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.