Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Big Deal and wonderful experience!

In addition to the amazing work that I do day to day at the hospital and at nursing homes and such, every once in awhile I am asked to perform for a big event. That's what happened the other day in DC. In the picture above, I am doing a sound check.  It was a lovely stage and background!

The occasion was to perform for the SourceAmerica  conference at the Gaylord National Convention Center in DC.  SourceAmerica is a non-profit that creates job opportunities for a skilled and dedicated workforce of people with significant disabilities, so I was a perfect fit for the occasion!

For this performance, I sang my song, "Choose the Sky," and played my solo guitar piece, "For the Lily Grows." In addition, I sang the old jazz standard, "Heart and Soul," and "What the World Needs Now."  

It was a great experience to be a part of an event from an organization that does such good work in the world. I loved being up there on that big stage and looking out at all the smiling faces as I sang.  I loved connecting to conference participants after the concert. I met people from Utah, Kentucky, Illinois and beyond there. It was such an exhilarating experience for me that I will never forget! Thank you, SourceAmerica!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Spring flowers, spring concert

Last week was VSA Arts  annual spring concert and it was a lot of fun and very special for me. We had rehearsals both Monday and Tuesday and the concert on Wednesday. It is always a great time for our community to finally be able to perform songs some of them have been practicing since winter.

One group sang, "You've Got a Friend," and another did, "Rockin' Robin," and of course we also had African drumming led by Whit. I had prepared to sing two poems I set to music written by George Eliot. However, it turned out that I got hit with a cold the night before and felt too congested to sing and I changed my selection to be my instrumental song, "Promise of Spring."  

I don't have the pictures back yet from the concert and so I show you my spring flowers in my front yard instead.  So much beauty to behold! With it being an election year and so much ugliness going on in the world, I feel lucky to be part of events that bring beauty and happiness to others.
Are your flowers in bloom yet? Happy Spring!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Celebration of Nature with music, poetry and art

One of my favorite gigs I do each year is a collaboration I do with The Live Poets Society at Ivy Creek Foundation .  In this beautiful setting we celebrate the beauty of nature with music, poetry and art. What could be a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon? 

For my contribution, I sang some of my own original compositions like:

and also set some poems by George Eliot to music "Blue Wings," "Ay De Mi" and "Spring Comes Hither."  In addition, I sang a couple of parodies I made up about Ivy Creek. Here's my favorite one:

A Place called Ivy Creek  (To the tune of "House of the Rising Sun") There is a place in CharlottesvilleThey call it Ivy CreekAnd we’ve been pursuin’ many new trailsWe walked a new one this week My mother she’s a beekeeperShe maintains honeybeesMy sweetheart has a sweet toothHe consumes the colonies Go tell my baby sisterTo bring the binocularsI want to see the birds in the skyInstead we saw catepillars

I enjoyed listening to the poetry of the members of the Live Poets Society and visiting with everyone on our intermission. It was such a nice time and thanks to all who came!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Tales of a Mystery Guest

I had a very interesting opportunity where I participated in the local library's program, "The Big Read." This is a National program where libraries choose a book to be read and host various discussions and events based on the novel. This year's book was, "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" by Carson McCullers. The biggest theme in the book is our struggle with isolation. The book centers on several characters who are in some ways a misfit or social outcast. There is also one deaf character in the book which is the reason I was chosen to give a presentation about my cochlear implant journey after the screening of the documentary, "Lost & Sound." 

I also played in the grand finale of for The Big Read which was a lot of fun.  One of the activities for the program asked people to submit art work that was inspired by the themes of the book. I enjoyed seeing the photographs, paintings, drawings and collage displayed at The Haven where the finale took place.

I enjoyed playing some of my own songs that spoke on this. One of them being my song, "Mystery Song"  here are some of the words:

"Why are you standing outside?
Life has invited you along
Come to the table inside.
You belong, you belong

All that you want is seeking you
why don't you let yourself be found
You really never are alone
Welcome home, welcome home."

I also played some poems I found of Carson McCullers and George Eliot I set to music. I've always loved books about as much as I love music, so that was a lot of fun.
Above I'm pictured playing my Native American style flute which I opened the program with. A very fun gig indeed!