airs web cover by david uzochukwu.jpg

airs - a rock opera

story development

producer

book & lyrics

 
 
 

airs - a rock opera

brockmann-andrade

studio album

released february 29, 2012

© 2012 fencesound

 
 

“Owen Doane is returning home by ferry to Manisses Island, a circular deposit of gravel, clay and rock, after serving a 6 year sentence in a state psychiatric lock down facility for rolling through a stop sign and driving a vehicle carrying two tourists from the road to strike a stone wall…”

 
 

brockmann-andrade

 
 

brockmann-andrade - steve has the guitar, george has the pencil

writing the lyrics

based upon a subplot to my then novel-in-progress “airs”

first time thought of immersive experience with narratives due to Brockmann’s evocative, cinematic score

sent Steve a 20+ page story - in English; all the “songs” were broken down - so the chapters-within-sequences that ended up on the album were pretty much set

I overwrote one instrumental - the first of many perfectly fine and wonderful Brockmann melodies that I would spoil with words throughout the years - which became the opening song, “fateful days”

thanks to david uzochukwu who graciously gave permission to use his photography as the thematic covers for my AIRS pages!

 
 

the track list

 
 

the voice cast

 
 

paul adrian villarreal as “owen”

gordon tittsworth as “owen” & “derrick”

tilman eckelt as “owen”

cornelius kappabani as “owen” & ”craig”

jan hoving as “owen”

antila thomsen as “hannah”

floor kraaijvanger as “annabelle”


 
 
winds-in-the-fields-david-uzochukwu.jpg

“The project’s structure, in five movements conceived like the chapters in a novel or the acts in a play, reveals Andrade’s literary background...”

 

 

prologue

words by george andrade

 
 

Owen Doane is returning home by ferry to Manisses Island, a circular deposit of gravel, clay and rock, after serving a 6 year sentence in a state psychiatric lock down facility for rolling through a stop sign and driving a vehicle carrying two tourists from the road to strike a stone wall.

Ferry Captain

“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome aboard the ferry “Manisses”. Our sailing time today will be approximately 50 minutes over calm seas.”

He had been drinking in an island bar at lunch, and was returning to a job site where he was a foreman for his father’s company of stonemason’s – Derrick Doane Stoneworks – when the combination of alcohol and anti-depressants that he had recently been prescribed caused him to drift from consciousness.

The vehicle carried a mother traveling with her 9 year old daughter, Hannah… and the accident caused the girl to suffer injuries that paralyzed her from the waist down, confining her life to a chair.

Hannah’s mother sued Owen’s father and his company, winning care for her daughter at “The Center”, an old home converted to comfort and attend to the island’s disabled and infirm. The building is situated at the highest point of Manisses Island which, ironically, can be seen from the Doane house and property.

As a result, Derrick suffered the collapse of the company that had been built upon the Doane family heritage of pulling stone from fields before harvest and building walls after milling grain since they had settled Manisses Island in 1664. In danger of losing the company altogether, he eventually was forced to sell to his oldest son, Craig - a further embarrassment - while Owen was still in prison.

Owen has been released from prison early with time served as a political favor to his father, who is dying…

 
 
 
 

fateful days

music by steve brockmann words by george andrade

paul adrian villarreal - owen

george andrade - ferry captain

steve brockmann - guitars, bass & keyboards

jochen ohl - drums

 
 
 

Owen

when I was a boy I played in fields by the sea

winds in the grass surrounded me

when I was a boy I watched my father before me

heirs in the fields surrounded

now I know there was no moment’s way to see

what I could have done to change that fateful day

and now I can see what I’ve done to my family

and I know that now I am not

I can see

an island at sea

I can see now that I am

what I am

windmills at sea

father it’s me

and I can see now what I

that I am

when I was a boy I learned to fly by the sea

kites in the air they pulled on me

when I was a boy I watched my father flying free

airs in the fields they pulled on

now I know there was no moment’s way to see

what I could have done to change that fateful day

and now I can see what I’ve done to my family

and I know that now I am not

Hannah

“I saw it.”

“I can see you.”

“I saw it.”

Ferry Captain

“Ladies and Gentlemen, we are now entering The Great Salt Pond. We ask that all passengers with motor vehicles to please go to their cars at this time.”

The ferry settles in and glides through the breakwater separating the ocean from The Great Salt Pond, and Owen rises and goes to the rail. Nothing appears to have changed, time seems to have stood still; the family home sits on a small rise up from the mouth of the pond, angled on the land in such a way as to bear the brunt of strong winter winds, with the long dormant windmill in the foreground by the shore, turned away from him and his return home.

And then Owen notices another, newer construction down by the shore. He walks the long rail back to the stern as the ferry sluices the water easily past… it’s most certainly new though it’s been weathered, a lookout perhaps, a post that resembles a lifeguard’s chair surrounded by a stone foundation. It sits at the very edge of the pond and is turned looking out empty towards the sea, dark under the overcast sky.

Owen

when I was a boy no mother’s voice called by the sea

she saved her last breath to give to me

when I was a boy I watched my father comfort me

my head on his chest breathing

no one knows there was no moment’s way to see

what I could have done to change that fateful day

and now I can see what I’ve done to my family

and I know that now I am not

I can see

father it’s me

I can see now that I am

what I am

winds of change

lives exchanged

and I can see now what I

that I am

The ferry throttles down and begins to slowly turn its bow around gracefully sweeping past the faces of the bars, shops and hotels hugging the harbor. Some have new paint and there are name changes to be sure but the facades have remained the same, though new lives no doubt walk those halls.

Owen watches the ferry churn the waters of the Great Salt Pond as it backs into its berth. The smell of brine is pungent. He breathes deeply and watches the dock workers catch heavy tossed ropes which they catch and hold and pull leaning back to cleat along the dock.

Ferry Captain

“Ladies and Gentlemen, now arriving Manisses Island … We ask that all passengers with bikes and on foot to remain on the upper decks until all vehicles have exited the vessel.”

Mothers call out to children running on the upper deck while fathers gather the family belongings; lovers stand at the rails and smile in each other’s, amused at the antics of seagulls that appear motionless before them, bawling for treats; elderly couples move slowly and easily to the stairs where husbands and wives assist each other down with encouraging words and gentle hands.

Owen waits to walk last out of the cavernous car deck and into the light on island for the first time in six years. He shoulders what little he has brought from prison, lowers his head and begins the long walk home.

 
 
 

grounded

music by steve brockmann words by george andrade

gordon tittsworth - owen & derrick

steve brockmann - guitars, bass & keyboards

jochen ohl - drums

 
 
 

Owen

“Why has my father been moved to my room?”

- he is no child grounded for life

“Why has my brother moved into his room?”

- he could have waited for Dad to die

consequences move like waves

self-sustaining, rolling fate

he is cocooned in my covers

my bed

he looks so fragile yet so strong

he is turned to the window

the air

the curtains rise and fall with his hair

“I didn’t know”

(I want to cry)

- I drop and it wells up from inside

the chance to redeem me

I’m by your side

afraid of just what I’ve become

Owen reaches for his father’s hand and clasps it as he lays his head gently down on his chest. He looks out past the billowing curtains to the branches of the large tree in the yard, and listens to his father’s breathing as he rides the small swell of his chest up and down.

Derrick slowly opens his eyes and smiles… and he cradles Owen’s head with his hand.

“I was trapped, Dad- in body and mind.”

in prison

the hell was I really?

“I would look in the mirror- see signs.”

my past

rushing up from far behind

“In the space between the bars,

I saw my life within that car”

the chance to redeem me

I’m dying inside

afraid of just who I’ve become

As he adjusts smooths the blankets covering his father, Owen can feel the disgust for what they’ve done rising like bile. Derrick Doane is a large man and this bed – Owen’s twin bed – can barely hold him. It reminds him of the bed in the cell that he was sentenced to occupy, his world reduced to a rectangular box of cement blocks.

Derrick

Oh, dear …

“Son … the air is just right ….”

Owen

I think he wants to fly again

he takes the key from the string on his chest-

I haven’t seen that room since a boy…

climb to the door at the top of the stairs

I turn the key…

and I just stare

the chance to redeem me

to turn the tide

afraid of just where I have come

 
 
 

kites

music by steve brockmann words by george andrade

tilman eckelt - owen

steve brockmann - guitars, bass & keyboards

jochen ohl - drums

 
 
 

Owen

dust motes float, suspend the wait of hidden years

floor to ceiling, tissue hung on wooden frames

designs, materials strewn upon a craftsman’s table

old tome, leather, turned down called: “The Book of Airs”

have I come home to meet this kite maker

“A man with his head in the clouds”?

I want to believe what was once lost to me

can be found

dust motes settle, fall the weight of wasted years

I see the kite he asked for, simple, from my youth

the tail is torn, tied fabric taken from the years

I save one last look … resigned, sigh at the door

when Dad rises to meet his own maker

will the skies claim their tears from the ground?

I have to believe what was once lost to him

can be found

when it comes time to meet my own maker

will the clouds empty, reform all ‘round?

I would like to believe we are fallen tears

on the ground

 
 
 

flight

music by steve brockmann words by george andrade

cornelius kappabani - owen & derrick

steve brockmann - guitars, bass & keyboards

jochen ohl - drums

 
 
 

Owen

I take the kite outside

through window open wide

Derrick

“You need to know that I forgive you, son”

Owen

the string clutched to his chest

the tail our family crest

Derrick

“Don’t be afraid to forgive yourself, son”

Owen

I want to change for good

I won’t accept my fate

out of convenience I am

I

Derrick

“The air’s just right.”

Owen

I take the kite on down the hill

the wind comes off the sea

sweeps up and surrounds me

I turn around, kite trembles in my hand

I lift my arms up high

I know this is goodbye

I cannot hold this kite down on the ground

I’ve never changed for good

I would accept my fate

out of convenience I lived

the lie

then it’s gone

in the blink of an eye

rising high

silent flourish in the sky

the kite shudders as it climbs, vibrating with a staccato rapidity that causes the tissue to buzz and hum on its frame

then it steadies itself with a shake of its shoulders once, twice, as it moves through and navigates the currents, much like the gulls that ride the currents along the shelves of the eroding island cliff faces, always searching, forever searching …

… the sun glints through the tissue of the kite as the struggle to climb diminishes, infusing the frame with diaphanous colors and light…

… once above the conflicting current of airs the kite twists and turns gracefully and playfully dives and swoops and then suddenly rises, soaring higher…

… a sudden gust of wind expands and lifts and fills the tree at the top of the hill and then dissipates, dropping branches rushing downwards, the leaves exhaling as it rushes towards Owen warm against the cool ocean breeze at his back…

Owen looks and notices the curtains to his bedroom window are blowing now outwards, he sees the string to the kite has gone limp, it’s simply flowing unabated out over the sill…

… the end of the long tail soon appears and drops to the ground and is pulled snaking through the grass. it slowly rises, floating up in a long slow sweeping arc low over the blades of the grass as it heads for the tree at the top of the hill …

Owen

I rush into the tree

to set the tail, caught, free

carved branches, healed, our hold on history

I untangle carefully

past slips from my hands and me

the last to go, blue ribbon from my birth

we take the same way up

we can control our fate

we all need some help to be

set free

I watch it fly

kite soars, rises to new heights

pulls at my heart

string trails away from all sight

 
 
 
 
 

current events

music by steve brockmann words by george andrade

gordon tittsworth - owen

cornelius kappabani - craig & the islanders

steve brockmann - guitars, bass & keyboards

jochen ohl - drums

 
 
 

winds of change i

Owen

mending walls and fences for my family

my debt to Dad, rebuild his company

good walls make good neighbors

I’ll start with the fateful site

“Brother, who are you to let me go?

Who are you to clear out all Dad’s rooms?

And where have all his notes and kites gone to?”

oh my God - they’re just thrown

in the…

“The root cellar!”

heirs

Craig

“I’m havin’ a baby – what the hell should I do?

Where should I fuckin’ put him?

A son to carry on the Doane family name…

if there’s nothing thanks to you”

Owen

“You cleared out all of father’s rooms!”

Craig

“The kites?! Is that what we’re talkin’ about?

You’ve always had your head in the clouds!

If you would’ve had your feet on the ground

you wouldn’t have lost your Annabelle-

Owen

“She left and she found someone else!“

I drove her there

I didn’t care

I wasn’t there

and his name is…

Craig

“What can we do now Owen - Dad is dead.

Look, I’m calling all the shots now.

You gave that right up when you hit that girl,

and I can’t have you on my job sites”

Owen

“I didn’t hit that little girl!”

Craig

“Just who the fuck do you think you are?

The house is deeded to the company…

too bad he chose to give it all to me

while you were in that mental prison”

Owen

“Dad didn’t give you anything!”

he had no choice

I took his voice

you voiced your choice

and his name is…

winds of change ii

Islander 1

“He appeared on island when you went away.”

Old Salt

“Married the Kingsley girl and settled in…”

Islander 2

“He gave your brother money - took hold of your company…”

Old Salt

“Rumor is he wants your property!”

Islander 3 joining Old Salt

“Like an ill wind brings an early frost -

so his presence in our island life”

Islander 1

“He is eating away…

he is-”

Owen

“-Coleman Burke!”

Owen decides he can no longer sleep in what has become his brother’s house, and so moves into the old windmill down by The Great Salt Pond. along with his meager belongings, he brings with him all that he can salvage of his father from the root cellar. he also carries with him the “Book of Airs”.

errs

Owen

“I drove her there…

I didn’t care.

I wasn’t there.

And his name is…”

“He had no choice…

I took his voice.

You voiced your choice.

And his name is …”

 
 
 

heritage

music by steve brockmann words by george andrade

gordon tittsworth - the narrator & owen

steve brockmann - guitars, bass & keyboards

jochen ohl - drums

 
 
 

Narrator

on the hillocks of history as the countryside changes below

windmills steadfast through bluster and torrent now standing idle and old

provided villages of men with daily bread

while parish alms and prayers filled every heart and head

Owen

the past not dead

Narrator

the Doanes were millers and stonemasons from mainland shores in 1664

posts and gears hewn from island woods, sails sewn from ships that brought them ashore

supernatural resource, self-sustaining winds of change

power coming from off the sea could not forecast long range

Owen

lives exchanged

I sit and read from “The Book of Airs” as aging timbers creak, shift and moan

chronicles and experiments to harness all the airs that have roamed

my father’s kites adorn the beams up off the floor

not tossed like skins off fruit - not forgotten anymore

 
 
 

experiments

music by steve brockmann words by george andrade

gordon tittsworth - owen

steve brockmann - guitars, bass & keyboards

jochen ohl - drums

 
 
 

Owen

from the ink and lead pressings my grandfather he speaks to me (1)

my father’s designs, reworked, the mechanics an oddity (2)

(1) Wade in to your waist and feel the polar pull of opposite currents…

… with your kite still in the air, submerge yourself, hold on, and feel yourself drawn out…

… serene suspension, rolling…

… womb-like muted sounds lull your soul

(2) Inverted flower folds sewn from the sails of either windmills or boats?

My body mass the tail: counterbalance in a parachutist’s harness…

… contrasting construction, resembling dormant tulips or a rose?

out of a job, I’ll have to recycle bottles to live

off to the pond, I need to trust and try not to misgive

 
 
 
girl half in water - david uzochukwu.jpg

“Andrade’s approach remains endearingly humble, focusing on the characters’ often flawed humanity...”

 
 

annabelle

music by steve brockmann words by george andrade

jan hoving - owen

steve brockmann - guitars, & keyboards

dave meros - bass

jochen ohl - drums

 
 
 

Owen

we traded choices made without a fight

on island winds awaken this old mill

off island ferry found you mr. right

now I pedal bike and cart up the hill

I would drift drunk through the island nights

now I sift trash through the pouring rain

I emptied bottles in exchange for flight

now empty bottles are exchanged for change

Annabelle, don’t leave me inside with this refuse

and I know that money can’t buy the one thing up to you

you shouldn’t have had to choose or lose

“Share Who You Are, Share What You Do,

Share Your Spirit”, the flyer said

stone and mortar, building walls that I did

though I would rather fly instead

Annabelle, I’m grounded inside from my excuse

now I know that money can’t buy the one thing up to you

no, I would like to fly with you

as rain drums the outside shell of the dumpster, Owen sits huddled amongst the trash and flips the hood to his jacket up over his head; rain is slipping through in rapid drops, patter falls over him, so he folds the flyer and puts into in his pocket.

though the event for the artisans at The Center has already taken place, he decides to ask Annabelle if he might still be allowed to visit and participate, but he wants to talk of wind and air – not stone and mortar…

… he wants to fly kites rather than to build walls.

Owen

“Annabelle, don’t leave me inside with this refuse

and I know that money can’t buy the one thing up to you

you shouldn’t have had to choose…”

“Annabelle, I’m grounded inside from my excuse

now I know that money can’t buy the one thing up to you

yes, I would like to fly for you!”

Owen finds Annabelle at her father’s market and is astonished to see her…

he’d learned that she’d lost an arm to cancer while he was in prison, but to actually see his dear childhood friend with her one arm…

he hands her the redemption slip and the flyer, and asks if he might have a chance. She pays him for his recycling, and then agrees to arrange for a visit by him to The Center.

on the appointed morning, Owen collects some of his father’s kites from the windmill, places them into the cart, and rides his bike back up the hill.

 
 
 
 
 

the center

music by steve brockmann words by george andrade

floor kraaijvanger - annabelle

gordon tittsworth - owen

steve brockmann - guitars, bass & keyboards

jochen ohl - drums

 
 
 

Owen pedals up the long dirt drive and glides into the crescent lot. he has a striking view of rolling farmland down to The Great Salt Pond where he quickly locates the windmill and his father’s house out by the breakwater. Annabelle walks out from The Center and greets him.

Annabelle

“I still love you

and I love our island life

but was it so wrong to search for life beyond the sea?”

“I still feel you

in the memory of my arm…

and I’m still haunted by the day you left in chains”

I didn’t want to let you go

Owen

“In prison time stands still.”

Annabelle

“But that’s an illusion”

Owen

“In fields the seasons change”

Annabelle

“Nature sleeps and she wakes”

Owen

“Your garden still grows strong”

Annabelle

“This island weathers the storms …”

and in the morning I wake and I rise

you drove me there

you drove me there

Owen looks at the group assembled for his demonstration, and is taken aback to see there is a young teenage girl in a wheelchair among the residents waiting for him. Annabelle takes Owen’s arm and pulls him aside.

Annabelle

“Please believe me,

you were drowning in yourself-

the boy I had known was buried deep beneath your skin”

“Understand me.

Though that cancer took my arm,

the girl that I know cannot be held and kept inside…”

my hold on you is more profound

Owen

“Is that her in the chair?”

Annabelle

“I thought that you knew?”

Owen

“I’m so scared and confused”

Annabelle

“Consequences for you”

Owen

“I ask you if she knows”

Annabelle

“Well … what does it matter?”

and in the morning she’ll wake but not rise

you drove her here

you drove her here

Owen nods and fixes his jaw and releases Annabelle’s hand. he turns from her and watches the young girl – Hannah is her name…

… she smiles and laughs blithely from her chair in playful conversation with a woman lying in a rolling bed while wisps of her hair fly in the wind and catch in the corners of her mouth. she is quite beautiful.

Hannah turns her heard and catches Owen’s eye, holding him in her gaze for a moment before turning away.

Owen

“Of course I’ve got no excuse…”

Annabelle

“You heard her mother’s a drinker?”

Owen

“She simply dropped her here?”

Annabelle

“And since we’ve not seen her.”

Owen

“My family pays the bill…”

Annabelle

“The price set for appeasement.”

and every morning I’ll help her to rise

you drove me here

you drove me here

you drove me there

you drove me there

Owen

I drove her there

I drove her here

 
 
 

fateful days ii

music by steve brockmann words by george andrade

antila thomsen - hannah

steve brockmann - guitars, bass & keyboards

jochen ohl - drums

 
 
 
 

Hannah

when I was a girl my mother played by the sea

she saved all her breath when I would plead

when I was a girl I watched my father running free

mom said: “Save all your breath” when I would

now I know there was no moment’s way to see

what I could have done to change that fateful day

and now I can see what’s been done by my family

and I know that now I am not

 
 
 
 

hannah

music by steve brockmann words by george andrade

antila thomsen - hannah

cornelius kappabani - owen

steve brockmann - guitars, bass & keyboards

jochen ohl - drums

 
 
 
 

Owen walks up to Hannah and introduces himself. she looks up at him and says how much she’s been looking forward to this day. he drops and sits back on his heels, shocked and amazed, and after a moment says, “Me, too.”

Owen

“I will help you fly

here… now hold the string

my father wrapped and held me in his hands…”

“I will help your arms-

am I hurting you?

Are you ready? Now… ok - let go!”

I drifted off went through the sign

look what I’ve done

I didn’t know - how could I know?

oh, Hannah

Hannah

“I feel you lift my arms-

you’re not hurting me.”

yes, lay your head and rest it on my chair

“There- why do you fly?

Owen, can I try?

I’ve seen you stand up to your waist in the pond…”

I’ve been in chairs more than you know

I’ve been pushed

You didn’t know – how could you know?

Oh, Owen

she had seen him in the pond? well, could she know it was him - had she guessed? or had Annabelle told her?

Owen can feel the excitement coursing through Hannah’s arms as the string plays rapidly out and becomes heavy with atmospheric weight and drag…

… Hannah’s arms bob and sway in his hands - and then she begins to laugh most beautifully, explosively, a laugh laced with the breathless giggles of a little girl, a laugh that had been buried away and is resurrected!

Owen looks to Annabelle and smiles, who he takes her hand from the invisible arm at her waist and raises it to her mouth, smiling back.

the sun glints through the tissue of the kite as it struggles to climb in the wiles of island airs, infusing the frame with diaphanous colors and light…

… and then the kite bows and dances and runs free, pulling more string from Hannah’s hands, reaching for the massive clouds that sail muted through the afternoon sky, trailing long shadows on the ground that sweep up the fields and swim over them for a moment…

Owen

I watched all signs drifting off

our hearts on strings

she couldn’t know – I’d like to show

oh, Hannah

Owen asks Hannah if she would like to fly from in the pond as she’d seen him – he explains that he has learned how to fly there from a book that’s been in his family since they first settled the island. he could push her into The Great Salt Pond in her chair, perhaps? she turns as best she can and looks to Annabelle with excitement.

Annabelle asks The Center’s director for permission to take Hannah to visit Owen, under the guise of visiting the windmill, and the director tells her that she sees no reason why Hannah shouldn’t be able to see “up close what she’ll eventually own – if there’s a God.”

for more than the first time, Annabelle begins to wonder if Hannah knows that she’s in her chair at the hands of Owen - and she wonders if she has been told.

 
 
 
 

the great salt pond

music by steve brockmann words by george andrade

floor kraaijvanger - the narrator & chorus

steve brockmann - guitars & keyboards

christoph “luppi” brockmann - bass

jochen ohl - drums

 
 
 
 

Owen is waiting for Annabelle and Hannah up at the house, sitting astride his bike as The Center’s van pulls into the drive. he takes Hannah from the attendant at the lift and pushes her into the empty cart. Annabelle sits on the seat behind him and holds on with her one arm as he pedals down the hill to the pond.

Hannah asks about what appears to be a large round tent in the field beside the windmill, and Owen explains that it’s a kite he’s building from one of his father’s designs, one he’d found in the “Book of Airs”.

he pushes Hannah into the windmill and her eyes go wide at all the kites hanging from the rafters. Owen opens the “Book of Airs” and shows them the charts and tables of wind and ocean currents, the flying experiments of his grandfather, and his father’s penciled in drawings.

he steps out while Annabelle changes Hannah, and then he pushes her, takes them both down to the pond.

Narrator

pushing her chair into the waters up to her waist

he sees her legs dead white shimmering below there

she wades out and holds up the kite

then holds the string with her, their fingers laced

Owen wraps his arms around them, her missing arm there

Chorus

and they fly

fly for freedom

currents deep and strong that pull them on

they fly

fly for freedom

currents in the air that pull them there

they fly

in the ocean of sky

Narrator

he says he’s learned of a way to reach the sky from beneath the surface

will she trust him to help her to fly from out of her chair there?

she watches as Hannah is raised - she looks scared from an awkward embrace

she holds her breath - eyes wide - waits in Owen’s hands there

Chorus

and she dives

dives for freedom

Owen holds her there, his arms her chair

she dives

dives for freedom

currents differing, she holds the string

she flies

in the reflected sky

Narrator

bent at the waist, he cradles her wrapped in his hands

his heavy breath ripples the water, her hair waves like grass there

she leans in and says, “that’s enough” - she sees the string still held clutched to her chest

with her one hand supporting her under, they pull her to air there

Chorus

and she flies

flies to freedom

currents strong and deep, inducing sleep

she rises

rises to freedom

she laughs and rests her head on Owen’s chest

Owen and Annabelle and Hannah

“We fly!”

Hannah

“You’re my sky!”

Annabelle

“You’re my sky…”

Owen

“You’re my sky.”

 
 
 
 

grounded ii

gordon tittsworth - owen

george andrade - spoken owen

seann jackson - spoken craig

leigh andrade - spoken rachel

nicolette collard-andrade - spoken annabelle

tony kost - spoken burke

steve brockmann - guitars, bass & keyboards

phil robertson - drums

 
 
 
 

Hannah asks Owen if she can visit again, so that he can show her how the windmill works. he says he would need to learn how to operate it, if it could still turn in the wind, by reading the “Book of Airs”.

on the way back up the hill, she asks if she could watch him try to fly his father’s kite and he says “of course”. at the house he asks his sister-in-law, Rachel, to call for the van while he waited with them.

Rachel eyes this odd group with curiosity and goes in to place the call. and then she dials one more number.

Owen

I read from the masters how to operate the windmill in the “Book of Airs”

turn sail and be aware of ever changing fickle face and wiles of the wind

then the vaguest smell on wisps of white surrounds the wooden gears

smoke! thick and hot reserved for only those who are lost and have sinned!

searching for the truth

surrounds me in the air

I see father’s kite a ball of fire disintegrating up into the air

fabric curls in layers like the sneering lips of demons sent to feed upon

oh no - the frames in danger of igniting within every flare!

I hear now a boat running off on the waters of the Great Salt Pond!

searching for the proof

disappears into thin air

Owen rushes up the hill to the house for the phone. Craig roars into the driveway – he had seen the smoke rising from a growing orange light on the property, as if a pit had been opened up by the Great Salt Pond.

he hauls himself out of the truck and nearly runs into Owen as he bounds down the hill to the mill, both brothers drawn from the dark in the dancing glow of the fire.

Owen

(spoken)

Craig! Craig!

Craig

(spoken)

Owen - what the fuck?!

Owen

(spoken)

Someone burned the kite – Dad’s kite, Craig!

Craig

(spoken)

Someone – wait - what?!

Owen

(spoken)

I don’t know! I don’t know!

Craig

(spoken)

What the hell are you talking about-

Owen

(spoken)

-the mill is burning!

Craig

(spoken)

Okay - okay. They’re coming. I already called. Here they come…

Rachel appears out of the night.

Rachel

(spoken)

Oh my God… what’s going on?

Craig

(spoken)

You didn’t see this?

Rachel

(spoken)

See-?

Craig

(spoken)

The mill, Rachel – our mill is on fire!

Rachel

(spoken)

No. I had no idea-

Craig

(spoken)

-you had no idea?

Rachel

(spoken)

-no-

Craig

(spoken)

-then why are you here?!

Rachel

(spoken)

I … I just heard the sirens…

Owen

(spoken)

Craig – forget her - help me turn the windmill! C’mon - we gotta turn the sails away from the fire!

the brothers race down the hill and lean into the long wooden pole sticking out at an angle from the dome of the mill and begin to push against to turn the rusted, deflated wheel on the end…

slowly the wheel tears away from the undergrowth and rolls along its path, rotating the windmill dome and sail frames away from the blaze…

… the Island Fire Department arrives and barrels down the hill. Owen and Craig watch their friends draw water from the pond and work to save the windmill. Rachel has disappeared…

… the flame roars up in a swirling arm that sways like a tentacle in the air and attacks the windmill, leaving broad black swaths across the stone foundation and threatening immolation of the wooden structure and the dome…

… suddenly headlights sweep up over the top of the hill and hold the brothers in their glare as an engine guns down towards them.

it’s Coleman Burke, who gets out of a “Doane Stoneworks” truck with Annabelle. he waits for her to round the ticking engine and places a hand where her arm would have been, only instead of flesh he grabs her by the fabric at her hip and pulls her along with him to them.

Burke

(spoken)

What the hell’s going on?

Craig

(spoken)

Someone tried to burn down the mill. Wait… who called you?

Burke

(spoken)

Well, what does it matter?

Annabelle

(spoken)

Owen – are you ok?!

Owen

(spoken)

I’m fine, Belle. I got out in time.

Burke

(spoken)

Oh? In time for what? He’s fine.

Owen

(spoken)

Yeah, I’m fine. But the kite is destroyed.

Burke

(spoken)

Who would want to do a thing like that?

Owen

searching for the proof

surrounds me in the air

searching for the truth

disappears into thin air

the fire is finally out… and that night Owen spends at the house lying in his old bedroom, in his old bed. he looks out the window past the tree to the windmill, the acrid taste of smoke still thick on his tongue.

Owen

I dove and found the book within the smoke and now I clutch it safely to my chest

Annabelle she held me with the strength of her lone arm though she’s still miles away

I can’t be more comforted than when she held me to her breast

I’ll sleep and wake to check for damage in the light of day…

searching for the truth

surrounds me in the air

 
 
 
 

kites ii

steve brockmann - guitars, bass & keyboard orchestrations

jochen ohl - drums

 
 
 
 

Owen awakens to a quiet house. in the distance, the gulls are already riding the currents of air above the surf. he looks down the hall and sees that his brother’s bedroom door is shut. he slips out into the hall and closes the door to the room he has shared with his father.

he moves quietly within what has become a shell of his old home. time moves on – things have changed. many of the faces smiling back from the pictures lining the shelves are unknown and alien to him.

he finds a picture of his mother nearly hidden, tucked away on a window ledge behind a curtain, and he picks it up and blows away the fine dust that has settled upon the glass, covering the woman behind his reflection there…

… a healthy young woman with thick blowing hair smiles up at him from beneath a large hat in a field of tall grass. he touches the glass separating him from the image, then puts it back in its place it at the window and goes to inspect the windmill.

Owen notices a hole burnt into the dome of the windmill by the fire. he raises a ladder, climbs up and peering inside is astonished by what he finds: a fibrous, undulating mass of material hidden up under the dome that trembles in the wind rushing over it, expanding and contracting in small waves that roll back and forth upon itself – tremulous - like living tissue.

he reaches inside and touches the “entity” and feels that it’s actually some sort of material. a kite? had he found his father’s kite?

Owen then studies the gears and levers on the underside of the of the windmill’s ceiling and realizes they’ve been cast from metal, not hewn from wood, which means that they’d been an addition to the original design…

… added by the person who’d placed the material up under the dome, perhaps? Could it have been his father?

he also sees that they’d been designed and machined to connect to the main center shaft and gear system which in turn was attached to the windmill’s sail frames…

… meaning that all he would have to do to engage the system (and thereby discover its purpose) was to - and then he sees it!

all he would have to do was disengage the levers on one, two, three sides and get the windmill operational for the “ceiling” to drop away…

Owen sets about repairing the four frames to ensure they had the integrity to support the sails once hung in the wind, and then he goes back up to the house and enters the cellar by the bulkhead …

he searches the deepest part of the cellar for the actual windmill sails, hoping they were still there, and indeed he finds them tucked away in a wooden chest under generations of dust and dirt.

he hauls the chest back up the bulkhead and out into the light, and then drags it down the hill where he carefully lifts the sails out and lays them on the grass to air dry. he takes the time to inspect the cloth for holes and tears, sweeping away the spiders and earwigs that scuttle over the sails, no doubt having infiltrated them from being stowed away in the damp dark for so long.

later that afternoon, Owen calls Annabelle to arrange for her and Hannah to visit again, explaining all that he has found.

and he promises a flight to remember.

 
 
 
 

flight ii

cornelius kappabani - owen

floor kraaijvanger - annabelle

antila thomsen - hannah

steve brockmann - guitars & keyboards

alan morse - guitar effects and solos

dave meros - bass

jochen ohl - drums

 
 
 
 

Annabelle

“How can we help here? We’re unable… of what use?”

Hannah

“Left in my chair here… I feel so small – and of no use.”

Owen

“Help me turn to the wind… I’ll haul, hang and set the sails”

Annabelle

“With my one arm, Owen I will hold to you.

Hannah

“My legs are useless, but I can hold onto you.”

Owen

“The tail to Dad’s kite… here, hold the rope - please help me fly!”

Annabelle

the windmill dome splits, opens wide

fabric folds fill with a massive sigh

kite tugs on tethers, trembling

long dormant petals open and they sing

with a flourish Owen is pulled away

into the sky

Owen throws his head back and laughs – he can’t help braying like a little boy! the island falls away, becomes a giant play set of toy boats sitting in the harbor and winking cars that crawl past island businesses, homes and properties … all so many rectangular boxes that recede beneath his feet.

Annabelle

“Owen, I can’t hold you - I can’t hold onto you!”

Hannah

“My arms are lifting - I’m being pulled from my chair!”

Owen

“Now I can see it all! Belle, it’s ok - please let me go!”

rising on the current of errs

staccato bursts and blooms full of heirs

no longer owing alibis

diaphanous against the deep blue sky

Owen and Annabelle

rope trailing disappears from all sight

pulls at our hearts

 
 
 
 

owen

paul adrian villarreal - owen

steve brockmann - guitars, bass & keyboards

jochen ohl - drums

 
 
 
 

Owen

when i was a man i watched my father flying free

he saved his last breath to give to me

when i was a man i held the girl i hurt to me

she gave all her strength to set me

now i know there was no moment’s way to see

what i could have done to change that fateful day

and now i can see what i’ve done to all around me

and i know that now i am

free

 
 
 
 
rolling-wave-currents-airs-a-rock-opera.jpg

"The genuinely moving storyline is also masterfully conveyed by Andrade’s keen sensibility and skill with words."

 
 

the album art

designed by matt willett