By L. A. Trombetta

Rick Cyge, guitaristGuitarist Rick Cyge wound his way down Highway 89A from Flagstaff through Sedona on his way from Boston, MA to Phoenix in 1988 and was immediately smitten with the beauty of this tiny spot on the map. Ask him now and he tells the story of how a dream of returning here to live has come true.

LAT: As you relocated from Boston to Phoenix, your first visit to Sedona was an unexpected discovery.

RC: Absolutely! When we reached Flagstaff, we stayed for the night. After studying the map in the morning, I saw this winding little road that passed through a canyon and a town called Sedona (I had not heard of it before). I convinced my traveling partner that we should take the alternate route as we headed south to our ultimate destination.

As we drove into the canyon on 89A from Flag, I was stunned. Having no prior knowledge about this ‘well-kept secret,’ I had no idea what lay ahead as we approached Sedona. We only spent a few hours there and got back on the highway to Phoenix. That brief encounter with Sedona’s red rock formations and great beauty left me with an impression that would create a longing that stayed with me for years.

Not long after moving to “The Valley,” I was hired to create and manage a museum store for the Scottsdale Center for the Arts. It was there that I met and worked closely with Lynn, who was become my second and current wife. Although it was not our shared love of music that brought us together initially, it was discovering this mutual passion that compelled us to form our guitar and flute duo, Meadowlark, and leave our jobs to pursue the music together full-time, going on to compose, perform, and record our own original music inspired by nature.

We often traveled to Sedona to soak up the creative energy of the place and would perform in places like Sedona Creative Life Center and at the charming Bed and Breakfast, The Briar Patch Inn.

LAT: You say your compositions are “inspired by nature,” please, elaborate on this.

RC: A reviewer once described our original music and Meadowlark as “a priceless ticket to ride over the hills and dales of your imagination!” That’s what we’ve done—traveling to natural places and capturing the essence of the land, the air, and the waters in music that speaks of our experience there and shares that recharging energy with others. Because of our innate drive to be in nature, the more time we spent in Sedona, the stronger the pull was to be there and immerse ourselves in the creative and spiritual energy that fed our souls each time we returned.

After several years of trying to find a way to make the move, we finally crossed a threshold where we just knew we had to be there, regardless of what opportunity lie waiting for us. Being creative and entrepreneurial spirits, we were excited about the unknown and the challenge of having to create our own opportunities.

LAT: What year was this?

RC: We moved to Sedona in June of 2009, ironically, on my birthday. We’ve been here ever since.

LAT: What is the most interesting or unusual thing about your story that you would like to share?

Within a short time after finding a place to live and barely settling in, we met a very talented musician at a party who said something that really left an impression. He had been living and working as a musician in Sedona for something like 19 years. He told me that when people move to Sedona, one of two scenarios typically unfolds. “They either find their “niche” and thrive, or Sedona spits them back out as fast as they got here!” Whoa! That was a bold and profound observation, but somehow rang true to me.

I was sure then and am more so now, that we fit into that first group. I felt as if I came ‘home’ the day I arrived here and knew I was supposed to be here. Initially we lived for about a year in the Village of Oak Creek, and my projects and work brought me through the National Forest almost daily on 179 and into Sedona. It is a stunning and inspiring piece of highway with views of the red rocks that just don’t quit. The changing light and seasons keep the landscape ever fresh. I told myself that I was sure I would never take this beauty for granted and indeed, to this day, I am thankful every day that this is my daily reality.

LAT: Elaborate, please, on what your typical day is like, how Sedona might influence you.

Rick Cyge, guitarist, among the red rocksMy time in Sedona, currently is quite full of activities and projects that have all evolved from seeds that I have planted in my relatively short time here. I am quite blessed with ample opportunities to perform my music to new and appreciative audiences several times per week. This fills me with enthusiasm and creative energy for which I am ever grateful.

We live in a cottage perched on Oak Creek—the creek literally flows by our front door. We eat as many meals as weather and time permits in our front yard with the creek and lush vegetation surrounding us, and I try to get a walk in as many days a week as I can manage and feed my spirit with the visions of this magnificent place.

While Meadowlark still does concerts and special engagements, I currently perform weekly at three very different venues here in Sedona as a solo, fingerstyle guitarist. I truly enjoy all three settings. Each has a wonderful staff that makes me feel welcomed and appreciated. Sedona’s appeal to tourists means each venue draws a different mix of patrons, in all cases with a high percentage of out of town visitors providing fresh ears to play to each week.

I like the contact with these tourists who have come to enjoy the beauty here. They’re from all over the world, all walks of life and with each of my performances, I have the opportunity to meet new people and enjoy the stories of what called them to Sedona. The answers are as numbered as the visitors, but they all share a love of nature and awareness of that “special something” that Sedona is.

LAT: For you, what is the best thing that has come as a result of being in Sedona?

RC: The best thing has been the experience of being guided by intuition and spirit back to the core of my souls’ purpose. The passion that filled me once I discovered my life’s purpose and aligned with that purpose, or “calling,” fills me with a constant recognition that life is abundant and good.

Sedona feeds my soul. I love the seasons . . . just when your eye might start to take it for granted, it changes. I say “Thank you” everyday!