The road ends, but the journey continues...

Category: Giving Voice (Page 1 of 4)

an ongoing series

Open Letter (debut)

Dear Teacher,
You were my very first formal classical guitar instructor…


Thus begins an open letter I wrote years ago.

The new vistas that surfing the ‘net* opened up in the ’90s prompted me to try contacting my first classical guitar teacher to thank her for the role she played in my development as a musician. I posted a copy of my open letter on both** of the forums I was subscribed to at the time in the hopes it would yield a lead towards finding her. As was common in those days, this inadvertently started a new thread on each of those forums…that of honoring those teachers who most influenced the direction of our lives.

However, it did not bring about the desired outcome.

I did not find her.

But I can still honor her***.


I have always wanted to thank-you for all you did to nurture my first forays into the world of classical guitar. I think you’d be proud of me. Not because I am anyone famous or great, but because you’d recognize the method of love I use in teaching others about our common bond: the classical guitar...


*a term bandied about along with riding the internet highway in the earlier days of internet development.

**The original ClassicalGuitarList and the LuteList are both going strong after all these years…

***Please find & read my Open Letter page neatly nestled between the PTM and DMW pages on the menu bar as part of my newly revised website.

Giving Voice: people, don't stop tryin' to make a difference.


This link goes to a short excerpt of an NBC interview (it’s only 2 minutes, please click and ponder) with Dr. Martin Luther King in 1967…still strikingly relevant to these times…(full interview here).

Quote symbol“White America must see that no other ethnic group has been a slave on American soil. That is one thing that other immigrant groups haven’t had to face…America freed the slaves in 1883 through the Emancipation Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln, but gave the slaves no land or nothing in reality…to get started on. At the same time, America was giving away millions of acres of free land in the West and Midwest. Which meant there was a willingness to give the white peasants from Europe an economic base. And yet it refused to give its black peasants from Africa – who came here involuntarily and in chains, and had worked for free here in chains for 244 years – any kind of economic base…”
Dr. Martin Luther Kingblm peacelovejustice

“You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”
John 8: 32

Giving Voice: Gaelynn Lea, Violinist

Friday, July 26th was the 29th anniversary of the signing of the ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act. It was also the day I first learned of a remarkable musician on the PBS Newshour – Gaelynn Lea, Violinist.

Notable quotes from her interview:

“Adaptive music is not as common (as adaptive sports) but I hope that it becomes more common.”

on playing the violin:

“I realize that you probably don’t know unless you have a disability that you spend every day modifying everything. I’m not concerned with doing it the way everyone does it, because I can’t really do anything the way other people do it. So, for me, finding a way to play violin was just a matter of time.”

The final set of lyrics to her newest release, “I Wait” written in defense of the Affordable Care Act, protecting those with preexisting conditions:

“We need a seat now at the table, so please invite us.
Or
Don’t pretend to care.”

Giving Voice: The Eagle Cried

The Eagle Cried, written and recorded by US Army Major J Billington (Iraqi & Afghanistan vet)

This song was written in honor of the sacrifices of Vietnam veterans, who did not receive the hero’s welcome that they deserved when they came home from the fight. This song was written for and performed at the 13th Combat Aviation Battalion Reunion at Fort Rucker, Alabama, held on May 15, 2010. To the Vietnam veterans that may find and watch this video, please accept my humble:
“Thank you for your service, and welcome home!” J Billington May 19, 2010

Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day 2019

Holocaust Memorial - Beth Israel Congregation - Florence, SC

Holocaust Memorial – Beth Israel Congregation – Florence, SC

Some of the symbolism of the memorial as explained on the Beth Israel Congregation Website:

  • Yellow Star of David – This universal symbol of Judaism was perverted by the Nazis. Jews were instructed to wear a yellow star on the outside of their clothing so that they could be instantly recognized, and shamed. Many Jews, however, and others of different communities, wore the star as a badge of pride, asserting that despite it all, they proudly clung to Israel’s covenant with God.
  • Outline of the Ten Commandments Tablet – Beth Israel uses this symbol on the doors of the Holy Ark in the Sanctuary, and the opening words of the Ten Commandments are on the back wall of the Sanctuary. It is used here to tie the Memorial to the life of our congregation.
  • Memorial Wording – The Hebrew word below the outline of the ten commandments reads HA-SHO-AH, the Holocaust. It is the word chosen by world Jewery to express the horror of the death of six-million of our brothers and sisters in Nazi Europe. The following words were edited from “Gates of Repentance” the prayer book used for our High Holiday worship.
  • Posts and Chain – These were added to the Memorial to represent the guard towers and the fences surrounding the extermination camps.
  • Gray Gravel – Spread at the base of the Memorial, the gravel, and the particular color chosen, are a sad reminder of the ashes of those Holocaust victims who were killed and cremated, their ashes left to blow to the corners of the earth.
  • The Memorial Stone – Thrusting upward, the stone stands proudly to indicate that Jews and Judaism have survived; will continue to do so; still reach for God, for human perfection and for God’s Kingdom here on earth. In our quest for God, we affirm that the victims of the Holocaust shall never be forgotten. In our quest for God, we affirm that it is our personal responsibility to cry out for all who suffer at human hands. (emphasis mine)

Giving Voice: Homelessness due to housing crisis

Fact: In Ireland, the number of families made newly homeless rose from 39 in January 2017 to 113 in August. A total of 1,698 families are now estimated to be living in emergency accommodation across the country, the vast majority of which were either evicted by private landlords or were unable to afford a rent rise.

Released in October of 2018, the film Rosie “tells the story of a young couple and their four children forced out of their home when their landlord decides to sell the property. Over 36 hours, we see Rosie glued to her phone, juggling normal family life while trying to find a room to sleep in.”
Based upon real life accounts, Irish novelist, dramatist and screenwriter Roddy Doyle put pen to paper giving voice to the increasing number of everyday lower/middle class families being squeezed out of their rental homes into homelessness.

“The potency of the film lies in showing us that the “homeless” are not a caste or tribe whose condition has been ordained at birth, and their situation is not a cosmic punishment for laziness – they are people like everyone else whose situation has been created by economic forces.” From review by Peter Bradshaw

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