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A Remembrance of Arthur Jarvinen (1956-2010)
by Zona Hostetler
Jim, Eric and I are sad beyond words that we have lost Arthur Jarvinen. Art was one of Randy’s closest friends and a never ending source of delight and inspiration to Randy. When Randy died suddenly on Feb. 1st 1996, Art instantly made a gamelan like musical instrument for which he wrote the hauntingly beautiful “Out of the Blue.” It was played at Randy’s memorial services in Los Angeles and in Washington, D.C.
Randy loved to hear Art’s percussion in the California Ear Unit concerts and would sit in the front row so as to watch Art’s virtuosic technique. Art became a regular at Randy’s living room series concerts in L.A. in the early l990’s. He frequently contributed his own composition, inevitably something zany, out of the box and unexpected. After Randy’s death, Art continued to remember Randy with music, and in numerous other ways.
We will never forget Art’s dada performances at the first Randy Hostetler Living Room Music project concert in Washington. It was held at Randy’s old high school and one of Art’s pieces found him crouching on the stage with a slingshot at the ready. Across the stage from Art on a small table was an old fashioned pop-up toaster into which Art had put two slices of bread. Art waited patiently for what seemed like a long long time. The audience was patient too – until smoke started coming out of the toaster (Art had turned it up very high.) There was nervous laughter in the hall and worried looks over to where the head of school was sitting. Art didn’t move a muscle, remaining crouched and focused like a laser beam on the toaster. Then – finally – up popped the toast, off went Art’s slingshot, hitting the toast in mid-air – to great applause (and relief on the faces of those in the audience, especially that of the head of school.)
A little more than ten years ago, Art and his amazing wife Lynn Angebranndt came to visit us at our summer cabin in northern Vermont, a spiritual home that Art knew Randy loved more than any other place. Art and Lynn came again three years ago and bought their own home near us in the small town of Hardwick Vermont, part of the incredibly beautiful “Northeast Kingdom.” Across from their new home is the Town Hall which among other things serves as the area’s concert venue. (Mary Rowell’s Craftsbury Chamber Ensemble is in residence there every summer.) Art waxed eloquently about the opera he one day would compose and present there.
Art loved the Northeast Kingdom and it was a delight to see what complete joy he found in it – hiking its hills, fishing its streams, kayaking its lakes. He loved to borrow our kayak and take it out on the lake before anyone else was up. He taped its sounds. He was a superb cook and enjoyed finding the ingredients in local farmers’ markets. But he couldn’t find hot chili peppers so he planted his own in the beautiful garden he and Lynn maintained. Like Randy, he found happiness in all that the Northeast Kingdom had to offer.
Last Christmas, Art’s gift to us, in memory of Randy’s dedication to all things John Cage, was a small hand made wooden musical instrument that made no sound – a “silent chime.” This past summer Art left Vermont early – earlier than he had planned – to return to L.A. with Lynn and try somehow to recover his health which had not been good in recent years. Before leaving, he visited Randy’s gravesite in our village of Greensboro and left behind on a limb a musical instrument he thought would keep Randy company throughout the year; a simple long silver tube, a silent chime.
Randy and we loved Art. The one person Art loved more than life itself, was Lynn, who loved and supported Art through sun and clouds. She is in our hearts, thoughts and prayers today.
Dear dear Arthur. May you now rest in silent peace.
The meeting room was originally designed as a place for online discussions. We now meet on our Facebook page, The Randy Hostetler Living Room Music Project. (Archival postings on the website from 1997 to October 1999 can be accessed here.)