Retreat resonates with gong maker
By Jenn Watt
Published May 22, 2018
Ray Dillard was snowshoeing at Abbey Gardens when he first heard about the Abbey Retreat Centre from Heather Reid, operations director of Abbey Gardens. He knew instantly that he wanted to help.
“I dreamt up a permanent gong installation as a donation,” he said.
Dillard works in creative development for Dream Cymbals and Gongs, a Toronto-based company.
His vision is to have gongs mounted outside, in a forested area beside the retreat centre. Protected by a canvas sail to keep the majority of the snow off the gongs, it would be a permanent, large scale installation.
In the meantime, he’s delivered a set of gongs, which are being housed in a small building near the retreat.
The gongs have been tuned to the pentatonic scale and come with a variety of mallets that make each one sound a little different.
They’ve been adjusted to “ring like they like each other,” which means no matter how you play them they create a peaceful, warm sound that reverberates through the air.
Dream Cymbals and Gongs has about 22 employees, Dillard said, and all of them are musicians.
“It’s very therapeutic with the sound of nature surrounding you here,” he said.