Rain Chain

Solo Vibraphone
Duration: 7 minutes

Commissioned by multi-percussionist Peter Dodds

Premiere: January 2013, Boston

About Rain Chain:
My mom’s parents built a home on the south shore of Lake Michigan, and during our summer visits of my childhood I felt it was the most magical place on earth. Nestled into a hill steps from the beach in Dune Acres, Indiana, the house had architectural design elements of Bauhaus and the International Style. With an exquisite view of the lake, a breakfast nook jetted out to the northeast, and from its awning there hung an enormous rain chain.

An alternative to a downspout, a rain chain’s function is generally decorative, creating a water feature out of rainwater falling from gutters. Our rain chain was a series of big, thick, beautifully rusted chain links, which spanned vertically two full stories and landed in a curved pile enclosed in a short brick circular wall. After the rain, I ran out to watch the water fall–sometimes fast, sometimes slow, it ebbed and flowed in a dance down the chain. It sang a lovely counterpoint of delicate water smoothing, flickering over the chain’s hard, strong, weathered metal.