Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Life is a series of improvisations

Yesterday I heard myself tell a friend, "Life is a series of improvisations." It was in response to talking about having to go with the flow of whatever is going on. How many times have had thought you had something planned out, only to find that it never went as you expected?

Well, sometimes this can be a good thing.  Sometimes I'm on the job playing music for someone and something unexpected happens and a door to a new experience comes instead. That's what happened the other day.

I was playing music for two nursing home residents in their room when suddenly, two elderly women burst through the door. Immediately upon hearing the song, "Simple Gifts," they began to twirl and dance around the room.   When I saw how much fun they were having, I followed up with, 'You Are My Sunshine," and they sang and danced and laughed some more.  After that song, they twirled out the door and I was left thinking, "What just happened?" That was fun!

Inspired by their dancing, I put down my guitar and started to sing and dance to the song, "Wade in the Water."  Most of  you know that wonderful  African American Spiritual. What is great about it is that you can improvise new verses. I'd sing,

"Now who are those children dressed in blue?
must be someone I thought I knew...
who are those children dressed in green?
going to a place they've never seeen
who are those children dressed in black?
going to the Promised Land and never coming back...
God's gonna trouble the water...."

The song came to mind out of a nowhere, it seemed and now I can't stop singing it. I wonder what will happen the next time I go sing for them?

The picture above is an illustration of Wade in the Water

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

VSO CommUNITY Play-In Event

This past weekend I had a wonderful experience at the Virginia Symphony Orchestra CommUnity Play-In and Sing Along   It was special for a number of reasons. One is that I went with friends from the Association of Adult Musicians with Hearing Loss (AAMHL) which is a really good group of people  With the help of Access Virginia  we had live captions streamed to our cell phones and a hearing loop system (which allows us to hear directly into our hearing aids/cochlear implants (CI) devices. There was also a sign language interpreter. 

For some of the people in AAMHL, this was their first experience participating in such a big event in a huge arena with so much sound. Without assisted listening devices, it would not have been possible for them to participate fully without being overwhelmed by background noise. We were all very happy to be able to not only participate in such an event but to make history by making the event accessible to those with hearing loss and disabilities.

The other reason it was special is that the concert and event commemorated unity, brotherhood and peace.  It was a response to the white nationalist attacks that took place in Charlottesville in August 2017. More and more we need to come together and understand one another. Black and white, rich and poor, no matter what your religious affiliation, ethnic heritage, age, gender or sexual orientation.  Music brings people together and it was great to feel that Unity.

Among the songs we played and sang were, “Finlandia,” “Amazing Grace,” “America, the Beautiful,” “Ode to Joy,” among others. You can see from my picture that it was a happy and proud moment.

Monday, September 2, 2019

40th Anniversary Adaptive Parks & Rec Picnic

A couple of weeks ago  I had the special occasion to help lead the music and sing along at the 40th Anniversary for Adaptive Parks & Recreation Picnic.   August means to me reuniting with all my friends and colleagues and our extended family at Adaptive Parks & Rec. We sang everything from Elvis Presley to Creedence Clearwater and old spirituals, Motown, country,  gospel and rock and roll.

It sure was a great time. I am so fortunate to know so many good people in my community. Thank you to all who volunteer their time and effort to this special group.