Newport’s newly completed Doerfler Family Theater will play host to its first major performance this Friday, June 14, when author and musician Rand Bishop presents “TREK,” a one-man musical performance about a 900-mile pilgrimage along the West Coast.
Drawing on his newly published memoir, “TREK: My Peace Pilgrimage in Search of a Kinder America,” Bishop mixes some of his journey’s most meaningful encounters and events with a suite of original compositions inspired by this life-changing journey.
In 2012, after decades as a music business professional in Los Angeles and Nashville, Bishop returned to Oregon to assist his aging parents. For several years, Bishop, a Grammy-nominated songwriter, platinum music producer and author of five books, purposefully remained under the radar, pecking away reclusively on spec screenplays and his American Songwriter Magazine column, and only emerging from his quiet, ocean-view apartment for daily beach walks with his beagle, Millie.
“After 35 years working in entertainment capitals, under the constant pressure of ‘What have you done lately?’ I was really enjoying a relatively stress-free lifestyle,” he said, “just being a regular guy with a beagle.”
But in the wake of the bitter 2016 presidential campaign, Bishop could no longer sit idly by. A lifelong activist for peace, justice and equality, he felt compelled to do his small part to encourage people to engage in civil, constructive dialogue. On the morning of May 1, 2017, with bad knees, chronically sore feet, limited camping experience and absolutely zero knowledge about long-distance hiking, this semi-retired 67 year old dropped off a rented car in Thousand Oaks, California, and began a very long walk home to the Central Oregon Coast.
As one might imagine, the physical trials for a senior citizen pushing a heavy cart across two states proved daunting. Seemingly insurmountable grades, precarious bridges, wind, heat, moisture, hunger and loneliness were challenging enough. He suffered major break-downs, throbbing knees, blisters, lost toenails and a nearly mortal bellyache. One fateful afternoon, the earth literally swallowed the pilgrim whole and attempted to bury him alive.
But Bishop said those adventures are just a fraction of the “TREK” story.
“I started out distraught,” he said. “I wasn’t so sure there were still nice people in this country. Thankfully, I discovered something really wonderful. When two of us stand face-to-face, regardless of our differences, there’s something we can’t help but recognize: our common humanity. Meeting a thousand fellow humans, the vast majority of them nice, kind, and often truly generous... that’s the real heartbeat of this story.”
“Trek” will start at 7 pm at the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center, 333 SE Bay Blvd, Newport.
Tickets, $10, are available at randbishoptrek.brownpapertickets.com.