William Eaton is a four time Grammy nominee, who has performed on stages large and small, he is a designer and builder of unique guitars that have been written about and exhibited internationally, and he is the director of the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery, the longest running guitar making school in North America, located in downtown Phoenix. In addition, he and his wife Christie run The Old Town Center for the Arts, a performing arts center in Cottonwood. Also this year, after almost a forty year hiatus from the sport, he is the number one pole vaulter in the USA in his age category.
For thirty years at Spirit of the Senses salons, William Eaton has been performing inside interesting acoustic environments to enhance the experience of listening to sound and music. Once Monitor Radio recorded his performance a half mile deep inside a 20’ diameter cement drainage pipe, several times William explored the soundscapes of the three story tiled office lobby, another time a performance was created in a desert canyon, another time inside a planetarium, and once at a home that was made of boulders. In the Spring for Spirit of the Senses, William will be performing inside an atrium. These musical acoustic experiences have been called Mystery Sound Environments.
The many other Spirit of the Senses salon performances, that involve classical or jazz forms of music, also have much musical intimacy and engage the listener with rapture. The differences in the experiences may be that William Eaton’s Mystery Sound Environments also emphasize every sound in the space, including birds, unexpected noises, and the listener’s movements. There may or may not be familiar melodies. The environments become a larger player on the experience, both acoustically and visually. The echos inside these spaces can engulf the listener and be a major part of the sound experience.
At a salon coming up in the Spring, William Eaton will also discuss his musical instruments, that are works of art. These guitars, lyres, and variations of harps, are exotic to see. Somehow his musical instruments at the same moment look both ancient and futuristic in style. His musical instruments become a part of the theatre of the acoustic experience that William offers. The environments that he performs inside then become extensions of his musical instruments.
Perhaps something that the listener can take away from experiencing a Mystery Sound Environments performance by William Eaton is that one can find mystery sound environments everywhere. In this way, the world is experienced as a special place that enchants the listener.