Making Music in Memory

SEARCH honored the life of Craig George earlier in October with the making of music. Tragically lost in a rafting accident this past July, Craig George was known—among many other talents—for his love and sharing of music in his community of Utqiagvik and far beyond. Memories of Craig were shared throughout SEARCH’s annual all-hands convening this October, but perhaps the most poignant tributes took the form of drumming, strumming, fiddling, and song. To open our meeting of Arctic minds in Anchorage, Alaska, Ayav Metcalf performed a moving atuq—St. Lawrence Island Yupik drumming and singing—of an Inupiaq song while Craig’s visage smiled from the projection screen behind Ayav. Following dinner on the gathering’s second day, the rhythms and melodies of guitars, violins, a viola, and drums joined with the voices of Craig’s colleagues and friends as renditions of songs from the Beatles, Billy Joel, Abba, and more filled the night. A select few even rose to their feet and danced and laughed as the lights of Anchorage dazzled through panes of the Hotel Captain Cook’s Quarterdeck. Through dancing, drumming, music, and song, SEARCH acknowledged the sorrow of our collective loss while finding gratitude in being able to celebrate Craig’s life and the good fortune of having known and worked with him.