Eve of the end of the Sabbatical: Symphomic Heavy Metal at Harpa

I experienced many firsts on this mini-Sabbatical. Maybe the most surprising was attending a heavy metal concert at Harpa, the extraordinary Reykjavik concert hall.

The last full day in Iceland was spent walking around Reykjavik. It was a glorious sunshiny day.

A knitting basket on the street in front of the local yarn shop inviting passers by to knit a row.

Enjoying the beauty of the city.

Stops for bites at local places. Our Icelandair flight attendant had shared with us her favorite places off the tourist trail.

The culminating experience of the day was a concert at Harpa. The music was a collaboration of the Iceland Symphony, two Icelandic choirs, a children’s choir, and the heavy metal band Skálmöld.

The audience was a mixture of heavy metal lovers, Icelandic locals in their sophisticated dress, and then a few folks like us.Years ago I read a book called Morning Sun on a White Piano. It was about finding the sacramental in everyday moments.

One of the chapters, as I recall, was about listening to music in community. The author talked about all the pieces that had to come together to produce the music, and then the audience’s response in hearing it–this mixture of receiving and giving created a concert.

I’ve never liked heavy metal. The closest I ever came to enjoying it was when my son was a part of a group called Animosity. I went to all sorts of unlikely places to hear him and his friends play.

This concert in Reykjavik was the perfect ending to this trip. Skálmöld’s music is written in the traditional Icelandic lyrical form and the contrast of their harsh style juxtaposed with the symphonic beauty was reflective of the Icelandic landscape. It was a trip to Iceland in a concert.

It was also a witness to what happens when greatly diverse people join and work together–the new and beautiful thing that can happen

There I was. A 66 year old priest from Texas, a grandma, rocking along barely able to contain myself with joy.

It was holy.

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