Book, Music and Lyrics by Jon and Sabine Sherman
|With their gentle vocal
harmonies accompanied by guitar and self-made branch
flutes, husband and wife musical duo Jon &
Sabine share their original eco-folk songs in celebration
and defense of California's natural communities.
love songs for a biodiversity hotspot that not long
ago was paradise ~ and could
be again! Through their compassionate, Earth-friendly style, they sing for
the unique waterfalls, wildflowers, oak trees, coyotes, mountain lions and butterflies of their threatened bioregion.
disruption and the extinction crisis. And they sing to turn the dominant culture around toward regenerative,
life-sustaining ways of living.
Climate activism since 1987!
delightful and heart-opening environmental education program,
eco-musicians Jon & Sabine
enchanting story about a dryad, the
spirit of an oak tree, awakening a man to a
deeper love and understanding of nature. In
creation of "Dryad ~ An Eco-folk Musical in One Magical
Act!", this husband and wife partnership tapped into
their combined backgrounds in science, nature education, music
and theater to express a mutual passion for the protection,
and regeneration of Southern California's unique, biodiverse, yet very
threatened natural communities. With its
ecological insights, this Earth-friendly
program offers inspiration and hope to all who love and care about our
"Dryad ~ An Eco-folk Musical in One Magical Act!" tells the story of a man visiting the oak tree he used to climb on as a boy, one last time, before it's cut down for a development. In his grief, the man slowly reconnects with and starts to hear again the spirit, or dryad of the oak. A spirit he once saw and talked to as a child and who now teaches him what he can do to save the tree. Before the play begins, the audience is greeted by the serene atmosphere of nature, with the beautiful backdrop of a majestic oak and a soundscape of authentic California Oak Woodland bird vocalizations. Nine original eco-folk songs are sung throughout the course of the play, in two part vocal harmony between the dryad and the man, with guitar and branch flute accompaniment. The two characters in "Dryad", the enchanting tree spirit and the confused human (who thinks he must be going crazy talking to a tree), interact with a lighthearted yet passionate sincerity dusted with enough acorn wisdom mixed with the magic of music to open, if only for a spell, the hearts and minds of even their most calloused audience members. And that is the intent of "Dryad", or of any dryad or tree spirit ~ to enchant its listeners into a deeper love for our natural world.
It has been said that we will conserve only that which we love. And it may be true. Sadly, too much of Southern California's unique and biodiverse natural landscape has been lost to forces less than love, that have only taken from nature without giving back, showing little respect for the sacred tree of life on whose branch we are all sitting. So, let's fall in love with this place! After all, it's a human need to love where we live. And music can help in this regard. We know that the power of song can help heal a broken heart, provide atmosphere for a romantic evening, or seal the bond of a sacred ceremony. But love songs need not be limited to human relationships. Folk songs of many cultures include expressions of love for a particular place in nature, depicting through lyrics and melody the beauty of a mountain meadow, river valley, or waterfall. Our musical play is built on this important, though neglected aspect of folk music. "Dryad ~ An Eco-folk Musical in One Magical Act!" is a love song for the bioregion of Southern California, a place that was, for thousands of years, paradise to the indigenous people here. And it could be paradise again. For despite how abused the Earth has been in this region, She is still worthy of being loved. There are many places of natural beauty still to be found here, to fall in love with, to write a song about. And in relationships of respect, gratitude and reciprocity, nature is very capable of loving us back. Then, there is paradise found!
Jon & Sabine at the Panhe Celebration, San Mateo Campground.
Jon & Sabine in concert on Earth Day at Mission Trails Regional Park.
Jon has been performing his original Earth-friendly songs at environmentally conscious events for over thirty years. As an eco-musician he is dedicated to being a voice for the natural communities of Southern California. As an artisan, Jon gives voice to the trees themselves through the branch flutes he's been crafting for over thirteen years.
Jon's love for nature was awakened at the age of two, when the wild, green pasture in the back of his Idaho home glowed with its welcoming life force. Later, his dad would introduce him to the rivers and mountains of that beautiful region, while his mom encouraged his creative and musical side. After moving to Southern California, Jon earned his professional theater credentials in the 1970's as a member of South Coast Repertory's acting company, performing in several of their main stage productions, including two successful runs of the musical "Godspell", while touring schools throughout Orange and Los Angeles Counties in SCR's Actors Mime Theater and children's theater troupes. In the late 1980's Jon designed and built an outdoor wooden stage, under the oaks, at the beautiful Descanso Gardens, near Pasadena, CA, where he started performing his original Earth-friendly songs. As an eco-musician walking his talk, Jon started using a solar powered sound system in 1989 for his outdoor performances. He has participated in many environmentally conscious events over the years and has completed 3 CDs of original music and poetry. In 2006, Jon started hand-crafting his own branch flutes ~ his Dryad Flutes highly sought after now for their quality of craftsmanship, unique natural beauty and ecological integrity.
Sabine Kurz-Sherman, PhD
Sabine earned her doctorate in biology at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, in Germany. When her scientific career brought her to the States, Sabine's heart opened to the beautiful yet endangered bioregions of California. Professor Kurz-Sherman currently teaches biology and environmental science at the college level, opening the hearts and minds of her students to ecological awareness.
Sabine has nurtured a love for music and nature since studying classical piano as a young girl growing up enchanted by the green forests of Germany. Her early work in the sciences included biotope mapping as a field biologist and electron microscopy research. Excelling academically, Sabine earned her PhD in biology at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. As a scientist, Dr. Kurz published 14 peer reviewed articles and presented her research at 22 national and international conferences. When her scientific career brought her to the United States, Sabine's heart opened to the beautiful yet increasingly endangered bioregions of California, her home for twenty years now. Professor Kurz is currently teaching microbiology and environmental science at the college level in the San Diego region, inspiring all of her students to open their minds as well as their hearts to environmental awareness. Expressing herself musically, Sabine performed for 11 years with the Latin Jazz band "Cadencia" on keyboards, percussion and lead vocals, recording 3 CDs with that group. Inspired by the beauty of an old growth forest, Sabine started playing the Native American flute to express, musically, the deep love and concern she feels for the natural world. Having learned about the branch flutes Jon Sherman was making, a musical collaboration blossomed and they have been performing together ever since.
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Jon and Sabine performing their original eco-folk songs
at Banning Ranch Conservancy's 20th Annual Gala, Nov. 2nd, 2019