( Jun. 19th, 2009 09:10 pm)
So... it's been a little longer than I would like since the last post. Not as long as has been the case in the past, mind you, but long enough. So I need to find something to talk about. What on earth CAN I talk about...

Oh yeah. I'll write about a humorous re-occurrence that happens to me. I am a musician and a singer. That is probably the one thing that most defines me as person besides my particular faith. I hope that my faith helps to define me- if not then it's not much of a "faith", is it? But that is too heavy right now. I want to talk about something embarrassing that has happened to me several times now- the latest instance just yesterday.

I LOVE music. Practically all genres of music. I am a scholar of music... in the sense that this is where my primary focus of education lies- singing, music history, music theory. But I don't think that I am arrogant about what TYPE of music or musicians I associate myself with. Furthermore, I am a singer and I have sung musics of all types... rock, jazz, christian, "classical", ethnic, music theater, etc. You might hear me singing a Grateful Dead song one minute, and the next hear me humming the lyrical "dainty" theme from Phantom of the Opera. And that is precisely what I was singing, softly (I thought) and to myself yesterday as I stood in line at Best Buy.

I had just passed by the DVD of the movie version of Phantom- and of course that put one of the song's that Christine sings -"Angel of Music"- into my mind. And if it's in my mind then you can damn sure bet that I'm going to be humming it, singing it, playing it on the piano until it "passes." And that wouldn't be a big deal if I was off by myself or around close friends or family. They know me well enough. But yesterday, I just happened to be standing behind... well, how do I describe this guy? Do you remember the wrestler Bam-Bam Bigelow? ;) That somewhat describes the dude's appearance... lots of tattoos, piercings, a gotee, and biker clothing.

So, before I realize what I am doing- which is singing "Angel of Music" softly in a very light and HIGH falsetto- he turns and makes eye contact. And I see the slight smirk form at the corners of his mouth. I turned and eyed the Phantom of the Opera DVD set which was on a stand not far away, as if that would somehow make the situation less awkward. I don't think that he made the connection. ;)

Things like this have been happening to me most of my life. I know that it is nothing really to be ashamed of. But it can draw some interesting reactions. I think that the only thing that might have made it more hysterical is if he had smiled really big (and sincerely) and struck up a conversation. "Oh, Andrew Lloyd Webber is my HERO..."
This Memorial Day I am remembering... John Lennon.

A song of his came on the radio this morning that I have not heard in AGES. It was Watching the Wheels from his last album- Double Fantasy. Awesome song. I've always found the lyrics and the timing of the song's release ironic and sad. To me, the song expresses how his life had come around "full circle" from his time with the Beatles, to the break-up, then escaping the frantic life of a celebrity and virtually going into hiding for 5 or so years. When finally, he found enough happiness and stability in his personal life to return to the public eye and to music.

He releases the album Double Fantasy in November of 1980. It seems to fans and musicians everywhere that they have years of John and his music to look forward to. The following month... December 8th, 1980, Mark David Chapman shot Lennon four times in the back as he was returning to his New York city apartment. John had signed a copy of Double Fantasy for Chapman only hours earlier that night. According to Wikipedia, John told a radio station hours before that he felt that he could be safe anywhere in New York. Years earlier, he was asked in an interview how he thought he might die. His response... "I'll probably be popped off by some loony." Wow.

Watching The Wheels

People say I'm crazy doing what I'm doing
Well they give me all kinds of warnings
to save me from ruin
When I say that I'm o.k. they look at me kind of strange
Surely you're not happy now you no longer play the game

People say I'm lazy dreaming my life away
Well they give me all kinds of advice
designed to enlighten me
When I tell them that I'm doing fine
watching shadows on the wall
Don't you miss the big time boy
you're no longer on the ball?

I'm just sitting here watching the wheels
go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go

People asking questions lost in confusion
Well I tell them there's no problem, only solutions
Well they shake their heads and look
at me as if I've lost my mind
I tell them there's no hurry...
I'm just sitting here doing time

I'm just sitting here watching
the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go
Tonight, I attended my cousin's 6th grade graduation. A big step in his young life. He will be attending a new school next year. The all dreaded... middle school. In a way I envy him. Not really him but his current place in life. He has so much ahead of him. So many major decisions and crossroads. But he hasn't crossed them yet. He still has so much time.

What I really want to write about tonight is the musical portion of this graduation service. No, I don't intend to be a musical snob like so many who comment on Youtube performances. I get fighting mad when I see people dissecting a young person's performance... telling them how "awful" it is without any thought for the amount of courage that it took for them to even get up in front of a crowd and perform, much less post it on the internet! And then there are those who like to make criticisms about performances without offering the least bit of constructive advice. My theory on this is that these people simply try to feel better about their own performances by searching for examples that THEY find inferior and then tearing them apart- or they like to act like they actually know what they are talking about when they actually lack the knowledge to back up their comments with constructive advice. Blah! really rubs me...

But that moved me totally off track. Back to my cousin's graduation ceremony. As I said, it was a 6th grade graduation. As one might expect, it included a few selections by the 6th grade chorus. Now, as a singer and a musician, I never go into a public school performance expecting to be blown off my feet. Not that I never HAVE been, mind you. I just don't expect that. And that's not really what I think is most important especially at this very young age. What I want to see are young people who are inspired and who are truly part of a "musical experience."

What is a musical experience, right? To me, a musical experience is something subjective and individual to each of us. For these kids, what I wanted to see is a group of young people who's faces lit up... whose eyes "twinkled" just a little more as they sang the notes and lyrics to some very moving songs. And there were some very moving songs. But the kids... they looked absolutely scared to death! There were at least 40 in the ensemble. I doubt that 10 of them were actually singing. The director banged on the piano while 10 children very carefully made sounds. That's right, made sounds. And the thing is, there were some good sounds. I don't think that many would have noticed because it was so tentative, but some of these children had wonderful voices and ears! But they were so uninspired and so CAREFUL.

It was as though they were afraid that if they opened up, they might make the slightest mistake... God forbid that! Sure, kids and even adults are naturally like this when singing or performing for the first time. But it shouldn't be that way with a group of students who have been singing together since the 1st grade. What I wanted to see is some sign that someone has helped to instill into them a LOVE OF MUSIC. Music is a gift to us all. It is something that we all will carry with us through the best and the darkest moments of our lives. It's something so natural and human- truly a wonderful gift. I think that the number one objective of an educator of young people is to help them FIND their love and appreciation of this gift. That doesn't mean that you don't guide them in developing their skills. But don't scare them away from singing before their voices even change! Good Lord.

Anyway, I was proud of my cousin. He won the "accelerated reader's award." Something that I think will also be very valuable to him as he grows and matures. He absolutely loves to read. Well, tomorrow it's off to Kingston, TN for another graduation. Sorry for the rant. ;)
( May. 20th, 2009 02:52 am)
Well, it's 2:57 in the am, and I am posting my first entry on dreamwidth. Not much to say really... hopefully more will come later. I dig God. I dig music. I dig nice people of all backgrounds, faiths, cultures, and professions. Friend me. Please... ;)




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