Thursday, December 30, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Communicating love and care to someone who is struggling with life and death takes a heart full of compassion, attentive eyes, a kind face and a voice strong enough to be vulnerable. Doing this work brings meaningful life lessons – I hope you are ready to receive them.
If you are interested, please continue reading about orientation, rehearsals and bedside visits. If you know of someone who may be interested in this, please forward this to them.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Hello Sing Heavenly Harmony fans --
I haven't heard if the library is open today ... it was yesterday, amazingly enough ... but even so, I don't think anybody is able to maneuver very well in this snow. So stay home. Be warm. Sing about the beauty of Snow as you make snow angels and snow labyrinths (thank you Bing, Danny, Rosemary, and Vera-Ellen). Or yearn for Summertime (thank you, Ella). Or listen to the coming Spring (thank you random and unknown chamber orchestra and violin soloist) as crocuses, daffodils, and tulips start thinking about when they might start peeking their heads through the dark ground into the light.
The next Sing Heavenly Harmony is Wed, Dec 22, noon-1 p.m. Come for a little sing to calm your heart before the holiday.
An invitation to join a hospice choir starting in Jan. I will be directing a hospice choir in partnership with AseraCare hospice. If you'd like to be part of this group, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll fill you in on the details.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
- There are two types of steps to make. When WALKing to make a path or connecting rings, feel free to drag your feet. Other times you will need to take care and raise your feet high to not disturb the snow as you move between rings. I refer to this as STEPping.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
"There is a balm in GileadThere's something very soothing about the opening notes. Like the oscillating imitates the movement of a hand on a back that needs comforting. Or perhaps it brings back memories of having Mother rubbing Vicks on your chest, a real balm to help one breathe in the throes of a cold.
to make the wounded whole.
There is a balm in Gilead
to heal the sin-sick soul."
I imagine the African American slaves who heard and sang this spiritual were heartened by it. That they'll be made whole and that those who have treated them harshly would be healed of whatever causes them to be that way. This sentiment is still relevent to the struggles of today. At least for those who are able to wish all people peace.
There are two verses typically associated with the spiritual which Wikipedia lists. They're encouraging even when honest about the challenges that confront us daily.
Is it selfish to want more? I want to hear more stories about those who have overcome abusive power struggles. It is these stories that give hope. And so many need hope. I'm wondering if intrepid poets, hymnwriters and accidental wordsmiths have written more verses. Or would like the challenge to pen some verses. Are you up for the challenge? Or can you think of a friend who would be perfect?
If you're up to the call, copy those verses into a comment below or drop me an email at email@example.com. They may be used in worship services, but I promise to let you know we used it and acknowledged you on the reprints.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
One of my tasks as the Music Director for their new Progressive Service is to seek out music that doesn't typically find itself in the worship service, but whose words resonates with a meaningful spiritual life. How cool, right?!? I thought so too.
Want to join my fun in looking for such songs? I'd love to have you along for the ride -- there's millions of songs on this planet and I only have two ears. In particular, I'm looking for songs that fit into one of the themes for the year:
- Advent Conspiracy
- Marriage Equality & Full Inclusion
- Reconciliation (during Lent)
- Being Green & Earth-friendliness
Friday, September 17, 2010
More info on times and locations, see http://episcopalspirit.com/.
I walked in during the reading, one of my favorites, from 1 Corinthians 13. You know the one ... read at weddings a lot ... the one that ends with "and the greatest of these is LOVE." It seemed especially prayerful, especially holy tonight and I felt buoyed by all who were there. Like every one of these persons knew intimately, or were striving to know and practice the unconditional agape love Paul is writing about. A safe place where all were accepted.
We ended with three chants and during the second one is when it happened.
"In the Lord I'll be ever thankful, in the Lord I will rejoice!It was probably the fourth or fifth time, I don't know I wasn't counting, that I realized which words I was just saying and which words I meant. I got to "do not be afraid" and the dam burst. Tears started streaming down my face. In that moment I realized how much I was embodying the opposite. Acknowledging the fear, I couldn't hold it anymore and it flooded the plains and found its way into the valleys and river deltas. Releasing the fear, I was able to be at peace.
Look to God, do not be afraid.
Life up your voices, the Lord is near ..."
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Yikes! How did that happen?
Somewhere it seems my focus shifted to "I have to get this done!" It creeped in when the tasks were few and I was feeling confident and sure. And then behind the veil of certain confidence, the practices started to disappear. Like a land during a drought the faucet of rejuvenation had be turned off. Cracks appeared and thoughts started to worm their way into my brain. How did all this noise get in here? Where did all the lush calm mentalscape go?
I was able to turn on the faucet from time to time a bit this week. Watched a usually straight-laced guy boogie it down with Motown tunes yesterday and that brought a smile. I allowed myself to attend a folkdance and song group meeting tonight and gave myself permission to concentration my attention only on what was present in the room. I noticed my mind became more restful kindly gazing into the eyes of the other dancers, moving gracefully in time with the songs we sang. Reminds me of computers that need to be restarted from time to time.
Joy was returning, showing glimpses of her dazzling self.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
WEDNESDAYS, noon-1 p.m.
Unless there is a big event on campus, you'll be able to find parking on the street around the library (northwest corner of Summit and Cleveland Aves) on the weekend. For the mid-week, mid-day sings, I highly recommend parking in one of the parking ramps on campus (for a fee) OR plan time for a little stroll through the lovely residential neighborhood of Merriam Park-Macalester Groveland -- on-street parking near campus is primarily permit based and reserved for the early arrivers (and lucky).
Future dates will be posted on the "Public Events" link (see the right margins) while all events are subject to change.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Wed. August 25, 2010, 7 to 9 p.m.
7001 York Avenue South
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
- Wed, Aug 18, noon-1 p.m.
- Wed, Sept 1, noon-1 p.m.
NE corner of Summit & Cleveland Aves, St. Paul, MN (map)
Parking Information & Suggestions
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
I would be remiss if I didn't provide a bit on the bus schedule! Here's a list of buses routes in the near vicinity of St. Thomas. Get more at http://www.metrotransit.org/.
Parking at UST is especially challenging with the current construction projects in progress. Here's some tips about where to park vehicle while you sing.
- During the summer
- Weekends: Most campus lots do not need a permit during the summer, so please use them! The only restrictions are don't park in the handicapped spots unless you have plates or the hanger; meters are still patroled as well as other no-parking signs. Here's a link to campus maps -- use the handy dropdown on the left to see where the various lots are.
- Weekdays: Unfortunately, the campus is pretty busy during the week and the campus lots closest to the library are full. You'll find on-campus parking farther from the central core of campus -- consider it a warmup stroll to raise your heartbeat before singing!
- More details on page 12 of UST's parking guide.
- On-street -- observe the posted signs, take note of hydrants and driveways. Though you can get lucky finding a spot on the campus side of a street, you can also enjoy a lovely stroll through the beautiful residential neighborhoods around UST. Four blocks away is a safe bet.
- During the academic year, the weekends function much like they do during the summer. No permit is needed on campus lots until after 6 p.m. On-street parking is available university side, just mind your signs to confirm. The students are in their last month of the semester so they're hitting the books and campus hard.
Can't wait to see and sing with you soon!
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Regardless of the event's name, more community singing is happening ... here's the 411 on dates and places
- TODAY, Sun, Jul 18, 2:30-4:30p (co-hosted/lead by Julie Bonde)
- Sun, Aug 1, 6-7:30p
- Wed, Aug 18, noon-1p
- Wed, Sept 1, noon-1p
O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library, Room 108
University of St. Thomas, North Campus
(on Cleveland Ave just north of Summit Ave)
St. Paul, MN
Thanks again to you who shared personal requests about event times. The times will be in flux for a bit longer with a goal of settling down by mid-fall. If you'd like to add your voice to the chorus, click through to my earlier post about it.
p.s. I'm working towards presenting an Around the World in Community Song-like program, matching up Daniel Levitin's book The World in Six Songs with community songs in English and other global languages. Would love to have a cultural song from each continent -- if you've got a song to share, I'd love to hear & learn it! And I'm willing to travel (there's three more continents on my bucket list and slews of countries!)
Friday, July 16, 2010
Hope to see you there!
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Check out the Public Events link in the right column to see when the next public sings are. Opportunities are on Wednesdays in Jul and Aug so far and a few dates on the weekend are coming up too.
Sing on while you're walking on sunshine!
Monday, July 5, 2010
The sixth season of Open Sings begins this Wednesday with Gabriel Fauré's Requiem. Please join us if you can at Church of the Epiphany, 4900 Nathan Lane North, in Plymouth, just west of Route 169 at the 49th Avenue exit (map).
Everything starts at 7 pm with a rehearsal for about an hour, followed by some delicious refreshments. We'll return to the sanctuary then to take it straight through from the top, no stopping.
Singers and instrumentalists of all ages and abilities are invited. Thanks to Bethel University, we have scores to lend, or you can bring your own. Music stands are also provided.
The orchestration is 2 bassoon, 4 horn, 2 trumpet, harp, organ, strings (lots of viola and cello; solo violin only). Any volunteers for the solo violin part?
Our soloists are Beth Jeddeloh and Steve Rosas, two incredible singers recently graduated from Luther College. Beth is also a product of the wonderful choral program at Armstrong High School, and has appeared in a number of musical theatre and opera productions. Steve was baritone section leader in Luther's Nordic Choir and also sang in several operas there.
Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) began writing his Requiem at the age of 42, at the height of his creative powers. A master of lyricism, Fauré brought to the ancient text a rich and subtle beauty. Again and again throughout the work he returns to the theme of light, creating some of the most sublime moments in all of music.
Admission is free, but if you would like to contribute, our charity for the evening is Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity. A representative will speak to us briefly about Habitat's work. We suggest a donation of $10 — every dime we collect goes to Habitat.
This season includes three other works, all on Wednesdays in July:
- July 14 - Vivaldi Gloria - to benefit the National Alliance on Mental Illness
- 2 tpt, 2 oboe, 1 bssn, violin 1 & 2, viola, cello, bass - parts available here
- July 21 - Mozart Requiem - to benefit Emergency Foodshelf Network
- 2 clarinets or basset horns, 2 bssn, 2 tpt, 3 tbn, timp, violin 1 & 2, viola, cello, bass - parts available here
- July 28 - Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem (in English) - to benefit City House
- 3 fl (3=picc), 2 ob, 2 cl, 2 bssn, 1 cbssn, 4 hn, 2 tpt, 3 tbn, 1 tuba, timp, harp, violin 1 & 2, viola 1 & 2, cello 1 & 2, bass - parts available here
If you have any questions, ideas, criticisms, or suggestions, please email me - firstname.lastname@example.org - or call 612 850-9208.
See you Wednesday!
Saturday, July 3, 2010
If you haven't completed a Doodle poll, here's what to do: First enter your name or pseudonym in the "Your name" box. Then select the green-yes; yellow-maybe; or red-no for each column-date/time combination. Save your selections. If your preferred option isn't listed, you can let me know what it is by adding a comment. Look for the "Add a comment" lower on the page.
Another thing I have been mulling about is the words used in the acronym, SHH. Sing is set -- unless there's a different better than sliced bread word to describe what we're doing, Sing is staying. It's my 'H' words that I'm waffly about. Harmony is a good musical and group term for what we're doing. It's that Heavenly word that I'm thinking about swapping out. It has religious connotations that I worry may stear some folks away from the activity. Using "holy" is the same, although I personally believe one should make the ordinary everyday activities holy. What if I used "healing?" Some folks swear music is the magic balm for their souls. I'm not about to argue with them, but I'm afraid of using Healing in the title. It feels too much like a promise -- one that I can't keep. What do you think of "Sing Harmony Here @ [location of your choice]?" "Here" isn't very descriptive, but it also avoids the heebie-jeebies of the others. I'm open to suggestions -- Add a comment here, on the Doodle poll or drop me an email at email@example.com.
Thanks for sharing your input! I plan to schedule some sings shortly and use your feedback in the short and long term. Stay tuned for details!
Saturday, June 26, 2010
How did you guess I would say "make music"?
My theory is this: to help pass the time in enjoyable ways that rested their usual mental state (or stretched them in a different intellectual way) they made music together. (I will also accept the answers of baking/cooking together, build things (like barns) together, create craft/handiwork together, but this is a music blog!)
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Sun, Jun 27, 4-6 p.m.
O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library, Room 108
University of St. Thomas, North Campus
(roughly the corner of Summit and Cleveland Aves - campus map)
St. Paul, MN
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
What was said to the roseYummy sentiment. Yummy melody. Rumi, you are amazing. And dear composer that is yet unknown to me, thank you. And Jules, thanks for bringing it to SHH!
that made it open
was said to me here in my chest.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Wed, Jun 9, noon-1 p.m.
Sun, Jun 27, 4-6 p.m.
O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library, Room 108
University of St. Thomas, North Campus
(roughly the corner of Summit and Cleveland Aves)
St. Paul, MN
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Except when there's something missing and there seems to be no relief in sight. Then I'll step up to the plate to help fill in the gap. Happened when I was in college - the music library didn't have very many operating hours and a fellow classmate was having a hard time getting there to checkout the reserves for the piano rep class we were taking. Guess who volunteered to work so the library was open more hours? Moi. As you can imagine, it happened in a few areas of my life.
Earlier this spring one of my favorite activities, a monthly song circle, was going on hiatus for not just one but two months. The room was booked or the leader was out of town. Singing is one of the expressive ways I keep my sanity so not having this outlet for 12 weeks was like being asked to starve. So, I took matters into my own hands. I found a room for a group to sing in, booked it, gave the event a name and let folks know.
You may be wondering why in the land of 10,000 choirs I didn't just jump into a church choir or another community chorus? A couple of reasons: 1) as a choir director in a church, my role is to plan and lead. I needed an outlet where I could just show up. 2) ten years of classical voice training had freed a lot of my vocal technique into big sounds that some conductors don't like sticking out in choruses (unless it's opera and you're trying to sound like a crowd of different voices:). 3) growing up in school and church choirs, I was surrounded by structure. All well and good, but I was ready for a change to expand my improvisation experiences.
More events are being tentatively scheduled for Jul and Aug -- check the "Public Events" link in the right column of the blog for the next scheduled opts. If you'd like SHH! at your library or community singing for your private or public event, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blessings on your gap filling measures!
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Two very good suggestions came in: Woody Guthrie's This Land is Your Land and Finlandia. Thank you Jules and Larye! (Nobody agreed or disagreed with LEV&S)
TLIYL is great. The first and last line of each verse says it all: This land is your land, this land is my land/This land was made for you and me. Interesting history: Did you know there are seven verses for TLIYL? After the first verse of redwood forests that everyone knows, verses 2-4 are more beautiful images of our country (or any country for that matter) while the last three are political commentary on personal freedom, property, and hungry folks and in the case of the latter two, usually censored. Bruce Springsteen, Pete Seeger, and Seeger's grandson, Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, lead ALL of the verses at Obama's Inauguration Celebration Concert on the Mall. Cool. I have biographies of Guthrie & Seeger that I've been meaning to read and this nudged me to get on it.
FINLANDIA the tune (btw I'm not yelling at you - it's common practice for hymn tune names to be in CAPS) and more specifically the poem "This is my song" (many poets have been inspired to wax eloquent to the lyric meter of this hymntune) have been hanging out in my consciousness for awhile. As a music major and later music library staffer I knew of Sibelius' tone poem but didn't really give it much attention. Last year I sang "This is my song" at a community sing, but since it was an aural tradition event I was preoccupied with the unfamiliar melody and words to really take it in as a whole. This gave me the opportunity to dig into the beautiful tune and amazing words acknowledging our universal needs and wishes. I haven't memorized it, but think I will.
So, here's the setlist I used for the reception (aka "these songs were made for you and me"). With gratitude to Walt for joining me in the song leading.
- This land is your land (processional into the backyard garden)
- America the Beautiful - sung by all
- This is my song (FINLANDIA) - just me
- The Star Spangled Banner - sung by all
Minestrone Minstrels is a visitation ministry of singing and sharing a meal together. I'll talk more about the meal sharing in a future entry (though if you need instant gratification visit Emily Scott's Sit & Eat blog for glimpses of my inspiration). For now, I invite you to ponder how your community, be it congregation of baseball enthusiasts, gardeners, or faithful, can remember your elder and/or home bound members with time spent together.
Saturday, May 1, 2010
I have spent the majority of my waking hours the last four days with artists and healthcare professionals attending the Society for the Arts in Healthcare conference. I observed movement and color, listened to words and music that in some way set the stage for healing. I have listened to hours of research going on in the field. I have met people who are passionate about healing and how the arts play a role.
And I feel like I’ve found my people, a tribe heeding the call to use the arts to aid in the healing of others.
I had started a music therapy degree about 15 years ago, but shelved it when I felt my maturity as a musician and person were not ready. Experience is the classroom for maturity and so I worked and made music for a decade. Along the way I met amazing people who opened my eyes to different ways of being. And more recently found the strength, courage and faith to make the leap back into the healthcare field armed with a much different arsenal of musical tools than I would have imagined before. It’s like I finally graduated and ready to start that music career in healing and wellness. Or if I stay with the earlier farming reference, my seed is ready to be planted.
Stuart Pimsler Dance and Theater performed with Simone Perrin at the Closing Celebration. In the last dance we, the conference attendees, were invited to sing and waltz ...
“Come together, join in one place.
La-da dee-da-dum dee-da-dum dee-day.”
Like seasons of planting, growing, harvesting and rest, life contains similar cycles. Like communities with a common purpose, we circle round to witness each other. Come together indeed.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
It's been awhile since I've written an entry. Life has been busy and mine is no exception as I made a decision to leave an institution I had been with for 12 years. Why would I do such a thing in the economic climate that we are in? Well, it had more to do with the calling of my heart than security in money, homes or things.
A few years ago I was introduced to community singing in the aural tradition. No music reading ability needed as songs were taught by rote, line by line. Once we were secure in the 4-6 lines we were invited to sink deeply into beautiful poems and melodies and to play with harmonies in old spirituals. After so many years of singing in choirs and doing what the page and the director had in mind, I was ready to go out on a limb and try something new.
One of the first chants I learned was a blessing that many faith traditions call their own. It's pretty universal: When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so, that when you die the world cries and you rejoice. I don't know what was more influential, the words, the pseudo-Native American tune or the marriage of the two, but this song has become a personal tuning fork. Each time I sing it, it goes straight to my core and asks me: Are you living the life that will bring the most possible joy to the world? Like a tuning fork, singing it helps me remember my life's purpose and helps me recalibrate my actions so they resonate more fully, less dissonantly, with myself, with others.
So, I'm in the process of recalibrating my life. Over the last five years I have been releasing the hold certain activities had on my schedule and I just let go of the biggest one, a full-time job with benefits. What's next, my thoughtful and concerned friends ask? I'm hoping to develop more community development programs that incorporate singing and dancing. More details to come. J
Before I sign off, I want to ask you, dear reader and friend, what is your tuning fork? Is there a song or a painting or person in your life that has the effect of clearing the distractions and helps you focus on what's true in your world? Please feel free to share.