Category Archives: Goat Suite Saga

set of seven vignettes

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

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!

 

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

3rd year Blogiversary: 3 quotes, 3 categories, 3 past posts

Thank-you readers, from newest to first-to-follow, for marking this milestone with me. This year, I’m commemorating my third year blogiversary by offering the following quotes and links to past posts for you to peruse. Enjoy!

Quotes: 3 Very Different Men, All on the Same Page

original score - Goats in the Garden at Midnight by the Light of the Full Moon

my original hand-scored “Goats in the Garden at Midnight by the Light of the Full Moon”

 

I am in the world only for the purpose of composing. Franz Schubert


 

 

 

 

 

Al Bruno - promo photo circa 1940 - 1950

Dad (Al Bruno) ~circa 1945 (?)

 

 

Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out your horn. Charlie Parker

 

 

 

 

Cesar Chavez in Community Garden-photo by Cathy Murphy

Cesar Chavez in Community Garden-photo by Cathy Murphy

 

When we are really honest with ourselves we must admit our lives are all that really belong to us. So it is how we use our lives that determines the kind of [wo]men we are. Cesar Chavez

 

 

Continue reading

Saga of Mama Goat and Her Kids: FINALE

 from-Swimming with Swans: vignettes of our three year journey between homes
(Goat Suite Saga #7)

September 2011 (Fountain Hills, AZ)

On Sunday, September 25, 2011, Mama Goat passed away.

Being a rescue, there is no way of really knowing how old she was, except to say she appeared to be on the older side by way of subtle physical cues; not that it affected her personality or zest for life. The good news is that she didn’t suffer a violent death by the teeth of some coyote roaming the range.  In fact, Billy tells a common enough story of her final day. Continue reading

“Goats are Good!”

from-Swimming with Swans: vignettes of our three year journey between homes
(Goat Suite Saga #6)

June 2011 (the desert outside Las Cruces, NM)

The fires that burn within artists require them to act, talk and move differently than us non-artistic folks.  Laura is one such artist.  She will start talking to a movie, be moved to write a poignant vignette, inspired to compose a new piece for guitar and cello/violin/other instrument…all based upon some obscure event that no one else would seem to notice.

We had the privilege of living on a small place in the country which had horses, goats, dogs and visiting roadrunners, coyotes, etc. for almost a year.  During that time Mama Goat gave birth to two male goats.  Laura was the first one to find the newborns and was instrumental in saving the life of the second newborn.  She was given the honor of naming them because of her care and work, so she naturally grew attached to them.

Goats are wonderful creatures and are quite fun to be around.  They really like interaction with humans.  Laura built a habit of storing away table scraps of salad or other items and routinely taking them out to the goats for treats.  She enjoyed talking to them, training them and just being in their company.  They enjoyed her as well.

Laura was also a very vocal and strong supporter of goats. Continue reading

Goats in the Garden at Midnight by the Light of the Full Moon (part two)

from-Swimming with Swans: vignettes of our three year journey between homes
(Goat Suite Saga #5b)

February-March-April 2011 (the desert outside Las Cruces, NM)

“Happy Easter, Happy Spring everyone”…thus began the preface to the e-mail I wrote to my ‘little list.’  I hope this longer vignette offers to you some music interest along with a little encouragement in whatever you’re facing today. And, this season instead of thinking ‘bunnies and peeps’ think:  goats!”

After recounting my ‘goats in the garden’ incident; revealing both my strange emotional response to it as well as the overall musical inspiration I’d been receiving from those goofy goats, I pushed the ‘send’ button.

It was quite cathartic. Continue reading

Goats in the Garden at Midnight by the Light of the Full Moon (part one)

from-Swimming with Swans: vignettes of our three year journey between-homes
(Goat Suite Saga #5a)

February-March-April 2011 (the desert outside Las Cruces, NM)

Mama Goat, Tater & Kids

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

With Tater gone, Mama Goat and the kids were introduced to life beyond the pen; opening up numerous opportunities to roam about the range during the daytime.

Terry & Mama foraging in Tate's feed bin

Terry & Mama foraging in Tate’s feed bin

At first, the threesome devoted their new found freedom to eating leftover hay in Tater’s now empty pen rather than go exploring. However, frolicking in the feed bin became passé once its contents dwindled down to nothing.  While the pens held fond memories of family playtime, Mama Goat, Terry Scape and Larry easily entered into a daily routine of romps out on the range.

Romps on the range

Romps on the range

Billy & Terry & Leggy Lady's manure mound

Billy & Terry & Leggy Lady’s manure mound

Human romps out on the range increased as the days grew warmer.  All of us on the compound got quite excited about starting a new garden plot by the goat pens where Leggy Lady left us lots of soil enriching fertilizer.

Billy and Terry on tractor with pitch forks

New Mexican Gothic: Billy and Terry

Everyone on our corner of the compound pitched in: Billy and Terry tractored and raked,

Karen in the director's chair

Karen in the director’s chair

Karen watered and directed, and I…well…I raked, but mostly just kept the goats company.

Laura, sitting in the goat pens

Laura, sitting in the goat pens

By the end of that third weekend in March, we had a fully prepped garden area; ready and waiting to begin planting crops.  In order to gain greater yields during its producing stage, we were now ready to plant our cool weather crop seeds by the dark of the Moon (time from the day after it is full to the day before it is new again) and to plant our above ground bedding plants by the light of the Moon (new to full) in April.  Planting by the Phases of the Moon is a new farmer-thing I learned and has some basis in scientific reasoning. Just as the moon pulls the tides in our oceans, it also pulls upon water beneath the soil’s surface, causing moisture to rise in the earth, which encourages plant growth.

Consequently, this combination of getting my hands in the dirt, planting according to the Phases of the Moon and watching Mama Goat, Terry and Larry cavorting about the land caused my brain to come up with the song title for a musical composition I’d had rolling around in my mind for quite some time:

Goats in the Garden at Midnight by the Light of the Full Moon

Several rhythmic motifs came to me from observing those goats playing on any given day with such abandon and crazy clumsiness, providing me with plenty of creative inspiration.

Surefooted?
Yes.
Clumsy?
Yes.
Do they care?
No.

As well, I acquired some melodic material from their bleating. Continue reading

Teaser Quote: Goat Suite Saga #5a

from- Goats in the Garden at Midnight by the Light of the Full Moon (part one)
(Goat Suite Saga #5a)

“In terms of a musical composition, titling a piece, ‘Goats in the Garden’ conjures up quite the visual. Picture this: snapshot images of goats dancing wildly about while snacking on the available produce, all to the sounds of the rhythmic and melodic motifs whirling about in my brain.   Adding to that, ‘Midnight by the Light of the Full Moon’ sounds romantic and earthy and mysterious. The two titles could quite possibly comprise two movements within the totality of the piece; a short Goat Suite composition. Technically, a suite consists of a minimum of three movements.  And even that works within the complete title: #1-Goats in the Garden, #2-At Midnight, #3-By the Light of the Full Moon.  Cool.”

WE ATE TATE (poem)

from-Swimming with Swans: vignettes of our three year journey between homes
(Goat Suite Saga #4)

February 2011 (desert outside Las Cruces, NM)

 

A ‘good breeder’
With ‘fine structure’

               Tater
               Billy’s favorite

Over 200 pounds of solid muscle mass
And mango-manhood display

               Tater
               Billy’s favorite Continue reading