The way Rev. Dwight Wolter’s sees it, some of the work of history’s great musicians can only be attributed to those artists tapping into another dimension — one we all take part in, he says, though mostly unaware.
It’s what he loosely refers to as The Divine.
“How could someone like Paul McCartney at the age of 21, write ‘Hey Jude?’” Wolter asks. “For that matter, how could Paul Simon have written all those unbelievable songs?”
(Simon wrote ‘The Sound of Silence’ when he, too, was just 21. More at songfacts.com.)
“They’ve clearly tapped into something, and as soon as they tap in, they tap out,” he said. “Countless times, these musicians have said, ‘I wrote that song in seconds.’ Where does that come from?
“How does such a spirit select people?”
That’s a theme Wolter has been exploring through his “The Spirituality of …” series, which continues on Sunday, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. with what might be the biggest show yet at The Congregational Church of Patchogue.
Within the 420-seat sanctuary, The Magical Orchestra will provide the musical backdrop for an exploration of the spirituality of the Beatles’ two-disc White Album. Long Island blues legend Kerry Kearney, renowned Beatles tribute band Mostly Moptop and other musicians will also be participating in the event.
It takes Wolter about three months to script each show, at which he introduces the songs before they’re played by a local artist. Some shows in the series, which is going on four years, have featured up to 20 musicians.
The White Album contains songs such as “Blackbird,” which Wolter said McCartney wrote in a hotel room in Scotland while watching news of the race riots in the U.S.
“Bird in England is slang for woman,” he explained, giving us a taste of his Oct. 18 narration. “Black bird is a black woman in America during the turbulent racial tensions in a segregated America.”
Then he ticked off some lyrics:
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
“It’s almost like a sermon from on high!” Wolter said.
Those looking to attend The Spirituality of The Beatles White Album (click here for details) will be asked to pay $10, or more, or less, whatever they can afford, at the door.
Proceeds from past events have gone to the church’s soup kitchen, but this unique, orchestra-driven installation will go toward The Magical Orchestra, which is a nonprofit group.
As for those who doubt Wolter’s theory of The Divine, for those that insist “it’s all flesh and bones,” Wolter said “fine with me.”
“Come and know that your perspective will be honored,” he added.
He laments, though, that some people will be turned off from attending on Oct. 18, simply because it’s in a church and the word spirituality is on the event flyer.
“That’s really too bad, and I’ll tell you why,” he said. “Because there is a deep, deep spiritual hunger that I see in this world. And a deep, sad, tragic, spiritual wounding that has been inflicted upon countless millions of people who struggle for meaning, who struggle for purpose, who struggle to be welcomed as they are, and included without being judged or condemned and shaken down at the door.
“So if people so choose to mock because we’re using the word spirit, that’s fine,” he continued. “I’m aware people will walk away because of that. But I’m also aware that people will be attracted.
“It’s not for everybody, but it’s unique. People have never seen anything like this.”