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Aaron Beaumont's new song explores the psychedelic nature of Peter's vision in connection to his introduction to Cornelius as described in Acts 10.

Acts 10

Narwhal and Ocelot (Dietary Restrictions)


Aaron Beaumont


Curated by: 


Image by Giorgio Trovato

Primary Scripture

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Acts 10 is an incredible – and incredibly wacky – story. Intense heat, a meditation sesh on a seaside rooftop, culminating in a trance in which exotic animals appear out of thin air THREE times. It might be raving mad or psychedelic – either way, Peter definitely looks kind of like a person who, I confess, I would take pains not to sit by on the subway. This made me wonder, “What WOULD this story look like if it happened today? What would I have done in Peter’s shoes?” That’s the basis of Narwhal and Ocelot… that, plus, the irresistible opportunity to (as a theater writer and all around word-play dork) come up with a bunch of rhymes for “ocelot,” which I’ve never had an excuse to work into a lyric (and it was still a stretch) #lifegoals.

Here, Joppa becomes L.A., my beloved former home and a place not especially scared of a little casual afternoon rooftop meditation (possibly paired with hot yoga). Also, Peter’s dietary restrictions – so L.A.! Having grown up a vegetarian, I get it, and still dabble. For instance, I too would abstain from eating narwhal and ocelot, probably even if I thought it was the Lord’s bidding?

And therein lies the crux of this story for me: it isn’t simply that Peter gets this zany vision, but rather, that he also acts on it, traveling to a whole new city to rendezvous with an officer from foreign occupying forces. Highly taboo. And from what I understand, the outcome of all these absurd, weird decisions was (likely) the first non-Jewish Christian community. I, for one, as a healthy skeptic, given to perhaps excessive rationalization, would probably have dismissed this vision out of hand (perhaps even as a byproduct of the “shellfish that I ate”). But then, as an artist, and moreover, as a human, I’m constantly challenged to act on a tenuous vision – to organize my life around a conception of reality that is frequently at odds with the actual reality I’m confronted with.

In a recent interview, Todd Rundgren says something to the effect that he’s an idealist, and boldly believes in a bright future for humanity – and as a result, he often finds himself kind of angry at humanity for regularly challenging this organizing principle. To me, the Acts 10 story illustrates the conundrum perfectly: the problems of perception and apprehension, and the elusive, complicated, sometimes absurd, and often frustrating nature of chasing a vision. This time, it works out for Peter. But what do we do with all the days when the crazy, transcendent rooftop vision isn’t accompanied, and affirmed, by an ensuing knock at the door?

Spark Notes

The Artist's Reflection

Aaron Beaumont has toured the U.S. and Europe as a pianist and songwriter and been invited to share his work in wide-ranging venues from the Sziget Festival in Budapest to KCRW Santa Monica to the Tribeca Film Festival to off-Broadway Theatre 80 in the East Village to the main stage of the West Hollywood Carnaval. L.A. Weekly wrote that Aaron's music brings "a new life to the ancient music-hall/pop piano-man tradition, with clear-headed songs of genuinely witty lyrical oomph and, most of all, a historically informed musical depth – all delivered with style, grace, wit and elan, of course."

Aaron wrote one song, arranged two others, and served as a piano performance coach for the feature Permission (Rebecca Hall, Dan Stevens, Jason Sudeikis, 2017 Tribeca Film Festival), which premieres worldwide February 2018. He also contributed two songs to the forthcoming series Dan is Dead (Drake Bell, Maker Studios) and two songs to the indie feature film Alex & Jaime (2017 Roxbury International Film Festival). Aaron contributed an original co-write (“17”) and several arrangements to Gil McKinney’s 2017 debut album, How Was I to Know, which reached #1 on the iTunes jazz chart and #8 on the Billboard jazz chart. He also co-wrote “Good Love” for Briana Buckmaster’s 2018 debut album (#1 iTunes blues, #3 Billboard blues). Other recent TV and film placements include original songs written for Cedar Cove (Andie McDowell) and Where Hope Grows (Billy Zabka, Danica McKellar; Dallas Film Festival, Roadside Attractions). Aaron has composed original scores for films and theatrical productions, including All the Lovely Wayside Things; Tall, Dark, and Handsome; Heart; Until We Have Faces; Shrew; The Fire Room; the Breakfast Show with Adam O; Companion; and Beyond Imagination, winning best score and sound design at the Hollywood Fringe Festival for his work on Fugitive Kind’s production of The Fire Room by Ovation Award-winning playwright Meghan Brown. In 2016, Aaron wrote a commissioned work for the Spark & Echo Arts project, and in 2017 Aaron created a larger scale work as an Artist in Residence. Aaron also works as an in-house arranger, producer, composer, and mix engineer for the Gregory Brothers / Schmoyoho, whose original music has earned them a gold and platinum record and nearly one billion views on YouTube, along with myriad collaborations on other platforms. Recent Gregory Brothers collabs include the Justice League film (ft. Gary Clark Jr.), Weird Al Yankovic, Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bassnectar, Alex Wassabi, LaurDIY, Markiplier, Slow Mo Guys, Todrick Hall, J. Fla, The Resident (Fox Network), and the International Olympic Channel. Songs Aaron has worked on with the Gregory Brothers have received over 175 million plays on YouTube.

In 2015, Aaron participated in the Ultraviolet Music and Arts Festival in Los Angeles as a featured artist and presenter, and performed with his band The Mots Nouveaux for the 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 Rockwood Music Festival in Frankfurt, Germany.

Aaron wrote the music and lyrics to the original musical, Behind Closed Doors, which sold out every performance at the historic Hayworth Theater, received multiple Broadway World L.A. Award nominations, and played for thousands of festival goers on the main stage of the West Hollywood Carnaval. Behind Closed Doors was selected to participate in the New York International Fringe Festival as a national show, enjoying a mostly oversold run at off-Broadway Theatre 80 in the East Village. Aaron was selected as a finalist as a composer and lyricist for the Fred Ebb Foundation / Roundabout Theatre Company Fred Ebb Award for musical theater songwriters, and received the Hal Gaba Scholarship for Excellence in Lyrics from UCLA/Concord Records.

Aaron is currently developing new musicals with playwrights Meghan Brown, Andrew Crabtree, Peter Berube, and Cassandra Christensen, and a one-woman show with soprano Lorelei Zarifian. Lorelei and Aaron’s first musical triptych, Midtown Antoinette, was featured on NPR-affiliate WFIT in March 2016 and debuted as part of the Florida Tech / Foosaner Museum French Film Festival. Aaron also occasionally helps produce the outrageous bingo raves phenomenon, Rebel Bingo, in New York and Los Angeles, as featured in the L.A. Times, Guardian, and BBC, and recently played a run of five capacity shows in the downtown L.A.’s Globe Theatre as part of 2016 Night on Broadway.

Aaron has collaborated as pianist, musical director, and/or co-writer with a panoply of music buddies, including Jason Manns, Gil McKinney, Sara Niemietz, Tim Omundsen, Dave Yaden, Nicholas Zork, Aaron Roche, Nick Bearden, Emma Fitzpatrick, Amanda Wallace, Shane Alexander, Ben Jaffe, Brett Young, Courtney Bassett, Eden Malyn, Luis Selgas, Aly French, Sam Heldt, Karma Jenkins, Emily Iaquinta, Lynette Williams, Meshach Jackson, Roy Mitchell-Cardenas, Kamasi Washington, Chad Doreck, J.T. Spangler, and Katrina Parker. He claimed several distinctions as a young classical pianist, including two-time Wisconsin Academy Musician of the Year, Andrews University Concerto Competition Finalist, and the British Royal Conservatory of Music Award of Highest Distinction for Piano Performance at the Newbold Creative Arts Festival. He currently serves as co-chair of the Carnegie Hill Concert Series in New York, featuring leading interpreters of classical and New Music from around the globe.

In 2015, Aaron founded SongLab, an online songwriting community for emerging songwriters. The inaugural SongLab Series welcomed GRAMMY-winner Dave Yaden as special guest.

In addition to working with other artists, Aaron performs as one-third of the pop trio, The Mots Nouveaux, alongside vocalists Emma Fitzpatrick and Amanda Wallace. The band celebrated their latest album release with a residency at Hotel Café, a six-month residency at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, and residencies at Rockwood Music Hall and Sidewalk Café in New York. They were invited to join the lineup for the Broke L.A. Music Festival in downtown Los Angeles, where Lyynks music hailed their set as the “greatest revelation” of the festival, one that “really thrilled the crowd” of thousands at the Lounge Stage ( The Mots Nouveaux recorded a new EP in Spring 2017 with co-producer Peter Barbee / Among Savages, with forthcoming tracks slated for 2018 release.

Aaron released his debut solo project, Nothing's Forever (Not Even Goodbye), featuring the first ten songs he wrote, on Milan Records (Warner-Ryko) in 2008.

In his spare time, Aaron enjoys playing the piano, traveling, eating, writing songs, making coffee, drinking coffee, collecting records, going for brisk walks, being near coffee, and composing extensive autobiographical sketches in the third person.

Aaron Beaumont

About the Artist

Lightness of the Pines

Artist in Residence 2017: Aaron Beaumont

Aaron Beaumont

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