Totally Awesome Totality

Yep, this is a bit on the late side. I realized I kept commenting on other blogs about my personal experience with Totality but held back from crafting a post for my own blog. The key here is in the word ‘craft’ as in: taking time to make it blog-worthy.  Just saying ‘wow, that was cool’ or ‘it was the experience of a lifetime’ isn’t my type of blog-worthiness, but the ‘awesomeness’ of the event just doesn’t translate well into words.

Me, before Totality

Me, before Totality

At least for me.

And while I’m more inclined to craft a poem rather than labor over prose, I’m running low on the patience factor for that sort of creation these days.

So pardon me as I fulfill the urge to post my own reactions via placing those comments via bullet points here:

  • Total Eclipse Dillon Park, Sumter, South Carolina

    Total Eclipse Dillon Park, Sumter, South Carolina

    We went to Dillon Park in Sumter…let me tell you – the absolute BEST! Chicken me even took off those glasses for the ‘safe’ 90 plus seconds. And just for the record, the sky was midnight blue not black during totality, we got to see Venus as well as the corona and we were bathed in more of a type of ‘moonlight’ softness. Geez, I really should do a blog post on this! HA!

Hubby, after Totality

Hubby, after Totality

  • Still glowing in solar bliss…we went to Sumter, SC a stone’s throw from the venue where I gave my SwS presentation June 3rd (about 50 minutes from where we currently live)…and got to see it at 100% totality! I had been prepping myself to buck up and just take those darn glasses off during the ‘safe’ time, (such a counter intuitive thing to do) so with a little ooohing and ahhhing encouragement from hubby, I had ’em off and: WOW!
    Not a pitch black sky, more a midnight blue and felt like moonlight on a clear evening…crickets started chirping – then just as suddenly stopped!
    The whole camera thing is way over-rated, nothing’s like the real thing!!!! I really should blog a bit about the experience, but maybe I’ll simmer on a song for later?

I’ll end it there, with the possibility of a future composition in the works…

Shout Out: “Just a Rose” by Colin Chappell

Orange Rose from Ma & Dad's Garden 2016

Orange Rose from Ma & Dad’s Garden 2016

When I first heard this poem, my mind immediately flashed on a photo I took during my Summer of Dad – that of a lone rose thriving in the midst of Ma & Dad’s overgrown and neglected garden.

“…for my blooms have served a purpose…”

 

From Just Thinking a collection of “little writings which may produce some little thoughts” here is Colin Chappell reading his poem, Just a Rose.

Note: All proceeds from book sales will be directed to Colin’s daughter who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2007. She is still fighting, but the treatment programs have taken their toll and she is unable to hold down a paying job for a variety of reasons. She is therefore dependent on benefits from her disability provider…She uses her time to volunteer for non-profit organizations, and has been involved in giving some dignity to the women who are living on the streets in Vancouver’s downtown East-side…She has also written a number of poems, two of which are included in the book!

Bananas, Performance Anxiety and the Minions

Once-upon-a-time there was a classical guitarist with severe performance anxiety.  Throughout her years as a working musician, she managed to control it through judicious elimination of caffeine on the day of playing and maintaining a regular pre-performance regimen including the use of breathing exercises learned during delivery of her three children. Nothing really worked all that well, uncontrollable shakiness of the hands often threatened to take control of the show.

minion with bananaRecommendations of relief by self-medication using beta-blockers began to sound quite appealing, but her natural aversion to non-organic approaches to dealing with life’s issues held her back from taking the leap on that avenue. Good thing. Most who went that route, acquired other side effects that only compounded the basic performance anxiety problem.

Then one fine day, rumors of the Banana Cure began circulating among other afflicted cgers.
That was one cure this lady cger was willing to investigate further. Coming from a scientific background, she tried her best to set up quasi-experiments to see if the Banana Cure had any merit or if it was purely placebo. Continue reading

Me as Composer

About 6 weeks ago, while planning our extended stay in Colorado to continue the hands-on process of getting Dad’s estate settled, I contacted a longtime colleague about collaborating with me on the recording of my Goat Suite (Saga).

Her willingness to work with me under challenging circumstances – finding snippets of time to rehearse, then laying down tracks at the recording studio – was refreshing.

So, tucked in between sorting files upon files of papers, packing up shelves of books, trips to drop off never ending donations at ARC, lining up realtor interviews, meeting with tradesmen for quotes on needed repairs on Dad’s house, working around my brother’s schedule to get certain estate things done; as well as working around my colleague’s own teaching and wedding gig schedule, we did indeed get started on the recording of my Goat Suite (Saga).

Sometime during our only rehearsal on a Sunday afternoon before our Wednesday recording session, my colleague tossed out a casual comment about ‘working with the composer’.

Say, what? Are you talking about me? Continue reading

Me & the Board & Moving Forward

Me & the Goodwill Educational & Historical Society, Inc Board Left to Right: Ada Lyn Jones, Donise White, James Boyd, Laura Bruno Lilly, William Remmes (President), Louise D. Bevan, Rev. Carnell Hampton, Ruby Jean Boyd

Me & the Goodwill Educational & Historical Society, Inc Board
Left to Right: Ada Lyn Jones, Donise White, James Boyd, Laura Bruno Lilly, William Remmes (President), Louise D. Bevan, Rev. Carnell Hampton, Ruby Jean Boyd

I fully intended on posting a ‘thoughtful article on my first SwS presentation’ as mentioned here. Obviously, I haven’t been able to quite pull one together. Yes, the June 3rd featured event at the Goodwill Cultural Center was a huge success and the thrill of introducing the public to my Goat Suite (Saga), the related creative process and how it all occurred while in the midst of our non-traditional between homes journey was some kind of high. But what really makes this experience stand out for me is the fact that all of the Goodwill Educational & Historical Society, Inc board members attended it.  In the world of the working musician, this is quite an anomaly.

I keep perusing these two photos* taken afterwards. The genuine expressions of joy shining through the faces of those photographed remind me of the spirit of the place; the delight of the moment.

On the steps of the Goodwill Cultural Center Mayesville, SC

On the steps of the Goodwill Cultural Center Mayesville, SC
Left to Right: Laura Bruno Lilly, Terry W. Lilly, James Boyd, William Remmes

I have long since done my own personal ‘performance assessment’, ferreting out solutions to challenges encountered during the actual performance. Specifically: in the transition from spoken word performance to the focus required in performing on an instrument – a very real hurdle for the brain in switching gears.

Quotes and clips have been gathered for use in future marketing and grant proposal endeavors; bits of prose and musical phrases have been tweeked; new contacts have been made and old ones reignited…I’m ready to move forward!

*photos by Jayne Bowers used with permission; content of photos used with permission

39 Years is A Loooong Time: lots of years to grow stronger and in love together

As I sit here sipping the last of my Pinot Noir from dinner, the eve of our Wedding Anniversary, I’m reflecting on 39 years of marriage to the same hunk of a man, my TWL. As mentioned before in a previous post, he’s my James Taylor of a guy back in the day when we first met and has morphed into my stalwart protector, staunchest supporter of my (he)art and deepest devoted Father and Grandfather of our progeny.

TWL is the ‘name’ we jokingly refer to in e-mails and snail mails to each other, letters defining his initials. It is also part of the name of a solo classical guitar piece I composed and dedicated to him on the first Christmas (out of three) during our between homes experience: Gift: for TWL (actually performed in context with the Goodwill Cultural Center Swimming with Swans: the music program presented on June 3rd).

In honor of our 39th I present to you a favorite youtube representing one of his special passions: sailing. Keep in mind that the video shows ‘motoring’ rather than actual sailing, regardless of the sung lyrics!

Enjoy and celebrate with us.

Ormai la frittata è fatta!

Cheers!

Goat Yoga – MamaGoat, TerryScape and Larry woulda loved this!

Saturday, I introduced the public to my ‘Goats in the Garden at Midnight by the Light of the Full Moon’ experience. Complete with slides, commentary, creative process steps, hands-on musical demos and a ‘performance’ of my Goat Suite as the Finale.
It was a huge success! (with much for me to contemplate for further improvements on the presentation as a whole)
I thought this video would be the perfect ‘placeholder’ until a thoughtful article is completed on my first SwS project presentation.
FYI: Dodger in the video is a Boer Goat, as were MamaGoat, TerryScape and Larry (and Tater)

Enjoy this slice of goat bliss – ommmmm!

 

Giving Voice: It Was Children – and – It Was Intentional

Andrew James MurrayMy blogger-poet-friend, Andy, is a native Mancunian. These are excerpts taken from his account of and reactions to this attack of the innocents.

Quote symbolAround the time I went to bed the bomb went off.

I was totally unaware of what had happened until around 3.00am, when my wife woke me. Friends from around the country, indeed the world, had messaged us. Then, bleary eyed, we tried to process just what had happened.

There was footage of the panic; people searching for lost children; a distressed woman rang our local radio station with a horrific account of what she had witnessed; friends of ours announced that they were safe.

The friend of my little girl was at the concert with her family. There were other people attending that we know. My daughter herself was at a concert in that same venue just a couple of weeks ago. The arena can be accessed through the train station which I have been commuting from. Not so long ago I attended the Young Voices competition as a staff member with my children’s school choir. 8,000 children were present that day. Suddenly the horror that regularly unfolds throughout the world was on our doorstep…

…Manchester is no stranger to such atrocities. There was the IRA bomb of 1996 which utterly devastated the town centre. The Manchester we know today rose from the ashes of that day. But back then everybody had been evacuated, miraculously nobody was killed. Last night it was people targeted.

It was children. Continue reading

My SwS Project: from there to here

My blogger-buddy Anna visited Las Cruces, New Mexico for the first time a few weeks ago and posted a few photos and thoughts on the desert.  What a treat to see the familiar through her newbie eyes.

How serendipitous!

Mama Goat, Tater & Kids

Final Goat Family Portrait: Larry, Terry Scape, Mama Goat and Tater

I’ve been immersed in that period of time during our between homes journey lovingly referred to as living ‘on the compound in the desert outside Las Cruces, New Mexico’.  Place where my Goat Suite Saga was born.

In less than two weeks portions of my Swimming with Swans project are going to be presented for the first time to the general public. MamaGoat, Tater, TerryScape and little Larry along with all of us humans and critters of the compound will be introduced to a group of locals as far away from life in the desert as one in the US can get. I often joke that we came from a Mile High here to the Swamplands…but we also came by way of the High Dry Desert.

Most readers of this blog know that I received a Puffin Foundation Grant for the recording of my Swimming with Swans: the music. One of the requirements for gaining the grant involved the pre-securing of a venue in which to present completed grant-proposal material.

Here’s the thing, The Goodwill Cultural Center found me.

Goodwill Parochial School with restoration sign

Goodwill Parochial School becomes The Goodwill Cultural Center

If not for Camden Writer and author, Brenda Bevan Remmes, I would have never known of this special spot nestled within an isolated area between Mayesville and Sumter, South Carolina*. Steeped in a long history of struggle, nurture, and yes, healing – The Goodwill Cultural Center aka The Goodwill Parochial School was recently restored to serve as a local heritage and arts center – offering historical, cultural and educational events to the public.

Brenda introduced me to this gem in the swamp about two years ago when the GCC held one of their first sponsored events by the Magnolia Singers from Charleston – shortly after the Emanuel AME Church shootings. I was amazed at the group’s desire to reach out in their hurt and offer insights into their culture while spreading a healing balm through their talented singing.Goodwill Cultural Center logo

WINDOW TO THE WORLD

REFLECTING ON OUR PAST AND ENVISIONING OUR FUTURE, WE AFFIRM THE RICH HERITAGE OF THE GOODWILL SCHOOL THAT OPENED DOORS OF OPPORTUNITY IN 1870, AND THAT IS A WINDOW TO THE WORLD TODAY THROUGH THE GOODWILL CULTURAL CENTER.
(mission statement)

I don’t pretend to understand the South. However, I have found a slice of something I like to call the ‘true spirit of a southern community’ in the Goodwill Cultural Center.

Over the course of these two years in attending various events at the GCC, I’ve observed the interactions between the locals. It’s obvious to this outsider the love and commitment these individuals have towards each other and towards working through its own healing-path. A sort of living reconciliation rooted in historical interconnectedness which touches me deeply.

This is a slice of the South I admire; a slice of the South not often seen by outsiders.

As such, I am both humbled and honored to be a small part in the GCC’s continuing legacy as a featured guest on Saturday, June 3rd.

 *about a 45 minute drive SW of FloTown

Happy Okay-Mom’s Day Musing

 “World’s Okayest Mom”

I saw that phrase at a blog I follow – she has the t-shirt and everything – I really related; albeit I’m not in the trenches of hands-on childrearing anymore, it still rings true. At least for me – an older gen Mom. Yeah, I’m a GrandMom, too, but not hands-on due to circumstances way beyond my control (sigh – it is what it is) so that’s why maybe memories of being a younger Mom still resonate loud and clear.  Here’s the poetic part of her blog post (be sure to visit it for the rest of the story)

World’s Okayest Mom, by Angelica Battista Bonin of Comically Quirky  Continue reading