Saturday, August 25, 2012

Rainy day picnic

There was a time when rain on a day of a picnic was bad news. But considering the drought we have been having after this really hot summer, a day of soaking rain is good news!  It has been a long standing joke that if you want to bring rain, have a picnic or any outdoor event and it will happen. So.. I like to think maybe we helped bring it on.

Today was the annual city therapeutic parks & recreation picnic. We had lots of fun.  Even the major, Mr. Huja graced our day and we also met Ms. Wheelchair who gave a motivational speech. We had quite a few very talented singers come up and do a number. Chris was there and sang, "Under the Boardwalk", "Stand by Me", "Sugar, Sugar" and Jessica sang some patriotic songs and Christmas songs too. We got kind of rowdy after lunch and Barbara played a bunch of Elvis songs and we played "name that tune".

Just plain, simple fun. I was just thinking the other day-when was the last time I did something just for the fun of it? It seems so much of my activities involve a goal or practice for something. So not only did we help bring on the rain, we had some fun and yet another great memory to cherish. Thanks, everyone!

The above photo is not the most exciting one of the event but the other photos came out too dark. I am waiting for other people to send me some. In the meantime... name that tune..  it is the unofficial anthem of New Orleans, the most requested Dixieland song of all time... give up?

When the Saints Go Marching in..  yes we sang that one too!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Take Me Home Country Roads

This song  is the #1 most requested song of all time in my work as a certified music practitioner at the hospital. It's not  surprising in a way though because it says "take me home".  We all want to go home. And many people I see at the hospital are from West Virginia, so the songs strikes another chord with them.

Today I was playing on one floor when a man came up to me and asked me to come with him to his wife's room.  The was a rough and tumble way about him that told me he was a country man. And sure enough, the song he wanted me to sing was the one I just told you about.

I don't often sing in patients' rooms because I mostly play quiet, soothing music to help patients relax but every now and then a patient like the one today got the good news that they are going home and that is a time to celebrate.

So I started playing "Take Me Home Country Roads" and the man sang along with me. His wife was sitting on the bed with her bags packed and looking a little embarrassed by her husband's exuberance. Next we sang "This Little Light of mine".. and changed the words to, "getting out of the hospital, I'm gonna let it shine.." and somehow that flowed into Johnny Cash, "I walk the Line" and I left them with ,"You are my Sunshine".

I enjoyed that a lot but I have to say that it was a little uncomfortable at times because the patient wasn't as into it as the husband of the patient. Sometimes this happens. The family thinks that they are doing something wonderful for their loved one to have me come in the room and they get all excited an it turns into something that is not really why I am there.

Even so.. I suspect some of her reaction was not really how she really felt because as her husband sang, "because you're mine, I walk the line,"  I could see the glimmer of happiness in her eyes and a shadow of a smile she was trying not to show. She seemed to think we should be more quiet (hospitals are worse than libraries in that way) and so I suspect that was part of her reaction.

Anyway.. a few happy songs did us all some good.

Friday, August 17, 2012

What about a sing along...

I so enjoy singing with people. My singing voice is a part of my musical life I feel most unsure of. I certainly do not have what is considered to be a "beautiful" voice.  But I have had the discussion many times about the difference between a good singer vs. a good voice. A good singer does not necessarily have to have a good  voice. They are someone who is able to communicate a feeling or message of the song. They can bring people together over a shared memory and experience. 

Today I sang at the Colonnades,  a place I've been singing at for 7 years.  I notice with interest days when everyone is very into the songs and sing along enthusiastically and everyone seems to be really enjoying it. (and I also notice the off days when no one seems to be listening--although thankfully, that hasn't happened as much lately)

So today I sang for the biggest group I've ever had there. It seemed the whole room was full and I think my favorite moment came when I was singing, "Hey, Good Lookin'" and I saw across the room  a young girl and her mother dancing around the room. The girl had been watching me with great interest for awhile and I was happy to see her dance. How to follow that one?! I sang, "Stand by Me" next.. but that is not a dance song.

Later, one of the elderly residents said to me, "you keep your singing up--it's very meaningful."   I am glad she feels that way because I sure do too. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A chairitable gesture

Today I played my shift at the hospital in the Pediatrics ICU. I play just as much for the frazzled & worried families as I do for the children.

When my work day was over, I met my one of my friends who works as a chaplain there for coffee. We were joined later by an intern chaplain  and we had a lively discussion about how every job is of equal merit. We traded stories about the folks who take our tickets in the parking lot and we were saying that there should be no social distinction between doctors or housekeepers. That everyone and all jobs are needed and valued.

As we were telling these stories, the section we were sitting in at the cafeteria was being closed down and there was a worker stacking up all the chairs on top of the tables.  Suddenly both of the chaplains  got up and put their chairs on our table and I did the same.  The man working smiled to thank us and one of the chaplains touched him on the shoulder as we walked out.

I had been feeling really tired all day but that meeting with them and esp.  stacking the chairs with them really lifted me up. (by the way, forgive the pun of the title of this post but I could not resist !: )

Friday, August 10, 2012

A gift...

Today I was singing for a group of elderly friends at one of the homes I play in monthly. I complimented one of them for her beautiful watch she was wearing. She immediately took it off her wrist and told me, "it is yours to keep!"  She smiled brightly and there was a twinkle of mischief and laughter in her eyes. I said, "no! I can't take this! you won't have anything to wear!" but she insisted, saying, "you do so much for the people, it is yours to keep." And again I tried to give it back but I could see she really wanted to give me a gift.  So I put it on and I said, "thank you." and she smiled again and did a "thumbs up" gesture.

As I was walking back to my car, I lifted it up to look at it more closely and saw that the watch is broken and does not tick. It will always read 6:25.  You can see in the picture a crack in the face of it.

but does that matter? not at all. It is all the more a sweet and thoughtful gift. It makes me smile every time I look at it. Does it matter what time it is anyway?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Songwriting classes to start in Sept!

Hello out there aspiring songwriters!

I am pretty excited to announce that I will be teaching a songwriting class at a wonderful music school out in Fluvanna, Stevens Music School. It is just 12 miles outside of C'ville. It is going to be on Monday night from 7-8:pm beginning Sept. 10th.

The class will have some structured writing exercises and we'll talk about chord progressions, techniques to use to add color to your guitar playing and all sorts of things.  We'll have time to share our songs too--there will be no critiquing --as there is no right and wrong way to write a song!

It is going to be a lot of fun, a lot of learning and sharing and growing! Come join us in a supportive and nurturing  setting.