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Let the Music Lift You 

A dear and lifelong friend of mine died unexpectedly last week and, without any premeditation, he put me in the middle of a beautiful Eastern Orthodox funeral service that I saw from the church to its end at the grave, where I served as an ad hoc pallbearer. I will absolutely write more about him here and other places, as he was someone I knew since childhood and whose influence reaches so deep into my life that I can't visualize my identity without him. However, out of respect for his family and the dear ones who now live in the new shock of his death, I won't identify or try to eulogize him right now. Instead, I want to offer two thoughts on the songs of death and life. The first is just an appreciation for the service itself. The sounds were all vocal: choral and harmonious. Properly Old World. They lifted up something — or someone — very palpably and very high with their psalmic readings. We don't often experience grief this way these days but we all really fucking should.

Secondly, I was fortunate to have spent so many years in this man's wonderful company that I have a pretty good grasp on his taste in music. And if I may make a suggestion, please find a copy of Elgar's Nimrod from the Enigma Variations and try playing it at a very, very loud volume. You may experience tears, like many upper-atmospheric pilots and cosmonauts do, and you may find that someone — or something — gets lifted up quite a bit higher than you were ready for.

Have a stellar-bodied and heavenly week.

Thursday

A Reason to Listen spoken word collective presents its first Thursday of the month Humboldt Poetry Show at the Siren's Song tonight at 7:30 p.m. ($5). This installment is near and dear to me as the featured artist is none other than my middle brother and near-Irish twin Ian, who will be rapping his way through material in support of the release of his first full-length Rap Ur Head Around It under his nom de mic Rufian. Music will be provided by the stalwart spinner DJ Goldylocks and live art by Dre Meza. Sign-ups are suggested for those who wish to share their verse with the crowd at large.

Friday

The Eureka Chamber Music Series presents an evening of music performed by world-renowned players, specifically cellist Jennifer Kloetzel and pianist Robert Koenig at 7:30 p.m. at the Calvary Lutheran Church ($30, $10 senior, $5 students). On offer tonight will be pieces by Faure, Brahms and Beethoven, as well as a world premier piece by the contemporary composer Joseph Landers, who rumor has it, will be in attendance.

Saturday

The Arcata Interfaith Gospel Choir shares its holiday concert tonight at 7 p.m. at the Arcata Presbyterian Church. Director Kristin Kirby (also a Journal contributor — hey, Kristin) will present a playlist of sacred and secular holiday favorites arranged for the chorus of voices and a full band. Opening the night's celebrations will be a performance by the auxiliary youth choir, led by the talented director Lorenza Simmons-Phillips ($15, $12 students and seniors, free for those 5 and under).

An hour later and a few miles across the solemn oyster-seeded waters of our glorious bay, the Siren's Song is hosting a benefit show for the Humboldt Council of the Blind. Come join comedian Gavin Smiley and the ever-reliable riffy-ship Lord Ellis. And witness the debut of Humboldt's newest rock band The GoAways, with its familiar cast of local talent, including drummer Jay Forbes. Just $5 gets you in the door and all proceeds go to the proper coffers of the above-mentioned charitable group.

Sunday

Louisiana is in Eureka tonight as Baton Rouge/New Orleans DIY metal act THOU rolls through the Siren's Song. This band has an interesting personal legacy for me because even though I found one of its members to be tedious to the point of caricature during my musical days in NOLA, I still enjoyed the band wholeheartedly and continue to celebrate its music. Such is the enigma of catty backstage music-scene dealings. Anyway, the show is amply padded out tonight with the heavenly rushing air flurry of a 3,000-foot drop sound of New Orleans' MJ Guider, as well as the more standard drone-informed fuzz of fellow NOLA natives Mars. The fun starts at 8 p.m. and the price is unknown to this reporter as of press time.

Monday

Dell'Arte has a free show for you this evening, you lucky critters. At 7:30 p.m. Arcata High School will host the Dell'Arte adaptation of Jules Verne's classic Around the World in 80 Days. Past seasonal performances of the troupe's productions have been held at the amply seated but currently under renovation Van Duzer Theatre so, while this performance doesn't cost anything, it is advised that the public secure tickets ahead of time at approved vendors. These include Redwood Capital Bank, Almquist Lumber, Coast Central and, of course, the Dell'Arte box office in Blue Lake.

Tuesday

It's Taco Tuesday at Richard's Goat, which means that next door at the Miniplex you will find the salsa and cumbia dance party curated by DJ Pachanguero. Come dance to the sounds of hot Latin rhythms starting at 9 p.m. but going well into the night (price TBA).

Wednesday

Ahtziri Ramirez Quintana will be performing her senior flute recital at 8 p.m. at Fulkerson Hall. In the interest of promoting the burgeoning artists who are being molded into professional musicians up in the music department of Humboldt State University, I suggest you enjoy this evening's performance.

Full show listings in the Journal's Music and More grid, the Calendar and online. Bands and promoters, send your gig info, preferably with a high-res photo or two, to music@northcoastjournal.com.

Collin Yeo lives in Arcata.

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Collin Yeo

Collin Yeo

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