Chris Dingman Wants To Help Others Find ‘Peace’

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Chris Dingman’s latest release began as a way to ease his father’s discomfort as he died.

(Photo: Zachary Maxwell Stertz)

A few weeks after he first heard his son playing in the basement, Joe was able to express how much the music had helped him, that it truly eased the ordeal of dying and started to “open up patterns of thought and being” for him. “He said the music was ‘designed’ to do that,” Dingman recalled his father saying.

The vibraphonist had no such designs in mind, but it’s easy to see how one could hear some evidence of a noble purpose.

For that reason, Dingman’s father felt it imperative that others receive this very same music therapy and began to give each of the pieces a name. Some of the titles are aspirational: “Life Without Pain” and the two-part “Healing Light.” One piece, which he named “Sky,” reminded Joe of a game he played as a boy, looking up and trying to discern what the clouds resembled. Together, the father and son decided on the album’s name, then Dingman found a friend to design some options for the album cover, and Joe made the final selection. Now that he was helping to create Peace, Joe had found another reason to keep living as long as he could.

Eventually, though, he slipped into unconsciousness, while his family kept playing the recordings he had cherished. Three days later—on July 16, 2018—Joe died, while listening to “Sky.”

Dingman hopes his album can now benefit others. He knows that because of COVID-19, many people are living out their final moments alone, afraid, confused, unable to breathe, and need something to bring them peace.

One day, the vibraphonist hopes to play for other people in hospice. But for now, Dingman’s found comfort in knowing that what he’s recorded still can be heard by people he might not know and cannot see. When he played in the basement for his father, he could not see him either. But he knew he was listening. Perhaps he still is. DB

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