolter has hosted similar events honoring Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Paul Simon, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, and the overall genre of the Blues. When the spirituality series first started, it began with just one musician and about 20 attendees, he said. Today, the event attracts anywhere from 100 to 300 people, depending on the artists and weather. Wolter not only hosts, but also writes the transitions between the pieces in an effort to tie the concert together. The audience should leave with a greater sense of spirituality, an uplifter to be sure, as well as learn a little bit more about who Van Morrison is as a musician.

House was enamored of the spirituality events, especially this one. “It is really quite an experience, something I feel like everyone should at least come to once,” she said. “It is more of a learning experience than it is just a concert.”