Adam Perry Smith
May 18, 1965 - September 23, 1995

Adam Perry Smith, beloved son of Joan Smith and the late C. Owen Smith of Camden, Maine, died on the morning of the fall Equinox of injuries sustained in an automobile accident. The previous day, Adam had performed before hundreds of people at the end of a school residency in New Hampshire. A lifelong resident of Camden, Adam was a musician and drummer, playing with many local bands as he grew up. For the last years of his life he was a principal drummer for Arthur Hall, touring the country as an artist in the schools, touching the lives of thousands with African music, dance, and mythology. At the time of his death he was the music director of Ile Ife Films, having successfully completed the series of Ile Ife Philadelphia Maine memorial dance concerts three weeks previously. For the concerts Adam formed the Rhythm of Life Band, which performed at his funeral.

Adam had a sparkling personality and a high energy that drew many dancers beyond themselves in classes, workshops, rehearsals, and performances. His drums continue to reverberate through many films of the Arthur Hall Collection, and through the Obatala Ashe concert in his honor at the University of New Hampshire and the Rhythm of Life Concert in Camden at the end of 1995. Adam's spirit is one of the major inspirations for Arthur Hall's current production of Requiem, which had its premiere in the Rhythm of Life as "Requiem for Adam."

In addition to his mother, Adam is survived by four brothers, Nick, Sam, Peter, and Ben Smith, a sister, Susan Smith, three sisters-in-law, a brother in law, three nephews, three nieces, an adoptive sister and her husband, his dear friend Cynthea "Bo" Lea, and many loving friends and colleagues.

Marking the Tree of Life
In Memory of Adam Perry Smith

The last thing I remember, we were all sitting together on a stage
in our requiem for mothers this summer
Arthur had struck a cryptic blow to his ribs under his arm with his fists
that reverberated like a knocking inside an inferno throughout the performances

Karen who followed his potent lead
rose like a flame on a votive candle
to a brightness that entranced all the others
who were compelled to look directly at her

Unleashing his wildest nature
upon this place that must be blessed
Richardo's generous descansos
was in honor of female suffering

In the homespun shroud she kept joined at her chin
Pat danced from the crags of our minds
each moment gave birth to yet another more dear
as the cortege mourned on behalf of the world for the creator-Goddess

Kim went out on the snake's limb to retrieve her crown
that she hadn't known would be part of the bargain
the tears of her descent blackened a fertile earth
where blossoming profusely she now reigns sovereign

Unwavering was Van in the sea of souls
a rock directing the current to shore
he was anointing his flesh like a warrior
who weakens the forces that blame

Availing herself of the ancients
Rita was a beguiling tide
until the unifying purpose of their presence
was the spirit that prevailed

Diane was poised in the dank of the garden she'd sown
to get in touch with her grief for the Queen
born of dark moments are the flowering seeds
that emerge as long lost loyal subjects

As for myself, I clammed up like a sensitive leaf
was an embryo for the return of my soul
It arrived in me as an ambiance of light
that voided my mothers pain

Our accompanying cries were of such dire portent
they echo in the empty theater of this present sorrow
it is the curtain call that you're not coming back out for this time
as we chant the song "Wonderful, wonderful... night..." once more to seal our bond

Your death has absolved us like a spellbinding solo
I should stand reminded of who I really am
But that is hard when the many colored beast whom we embrace as ourselves
is really an open-armed autumn tree that will heal

Helplessly golden in the fall-out of your crescendo
now that the music has stopped in mid-leap
we feel the lift of the beat beneath the leaves which let go
to burn like rose pedals reaped from a common locust

The roots of it are sacred hands in the works
rhythmically connecting one God to all creation
their movement is a dance which opens a path
to miracles hidden behind subtle coincidences

In a studio so rehearsed it practically breathes
I never knew a conga could sound so empty
but as our hearts begin to call each other in like drums again
I know this must be where you have gone with your love

Our Miss D is a ringing bell
lifting and rustling her taffeta
a dance in which she will bloom and die, bloom and die
ever recapturing the undaunted gaze of your willful eyes
in a succession of completed turns

Adam, angels, talk amongst yourselves

byVeronica Wardwell
Celebration Dancers
Belfast Dance Studio

at right
the dedication of the
Mendoza School Yearbook
Mesa, Arizona, 1995-1996

Adam Smith and Arthur Hall, 1995

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