The Genesis of the Lost Chord Award

The first idea was “Pagan Grammy,” but it evolved…

By Lezlie Kinyon, Founder of Coreopsis: Journal of Myth & Theater



I have sought, but I seek it vainly,

That one lost chord divine …

(Arthur Sullivan, 1877)


The first time the idea of an award was discussed was early in the ’00s when myself and several aficionados of ritual theater had a wild idea that we should create a festival that celebrated ritual and sacred theater. The idea was dreamed up by Deborah Bender and myself at the wedding of mutual friend at Isis Oasis over (rather too much) champagne.  Advisory Board Member,  Kitty Crowe, was also apart of that original group, along with several others: all former members of either Magical Acts Ritual Theatre or The Starlight Circle Players, the ritual theater troupes of the Bay Area … and, a few whose names I don’t remember …

We planned for a two day festival of music, plays, and scholarship with a “pub” in the evening with live music and food. A web page, a list serve, trips to possible venues and a lot of meetings happened.  A name was found: Spiritmasque Ritual Theatre Festival and a society was created: SPRT: Society for the Preservation of Ritual Theatre. A very ambitious plan, indeed.

It didn’t happen because, while there was a lot of enthusiasm, there just wasn’t enough in the way of resources and community support to make it happen. Then: both Magical Acts Ritual Theatre and The Starlight Circle Players fell apart and disbanded (for different reasons). I will also admit to a large amount of naïveté in the planning group in the “how tos” of festival creation and not stepping on the toes of Other Pagan Festival Organizers.

Coreopsis Journal, however, found its inception during the planning process. The “vintage” subscription list of about 50 people are those who were initially involved with or who planned to attend this festival: a fairly diverse, international group.

The idea was for the society to publish two journals, one devoted to scholarly works (including the proceeds of the scholar-track of the festival): Coreopsis Journal of Myth & Theatre and: “Teasers & Tormentors” dedicated to creative works. The second journal never found its inception, although there was a planning member who wished to edit it, I don’t recall who it was or why it was dropped.

The name “Lost Chord Award” was such a good pun, and being fans of classic rock, we just couldn’t refuse. It was envisioned (and gone through several iterations since) as a “Pagan Grammy”: awarded each year to a musician whose music transcended all genres and achieved a high level of excellence.

A corollary award would also be given to a theater work presented at the festival as “Best of the Festival” (several award names were bandied about, but none was selected) and a similar honor bestowed upon a research work of promising worth to the field.

The second time the idea of an award – not named as the “Lost Chord” – came up was at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, when the Pagan Studies Salon representative contacted me through the journal’s email address in early 2009 with the idea of holding a “Pagan Music Festival”. Dedicated to celebrating the musicians of this (mostly) Bay Area Pagan community. The project was put into abeyance when the students realized how much was involved in creating a music festival … we were having a host of problems with Coreopsis at the time as well.  A long planned planned journey through South America that year meant that I – personally – could not give my time to the project, either.

The January 2016 Lost Chord Awards Dinner presented by Coreopsis Journal under the auspices of the interfaith Society for Ritual Arts will be the third time, and, as they say, the third time’s the charm.  Let us join together in a gala dinner celebrating our own, the journey we have made together over the past three years since the re-birth of this journal, the journey ahead in the Society for Ritual Arts – and- the wonderful work being developed by Sharon & Winter with the Portals Project: something that no one would have predicted in the ’80s when we first heard this duo sing at (the much missed) Ancient Ways Festival at Harbin Hot Springs, CA before a crowd of -well- maybe 50 …  a duo who now tour internationally and are headlining at the internationally acclaimed Faeryworlds Festival September 4-5.

Portals itself is a multimedia project featuring a veritable “who’s who” of independent artists from filmmaker Paul Nordin of EMB Studios, visual artists (for a planned book) Morpheus Ravenna , Laura Tempest ,  Zakroff, Valerie Herron and Shauna Aura Knight ; to a cavalcade of indy musicians contributing to the video, CD, other aspects of the overall project, including:

What a long and magical road it has been …

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