L'Alba are coldest moments in the minutes before dawn.  The chill and the heat of creation are easily confused during those moments prior to the first light on the eastern horizon. 

"At L'alba I found the "first lights"; those moments preceding sunrise when great mysteries are revealed.   I lay in my morning bed beneath the hypnotic waltz of nuance and enigma.  The intimacy and distance lured endless delight and bewilderment exempt from the chiseled sets of answers required to survive the universe beyond the walls and windows of L'alba

During my residency, I wrote two works.  They are titled "20/20" and "the Cacophony of Rapture".

"20/20" is a medical term.  It is a measure indicating excellent vision.  Given the subtle and profound existential realms we are unable to perceive, "20/20" is a romantic concept as well.    "20/20" is 20 pieces inspired during wandering the realms of L'alba, Charleroi and unforeseen terrain.   It is an exploration of love and bewilderment.  

"The Cacophony of Rapture"  is a long piece capturing my response to hypersonic warfare.   Tragically, given the conflict in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin's madness has drawn the planet closer to this manner of disaster.

The L'alba artist residency is unique and as all things unique,it is evolving.  There are many artist residencies in the United States.

I am unaware of any program comparable to L'alba.   

I recall walking the halls and stairwells.  The differing aromas, temperatures and textures were palpable.  Sensing the complex history of the building and courtyard were inspiring.   I yearned for the greater truth.  I felt the temperatures of previous decades soak into my bones. 

I walked the streets of Charleroi.  The city presented the optimism of rebirth with new cafe's, museums, art and photography collections and world class live performances.   

It held it's history in tired hands as well.   My favorite place was a neighborhood corner bar across the street from a large and barren fountain.  I would sit at a table, glass of modest wine in hand.   

I observed the round shouldered men worn thin from the mines and factories that created Charleroi prior to the manufacturing juggernauts of Asia pulling industry far to the east.   These were proud and spent men sitting at the modest tables and bar.  I was deeply moved.

In the future, I would love to return to L'alba.  I would devote time to collaborating with musicians, dancers and a cinematographer.

L'alba, is the first light preceding dawn.  It is the subtle parting of lovers when the "dream of their union" is disturbed.  Too often, our lovers and our "dreams of union" are merely habits imposed by necessity or thoughtless momentum.   L'alba and Melanie's loving embrace of artist's visions provide both nest and launch pad toward unique horizons.

L'Alba is Belgium's unique and rare gem."  Gil Helmick