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Why We Sing, Part II

Related threads:
Why We Sing, Part III (10)
Why We Sing - Jaime de Angulo (1)
Why we sing. (137)
More Why We Sing: a POW choir (13)


Wesley S 15 Jul 10 - 09:56 PM
Waddon Pete 18 Apr 07 - 09:40 AM
freda underhill 15 Aug 05 - 07:02 AM
Wesley S 09 Aug 05 - 10:48 AM
Big Mick 09 Aug 05 - 09:31 AM
JennyO 09 Aug 05 - 09:15 AM
Big Mick 09 Aug 05 - 08:11 AM
JennyO 09 Aug 05 - 07:35 AM
Amos 08 Aug 05 - 01:54 PM
Big Mick 08 Aug 05 - 01:54 PM
Wesley S 08 Aug 05 - 01:42 PM
GUEST,MBSLynne 30 Mar 05 - 05:35 AM
GUEST,JennyO 29 Mar 05 - 11:46 AM
mack/misophist 20 Jun 04 - 11:39 PM
jack halyard 20 Jun 04 - 04:53 AM
Marion 17 Jun 04 - 01:52 PM
KathWestra 18 Feb 04 - 11:04 AM
Jeri 18 Feb 04 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,noddy 18 Feb 04 - 04:24 AM
GUEST,noddy 18 Feb 04 - 04:23 AM
GUEST,Big Mick 18 Feb 04 - 01:25 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 18 Mar 03 - 10:37 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 17 Mar 03 - 06:01 AM
KT 17 Mar 03 - 12:14 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 16 Mar 03 - 09:51 PM
Stephen L. Rich 16 Mar 03 - 09:19 PM
Amos 16 Mar 03 - 10:18 AM
Deni-C 16 Mar 03 - 09:15 AM
Stephen L. Rich 16 Mar 03 - 08:46 AM
CapriUni 18 Nov 02 - 08:59 AM
Big Mick 17 Nov 02 - 10:55 PM
pattyClink 17 Nov 02 - 10:39 PM
Marion 17 Nov 02 - 03:04 PM
Peter T. 24 Apr 02 - 08:37 AM
Bert 24 Apr 02 - 01:36 AM
catspaw49 23 Apr 02 - 10:36 PM
Stephen L. Rich 23 Apr 02 - 09:02 PM
Amos 23 Apr 02 - 08:12 PM
Celtic Soul 23 Apr 02 - 06:57 PM
KT 23 Apr 02 - 06:35 PM
Big Mick 23 Apr 02 - 05:55 PM
Stephen L. Rich 23 Apr 02 - 05:44 PM
Big Mick 23 Apr 02 - 05:15 PM
KT 23 Apr 02 - 04:27 PM
Amos 23 Apr 02 - 03:37 PM
JenEllen 23 Apr 02 - 01:44 PM
wysiwyg 23 Apr 02 - 12:49 PM
catspaw49 23 Apr 02 - 12:40 PM
JenEllen 23 Apr 02 - 11:37 AM
wysiwyg 13 Sep 01 - 12:28 PM
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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Wesley S
Date: 15 Jul 10 - 09:56 PM

We lost one of the good ones this week. My good friend and guitar picker Richard Loughridge passed away over the weekend. He's had cancer almost as long as I'd known him - around 11 years now - and it finally caught up with him. But he gave it a hell of a fight.

When he joined up with the group we had at the time - The Crossroad Singers - it was just doing church gigs. But Richard soon came up with the idea that we three musicians should be doing something more secular on our own. And so the trio of "Matthew-Mark, Luke and Bubba" came to be { Matthew-Mark being a single name down here in the south} . The three of us came from the same place. We all agreed that Tom Paxton was one of the greatest songwriters on the planet. Richard convinced me that Townes Van Zandt was not far behind him and I was able to introduce Richard and David to Tim O'Brien and Geoff Muldaur's music.

We fell into a regular pattern of singing together on Monday nights. Richard always had a lot of stories to tell. And most of them were true. He once saw Elvis as an opening act for Ernest Tubb. He managed to get backstage once for Hank Williams Sr's autograph. Only to find Hank sitting there in his boxer shorts. And he even paid a head waiter at a hotel a hefty tip to get a good table for a Kingston Trio performance. Only to find out they were the ONLY table in the house. It was the last night of a multi-week run.

Richard was a truly honest man. Not only in his dealings with others but how he dealt with a song too. He always knew what was right for his voice and what wasn't. If the song didn't speak to him in a personal way he just wouldn't do it.

I think we sent Richard off in a grand fashion yesterday. Plenty of stories, songs, laughter and tears. There were a couple of times I didn't think I was going to make it through the songs we sang.

"I wonder who, will sing for me
When I'm called to cross that silent sea,
Who will sing for me"

And when they played a recording of Richard singing Townes Van Zandt's "To Live is To Fly" it just made us want to roll back the clock and have one more Monday night of music and laughter.

I don't make friends with men very easily. I'm not sure why. The "best man" at my wedding was a woman. But I loved Richard. And the trio we had with David Grant on banjo and guitar, Richard on guitar and myself on mandolin will always be one of the highlights of my life. And at the end - I'll look back on those Monday nights, remember, and smile.

Richard was one of the good ones. And I look forward to picking with him again.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 09:40 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: freda underhill
Date: 15 Aug 05 - 07:02 AM


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Wesley S
Date: 09 Aug 05 - 10:48 AM

You should hear the song ! It's a song designed to sooth an upset child. A wonderful lullaby.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Big Mick
Date: 09 Aug 05 - 09:31 AM

Wes, my friend, knowing your past, I am sure that story touched you in a profound way. I would have given anything to have been there that night and experienced that moment of connection between performer, audience, Mother, and Child.

A perfect addition to this thread that I am so very proud of. Maybe the best.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: JennyO
Date: 09 Aug 05 - 09:15 AM

Ho ho ho, same to you my friend!

Jenny (feeling a little Christmas spirit too)


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Big Mick
Date: 09 Aug 05 - 08:11 AM

I thought they were lost. Thanks, JennyO, and Merry Christmas!!

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: JennyO
Date: 09 Aug 05 - 07:35 AM

Mick, I was just looking back at this thread and at the jumbled posts, and found the first post by Wysiwyg lurking somewhere in the middle, in which she actually quotes your first post to the original thread - here, and not only that, I then went hunting in the original thread and found it again, lurking nearly halfway down here!

So all is not lost. Hopefully we will eventually have the posts back in order, but in the meantime, at least they are there, somewhere. And even though some of the posts are out of order, it is still great to read these beautiful threads again. Thanks Wes, for refreshing this thread with that lovely story!

Jenny


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Amos
Date: 08 Aug 05 - 01:54 PM

Dear mother of god, what a sweet tale. Thank you, Wes.


A


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Big Mick
Date: 08 Aug 05 - 01:54 PM

Nice to see this old pearl. If you want a flavor of some of the early years, and some amazing stories of how music affects our lives and those of the people around us, then wade through this beginning at the beginning of the first thread.

I just went to look up the location, and notice that the order got screwed in the great crash. It looks like the opening post has been lost. That breaks my heart as I thought this one would be my little part of Mudcat history. That is the way of it though. It is a great thread that I am proud is still around.

There are some very loving folks here.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Wesley S
Date: 08 Aug 05 - 01:42 PM

Here is a great little story I found in an E-mail from Sara Hickman - a wonderful singer from Austin Texas. She has written down her top 20 musical moments and this happens to be her favorite. There are times when we just don't need applause.

here, then, is the NUMBER 1 MOMENT IN THE TOP TWENTY COUNTDOWN

1996...kerrville folk festival...it is hot, hot, hot and the sky is dark, dark, dark. there, out in the darkness, sitting on wooden benches and chairs and blankets and dancing barefoot in the dirt, i can hear the rustling of an audience, enjoying the music, enjoying the night.

it is time. rod is calling to us. "time to come up," he is saying. time to cross the line of hu du man, the invisible line that the japanese believe exists between back stage and out front. crossing that line, you become someone more than yourself. you become the muse.

before i even cross that line, i have changed. it has been a long year of joy and confusion and sorrow. i am no longer just a musician, but a woman who has recently had her first child. a woman who has been singing to the new life inside her, feeling the pulse of jubilation, the thrust of expansion, elbows and knees and occassional hiccups...growing from a hippie chick to a person who has come to understand the circle of life takes precedence over every nuance. being a mother changed me for the better.

i am walking on to a stage, ready to sing, ready to enjoy this night. my baby is asleep in the arms of my dear friend, diana, in the little house backstage. i feel strong, i feel elated.

the music is shared, and i am bouncing. the applause is resounding. i am elated, yet, in the midst of rod's calling for me to return for an encore, i hear a high-pitched sound that makes every fiber in my being ache, it causes me to snap to attention and look, feverishly, through the groups milling around for the person attached to it...where is my baby? why is she crying?

the applause has woken her up, she is frightened. diana has come to the sidelines, she is holding lily, looking to me, and i cross to her faster than lightening. rod is getting impatient, understandably, asking me to come out and do one more song. i can not leave my child. rod is staring at me...."COME ON," his eyes are shouting.

i make a decision. i walk to the microphone. my heart is beating a thousand miles, my child is calm, content, on my shoulder. her eyes are open, but her trust is immediate. we are connected.

i am standing, alone, with my baby. i am looking out into the waiting night. everyone calms down. i ask a question. i ask the audience to help me.

i say to them, "thank you" and how wonderful this honor has been, to be on this stage. i ask them to help me as my baby has woken up, the sound of hands clapping too much for tiny ears. i explain that i will sing one more song, would they be willing not to clap at the end?

it is hard, to hold one's applause: it is what we, as a society, know and understand to do...to share with an artist our delight in their having shared with us their gifts...and, speaking as a musician, it is a feeling of great accomplishment to know the audience is happy, that they are with you in this vulnerable condition.

i don't know how many people were there that night. i have been told 6,000 people were in the fields, waiting. i can not tell you. but i can tell you this.

singing "it's alright", singing with all my heart, with a new heart on my chest, beating silently into sleep, and looking out into that good night was a memory i shall cherish forever. it was the audience's gift to me...as the last note slipped from my lips, i held on as long as i could, and then, gently, without disturbing my daughter, placed a solitary finger to my lips...and not a hand stirred. not one person clapped, or called out...we were united, the friends of music and me...and it was the lullaby of all peoples, to feel the love from all around, to hear the crickets chirping. to know that this song was carried out on the wind into only god knows where, but the moment was ours and ours alone.
what an astounding blessing.

thank you for allowing me to share these countdowns with you....


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: GUEST,MBSLynne
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 05:35 AM

Yep...you hit the nail on the head Jenny. I've just got back from Miskin at Easter where I've done loads of singing and a lot of other stuff too. It makes me feel good. It makes me feel real and alive. And this festival I discovered something new. On Thursday I sang. On Friday someone I didn't know came up to me and said that someone else had asked her to sing a particular song, which she usually does with another woman who wasn't there. She said that having heard me, she thought my voice would do as a substitute so could I learn this song to sing on Sunday evening? She wrote down the words, sang the first verse into her mobile phone, which she lent me, and I went away and learnt it. In the meantime she had collected two other friends. We practised with three of us twice I think and with the fourth a further once, all for about 15 minutes, then we performed it on Sunday with two of us doing the melody line, one higher harmonies and the other lower harmonies. I don't know what it sounded like to everyone else but the feeling of singing together like that took the enjoyment of singing to another dimension....absolutely bloody brilliant.

Love Lynne


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: GUEST,JennyO
Date: 29 Mar 05 - 11:46 AM

Refresh, for those who were lamenting the lack of good music threads.

Having just come back from our National Folk Festival in Canberra, with a good dose of "festival throat" from all the joyful singing in sessions with new and old friends, and a bunch of wonderful memories, I know why I sing - because it makes me FEEL GOOD!!!

Jenny


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: mack/misophist
Date: 20 Jun 04 - 11:39 PM

Because we can. Because we need to. Even those who can't.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: jack halyard
Date: 20 Jun 04 - 04:53 AM

I sing because all the energy input from an rich and beautiful world has to get back out somehow. I sing because singing is poetry with and added dimension, music, which tells experience so much more powerfully than words alone. That's when I sing solo.

When I sing with a crowd, be it a session in a pub or several hundred at a gathering, It is one of the most uplifting of collective experiences.

This is why I invariably write songs with choruses. The affirmation by a crowd of singers of my ideas, beliefs or things I find pleasure in is about as positive and strong as it gets.

Call and response type songs such as shanties where the crowd and the soloist bounce music off each other are definitely the most rewarding of forms for me.
                               Jack Halyard/John Warner


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Marion
Date: 17 Jun 04 - 01:52 PM

I don't think this guy has been brought up on Mudcat yet:

Vedran Smailovic (cut and pasted from another website)

Vedran Smailovic was the famous lone cellist dressed in full evening suit, seen on television all over the world, who refused to stop playing his cello on the streets of Sarajevo after his Opera theater was destroyed and twenty two of his neighbors were killed by a mortar while standing in a bread queue. When asked by a CNN reporter if he was not crazy for playing his cello while Sarajevo was being shelled, Smailovic replied, "You ask me am I crazy for playing the cello, why do you not ask if they are not crazy for shelling Sarajevo?".

He was born on November 11, 1956, the fourth of five children born into a celebrated musical family in the heart of Sarajevo. Throughout his early adult years, Vedran played in symphonic and chamber orchestras and also played traditional, folk and pop-rock music.

A prominent performer, he also conducted, composed and produced. Highly regarded as he was for his music, he was also well loved for his fidelity to the traditions of Sarajevo, 'the soul of the city' . He particularly loved 'Fijaker', the traditional use of horses and traps, and continued to use this means of transport long after it had been relegated to the realms of tourism, creating a fiesta wherever he went. Up to 1992, Verdran Smailovic was fully occupied by his involvement in the Sarajevo Opera, The Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra, The Symphony Orchestra RTV Sarajevo, and The National Theater of Sarajevo, as well as playing the festival circuit and working in recording studios.

Looking back now and remembering that period, Vedran describes himself and his associates as 'totally naive'. So great was their confidence in their unity and in their plurality, he says, that even when they were watching what was happening in Slovenia, they felt absolutely certain that similar destruction could never happen in Sarajevo - that it would be impossible to destroy such strong unity. That was the dream. Sadly the reality was sheer horror...and by 1992, 'Sarajevo was the capital of hell'. After the notorious bread-queue massacre in May of that year, in which 22 people lost their lives, Vedran made his decision to " daily offer a musical prayer for peace" playing in ruins, bomb sites and graveyards, becoming the inspiration for civil resistance in Bosnia. He continued his Music for Peace initiative until December, 1993, when finally "with the help of God and nice people" it became possible for him to leave Sarajevo.

Widely celebrated in poetry, story, music and song, Vedran now lives in Northern Ireland, performing, composing, conduction, arranging and producing music, locally and internationally. He , along with fellow activist and friend, Tommy Sands, recently released Sarajevo to Belfast on Appleseed Recordings.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: KathWestra
Date: 18 Feb 04 - 11:04 AM

Mick, Jeri....thank you. You've learned those lessons well, both the ones about music and the ones about caring and love. I love you both, as surely as I love Rick, Heather, and so many others in this community. Our voices raised together--not alone, but together--in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, in laughter and in tears are why I continue to sing. Kathy


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Jeri
Date: 18 Feb 04 - 09:56 AM

Mick, thanks. Me too.
I know I've exceeded my own expectatations because Rick believed I could and made me believe it too. After all, he ought to know!

Rick's grandest works aren't easily recognized. Musical skill is easy to see and hear, but how many people have been inspired by Rick's belief in them. He looks at you, sitting there with a guitar or a banjo or a you-name-it in your fumbling fingers. You don't move down the musical hallway because you don't know where you want to go or how to get there. You see closed doors that have "Competent Players Only!" written on them and know they're not for you. You sit there, knowing those doors will never open for you until Rick walks up to the door, rips the tape off the bottom of the sign, and you read "(And Those Believe They Can Be)".

If you're like me, you still sit in that chair right up to the point where he yanks it out from under you, spins you around until you're dizzy and you accidentally stumble through the doorway. Bewildered, you still realize where you are and think "Damn...that wasn't so hard. I bet other doors work the same way, although I could go through those on purpose!"

If you're really paying attention, you realize how unspecific the lesson learned is to music. The best teachers teach Life, no matter what the subject appears to be.

I sing because I BELIEVE I can, and because there are songs worth singing and things worth singing about.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: GUEST,noddy
Date: 18 Feb 04 - 04:24 AM

OH I do listen though.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: GUEST,noddy
Date: 18 Feb 04 - 04:23 AM

We sing because we can.
I cant so I dont.
I would if I could but I cant so I wont.

Is that clear


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: GUEST,Big Mick
Date: 18 Feb 04 - 01:25 AM

It's a little after 1:00 AM and I am just back to my hotel, and getting ready to leave for home in the morning. I have spent two days in the loving embrace of Paul and Bev Mills, and the warmth of love and friendship that surrounds Rick and Heather Fielding. I have made music with these wonderful Toronto folkies, and felt the passion they have for their music. I find myself questioning how it is that I have been so lucky as to have be able to experience this. And I find myself longing to share it with all of you. I am here because of this placed, this Mudcat. I am here because we have all become friends. Because of this place I became friends with Rick and Heather. How does one express the depth of feeling that I have for this man and this woman? And how did it come about so quickly? That is the miracle of Max's Mudcat.

Why do I sing? I sing for these friends and this community. I sing for the FSGW and the wonderful folk ghetto of Silver Spring. I sing for the Toronto folk community that has taken me in and treated me with such acceptance. I sing in thanksgiving for precious gifts like Paul and Bev Mills, two of the finest, gentlest people I know.

But today, and forever more, I sing for Rick and Heather. I sing for the love they have shown me, and the friendship they have given me. I sing in celebration of the eternal friendship. I sing in celebration of the love I have seen expressed for the two of them. I sing in the hope that I can justify the faith that Rick has shown in me. I sing in the hope that I can gain the giving attitude of my friend, the willingness to share and help. It will embarass Rick to know that I aspire to be like him, and to have the type of caring that he does. I sing in the hope that I can face adversity as he has.

Rick, in your singing of the last cut, I heard the heart, I heard the truth, I heard the bravery, and I heard the uncertainty. You have touched me in a way that defies description, but which will impact the way I sing from this day evermore. I hate your disease with everything in me, but I will not let it define our friendship. You are my friend, and I am better for that. Thanks be for that.

So, Paul and Bev, Rick and Heather, and the rest who know who they are ............................. I sing for you.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 18 Mar 03 - 10:37 PM

A singer remembered.

Many years ago, there was a health care center I went to often to sing. I sang a mixture of folk music, my own songs and a couple of hymns. A woman caught my attention the first time that I went there, because she sat directly in front of me, and was very quick to pick up choruses of songs she'd never heard. After I finished singing the first time, she came over to me and told me all about herself. She had sung in choirs all of her life, played organ and piano with church choirs and was very proud to tell me that she often sang solos. I could see why. She had a very strong voice and good pitch. Far more vibrato than I like, but it probably blended in well with the church choirs where she sang.

The next time I came there, she was ready for me. She had a good memory, so she was almost doing duets with me. Again, she got me aside to talk to me at great length, and was bursting with excitement.
After a few months, I went back to the nursing home, and there she was, sitting in the front row, although this time, she could barely sit on the chair on her own. She was very excited to see me and motioned me over. When I came over to talk with her, I realized what had happened. She had had a massive stroke, was partially paralyzed, and worst of all, could barely talk. She would struggle to get her tongue around one word, and then there'd be a long pause before she could get the next one out. I really felt compassion for her, because she was so excited to see me, but could barely get a short sentence out. And then, I started to sing, and something very beautiful happened. This woman, who could no longer talk was unable to form the words to the songs, but she sang along anyway, just singing nonsense sounds with perfect pitch. You could se the rapture on her face, being able to sing with me. If there ever was a woman who sang out of love, it was her.

The next time I came, she had died, but I still remember her today, as surely as if she was singing along with me.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 17 Mar 03 - 06:01 AM

Tears in my eyes, Jerry- thank you!
Allison


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: KT
Date: 17 Mar 03 - 12:14 AM

"All of us left with better vision."

And thanks, Jerry for sharing it with all of us here.    KT


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 16 Mar 03 - 09:51 PM

About six months ago, a church "Mother" at the Baptist church my wife and I go to woke up blind one morning. She had just lost her husband about a year ago and they had no children, so she woke up blind, and alone. Several specialists have examined her and they have no explanation why she suddenly went blind (she didn't even wear glasses.) Worse yet, there was nothing they could do about it. Mother McMichael is in her 90's, and quite frail to begin with, so to suddenly be plunged into darkness was frightening and depressing. But, she not only has accepted it, she is one of the most thankful, God-praising people I have ever met. She radiates light when she smiles, and you feel the power of her faith. She is so thankful that she is not in any pain, and finds her pleasures where she can. She can't go to church any more, or get out of her house, except to go to a doctor or the hospital (which is true of so many elderly, infirm people who live at home.) Two Sunday's ago, my wife and I stopped over to visit her, and she was so happy to "see" us. We had a great laugh when the first question she asked her care giver was, "Who is that man?" She was very pleased that a man was visiting her, and she recognized my voice, because I was a weatherman on the radio many years ago. (Sweetly, the fact that I am the only white male in the large black church we go to made no difference to her, as she can't see colors.) When I reached over to hug her when we were ready to leave, the Lord put it on my heart to tell her that the next time my wife and I came to visit, I was going to bring the other Gospel Messengers and we'd do a concert in her living room, just for her. You could have lit up the New York skyline with her smile. The thought of bringing the Messengers to her home had never occurred to me until that instant.

This morning after church, the four of us headed over to her home. She knew we were coming and her care giver had her in the living room, with the "throw" we gave her as a Christmas present very prominently arranged across her lap. My wife, and another of the Messengerette's (Derrick's wife) were there, too. What a time we had!
I don't ever remember us singing with such unbridled joy, or when we've had so much fun! She sat there in her recliner, gently tapping her hands on the throw, in rhythm with the songs, totally lost in the music. I don't think that it would have meant as much to us, if we'd been performing for the Queen. When we left, my wife went back in to get something, and the care giver and Mother McMichael were overcome with joy and appreciation. It was a half hour of our time, but a lifetime experience for them. And for us, too.

Being a folksinger, this wasn't the first time in my life I sang for two people. It was just the first time I chose to do it. And the best paying job I've ever had.

Why do I sing? Because I've always sung, like so many others have said. And because I love to sing. As we all do. But, as the years go by, more and more I sing to bring pleasure to those most in need of it. This morning wasn't a "career move." It was just a beautiful touching between a small group of people. All of us left with better vision.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 16 Mar 03 - 09:19 PM

Deni-C, Amos, Well said.

Stephen Lee


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Amos
Date: 16 Mar 03 - 10:18 AM

Deni-C has added, in the most delicate and understated way, something of importance to the wisdom that has accrued through this series of posts.

The world sometimes seems too ready to fall apart, or move in like a rudderless rockslide across your plans, your heart, your hopes; and it is so easy to feel you are undone, cannot reach out, have no position from which to assert action or intention. It is never true, but always convincing. Inertia, entropy and solidity always look so irrefutable.

But there is something amazing about hauling back and singing -- it is irrefutable as well. An irresistable counterspell. The combination of intent, and art, word, heart, and sheer sound -- these things breed a kind of white magic, that stands up and dispels and undoes the wickedness of the world, and restores the power of one soul to reach out and steer the world back on a good track.


A


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Deni-C
Date: 16 Mar 03 - 09:15 AM

Singing is reaching out...


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 16 Mar 03 - 08:46 AM

Marion, that is INDEED part of why we sing. I've no doubt that the Good Lord will take very good care of Faith. Given her life view, it would seem that He has certainly done that so far.

Stephen Lee


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: CapriUni
Date: 18 Nov 02 - 08:59 AM

Yes, Marion -- thank you for that story of Faith. She certainly seems to have lived up to her name!

Though, in truth, I think you can change: Her housemates and we regular staff were her family for all practical purposes,... to:

Her housemates and we regular staff were her family.

And go ahead and translate those lyrics as "given me so much". That must have been the way she saw her life, if she was as enthuiastic and generous and passionate as you say.

No one could give as much as she could, from an empty basket.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Big Mick
Date: 17 Nov 02 - 10:55 PM

Excellent addition to this thread, friend Marion. I am headed up to the hill after a bit. Moon is full, night is cold and clear. I think tonight I shall play for Faith.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: pattyClink
Date: 17 Nov 02 - 10:39 PM

Sounds like a very sweet soul has moved on. What a lovely tribute to your friend. I haven't heard the song but the lyrics do sound 'just right'. Condolences. You've been a good support to her and will give her a good send-off.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Marion
Date: 17 Nov 02 - 03:04 PM

As some of you know, I've had a career in caregiving for people with disabilities, which I'm now winding down.

I just lost a client yesterday: a very sad and unexpected event. This woman, Faith, had a hard life in many ways; she was rescued from an abusive home and lived several years in an institution before arriving at the group home. She has a brother living, but he has pretty much cut off contact with her. Despite her bad luck in the genetic lottery - a mental handicap - she learned as much as she could about her passions, the Spanish language and Latino music. Her housemates and we regular staff were her family for all practical purposes, and she touched us all with her enthusiasm for daily activities, her concern for the needs of her less verbal housemates, her sensitivity to the sad stories she heard on the news, and her interest in our lives and appreciation for our cooking.

I last saw her a week ago when she was fine, but a disease claimed her in the space of a few days, so it was quite a shock. What's there to do but curl up with a guitar and Wayfaring Stranger and Will the Circle be Unbroken?

I've been asked to sing at her funeral, and what is there to sing but Gracias a la Vida? (lyrics here) Even if it is tempting to translate it not as "Thanks be to life which has given me so much" but as "given me so little."

Marion


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Peter T.
Date: 24 Apr 02 - 08:37 AM

Apart from bowing in the ten directions to the bodhisattvas who inhabit these domains, a brief tip of the hat to catspaw's remark ("Funny that as we gain experience...."). I have never heard the situation stated better. It is like a coin dropped into a very deep well.

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Bert
Date: 24 Apr 02 - 01:36 AM

Oh you're so right KT... makes me want to drop everything, pick up my guitar and sing a few right now!...


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: catspaw49
Date: 23 Apr 02 - 10:36 PM

Stephen, that is what a large part of this place is about. Funny that as we gain experience in years and should be able to hold ourselves together better, more independently, it is now in our lives that we need the warmth of others more. I personally thank you for that beautiful tribute from the bottom of my (mostly rebuilt) heart.

I hope that all who post here have and/or will go back and read the entirety of this multi-part thread. I read it occasionally just for the pleasure of seeing raw and human emotion laid bare and written by folks who understand not only why we sing, but why we live.

It's been a beauty since Day One Mick............

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 23 Apr 02 - 09:02 PM

Thanks to all of you. Mudcat has been very much a part of the healing process.

Stephen


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Amos
Date: 23 Apr 02 - 08:12 PM

Stephen:

Thank you.

And send her thanks, as well, if you will.

My fondest thoughts are with all you have enetered here, and to all you who have here entered.

A


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Celtic Soul
Date: 23 Apr 02 - 06:57 PM

Aw, Jeez! I have *no* idea how I have missed out on this one for so long.

You've all got me crying into my keyboard here. And I thank you for it.

Stephen, that was one moving tribute.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: KT
Date: 23 Apr 02 - 06:35 PM

Whenever I refer someone to MUDCAT, I always encourage them to check out the "WHY WE SING" thread. Reading it over again today, makes me want to drop everything, pick up my guitar and sing a few right now! If I didn't have laryngitis, I wouldn't be able to sing anyway, for the lump in my throat.

Thanks for your post Stephen. There is much wisdom there. And keep singing. I do believe she's hearing you. KT


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Big Mick
Date: 23 Apr 02 - 05:55 PM

God be good to her Stephen..............and to you. Thanks for joining in with a very moving expression. This is another reason why this thread just goes on.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 23 Apr 02 - 05:44 PM

What an amazing question! What an amazingly LOADED question! While I could make certain assumptions or educated guesses under the "we" category, in the long run,I can only, genuinely speak for myself.

Why do I sing? Because there is no experience on Earth which which matches that of the moment when mind, soul, spirit and song fuse into one entity. It is impossible to imagine that anyone will ever develope a drug to duplicate that incredible high. I'm addicted as hell and I'm damned proud of it!

Why do I sing? Because I can -- therefor I must. What I mean is that I was raised to believe the root of all evil is not money or hatred. The root of all evil is the sin of waste. It has been said by one much wiser than I that all that is needed for evil to triumph is for people of good will to do nothing. If one does not actively exercise one's capacity for love or compassion, one is actively clearing a space in which hatred and neglect may grow. To not use one's ability to sing is to add to evil's deadly silence. To sing is to become one of many voices striving to squeeze evil out of the universe.

Why do I sing? Because I'm a shameless HAM!! I am possessed by that peculiar strain of arrogance which infects entertainers of every stripe, compelling them to get up in front of a room full of abject, total strangers and demand that the strangers give a flying "F" about whatever it is the entertainer has to say. The late, great Milton Berle said it best, "Open your refrigerator door. When the light goes on I'll do twenty minutes."

Why do I sing? Because throughout my life I have been in a number of situations which should have either killed me or have made death a less objectionable option (the least harrowing of these being two years of homelessness).I'm still here to sing through the grace of God, the help of friends and the kindness and compassion of a lot of other people to whom I was an abject, total stranger. Singing is all I have to give back.

Why do I sing? Because for an unbelievable sixteen years of my life my late wife regularly told me that she found it comforting to hear me rehearsing in the next room. Because I truely believe in the transcenent power of music. Because, in addition to all the other reasons, it is the only way I have to tell her how deperately I still love and miss her.

Stephen


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Big Mick
Date: 23 Apr 02 - 05:15 PM

I knew it!! When my darlin' Jen wrote me about this happening, I asked her to post it here. I just knew it would fit. I always envisioned this thread as a place for those stories that just leap out of the bards. You know the ones, the stories that just tell themselves.........the ones that show the little places where we store our most treasured emotions. You are a bard, my dear. This one proves it. Thanks for sharing a wonderful bit of yourself and Mary with us.

And isn't it something that the people with the biggest hearts (although in 'spaw's case we gotta say biggest and most rebuilt......LOL) are the ones that responded right away? As will the other good people here.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: KT
Date: 23 Apr 02 - 04:27 PM

Jen, I'm so glad you posted the unabridged version. Thanks for a beautiful story, beautifully told!! KT


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Amos
Date: 23 Apr 02 - 03:37 PM

JE:

I ain't 'lowed to shed tears on my work keyboard -- the budget thing -- but your tale landed right between the eyeballs.

Thank you all over again.

A.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: JenEllen
Date: 23 Apr 02 - 01:44 PM

Well, Spaw, the lion's share of the credit goes to our BigMick. Another blessing we can have is to have people around us that will listen to us and constantly go "Yeah, well what are ya gonna do about it?" and pose questions to us that make us step back from the circle and see things how they really are.
~JE


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: wysiwyg
Date: 23 Apr 02 - 12:49 PM

I sing because we are so blessed, and Jen Ellen is a real good example of that.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: catspaw49
Date: 23 Apr 02 - 12:40 PM

Even better than the e-mail JE.......Beautifully done.........

Much Love........

Pat


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: JenEllen
Date: 23 Apr 02 - 11:37 AM

Thanks, Mick.

My life is exhausting. Plain and simple. The only thing that keeps me anything resembling sane is that I set aside days to do absolutely nothing. Sunday was one of those days, and seeing as it was my birthday, I figured it was as good an excuse as any to sit around in my pajamas and read all the books I've been meaning to get to for forever and a day, but the thing about exhausting lives is that they never go the way you think they are going to.

I'd just gotten off the phone with my Nana (she has to sing 'White Cliffs of Dover' to me every year) and was getting settled in a lawn chair on the patio when I heard the sound of a car crawling up the hill. My friend Sandy pulled in and pulled up a chair. We sat for nearly an hour, just talking about 'stuff' when she jumped up and said "Oh, I've got something for you." She went to her car and returned with a canvas. She handed it to me, and on the front I could see a pencil-sketch of a cabin and some trees, there were a few purplish colors swaths as well. I flipped the canvas over and noticed a lot of scribbling along the frame, things like: "Front snow: Wh & very little purple" "Shadow & bushes: lilac & B.umber" "Add B.sienna to back ground color" Sandy explained to me that she was finally finished with cleaning out her mother's house--Mary had died nearly a year ago-- and this picture was in her 'working window'. She told me "It's not finished yet. It needs to be finished" and then asked me: "Would you finish this?"

The difficult part is trying to tell all of the emotions I was feeling at the time. I'll try my best....A few months ago, when Sandy was doing the initial housecleaning, she came to my house with a box full of brushes, sketches, rolled canvas, and more little half-used tubes of acrylic paints than I could count. She gave them to me, knowing that if there was a use left in them, I'd find it. I did. I'm not a huge fan of acrylics, never have been, but as I took time out to build frames, and stretch and gesso, I started to feel a little bit of that first elation that art always give me. It's a creative event about to take place.

It is also difficult to tell about brushes. Any artist will know, and a non-artist will look at you like you've got two heads. I could tell "Her" brushes. I could reach blindly into the jar, grab one, and if the balance and wear were different than mine, I could tell. At first it was very unnerving. (Those teeth marks there...those aren't mine!) but gradually I became accustomed to using them--I even have a favourite--and spent a great deal of time just playing with them. "If it feels comfortable like 'this'--then she must have held her hand like 'this'..." For a little while, I could see a glimmer of what it must have been like to be Mary.

I didn't know Mary very well. What I did know of her, I adored. She was certainly my kinda gal. The first time I met her was at a bridal shower that Sandy was throwing for me. I am absolutely horrible at those sorts of things. There is none worse. All of the women were having some sort of gown-building contest using streamers and toilet paper or something....I made a lame excuse to go to the bathroom, and I ran like a dog. When I got outside, I noticed a big blue puff of smoke coming around the corner of the building and I figured it was just 'the guys'. (Guys I can handle. I'll take a garage full of beer- drinkers over a tupperware party any day of the week.) I crept around the corner and walked right into Mary, big as life, sitting on the hood of Sandy's car and smoking a cigar.

We sat outside for a while, the fugitives from bridal shower hell, and it was nice to be with someone who appreciated the value of good quiet. She finally looked at me and said: "I'm the one who gave you the paper towels". Truth. I had been a little shocked, after gifts of measuring spoons, etc, to unwrap a gigantic case of paper towels, but not only am I a chicken, I also appreciate the mystery in some things, and wasn't going to ask her "WHY a case of paper towels" if my life depended on it. She blew a big puff of smoke and continued: "When my husband and I got married, we drove to our new home only to find that a truck had lost a big box right in our front yard. My husband went out with his flashlight, and came back in laughing like a loon. The box was a case of paper towels. It took us until our first anniversary to get through all of them, and it was the most practical thing we'd received. So, since our marriage wasn't harmed any by it, I give them to everyone as wedding gifts." I grinned and replied: "Oh, I just thought it was because you were nuts" and she returns with another puff of smoke and says: "Well, there's always that too..."

The first I'd heard of her death was when Sandy came to my office with the first box of supplies. I was shocked and more than a little sad, but it was only the sad of not getting a chance to know a good person a little better. When Sandy brought me the canvas, I figured that this was as good a reprieve as I was going to get. I set the canvas on my studio stand, and walked around it for a while thinking "Mary, Mary, what we gonna do?" The things I knew about her already were that she was decidedly fond of practicing and trying out designs on waxed paper (I use any scrap that comes to hand), she liked themes of flowers and sad-eyed kittens (I am an art snob) she was a tube squeezer (where I am a tube roller), and she constantly wrote herself little notes about the painting she was working on (same here).

Needless to say, my nice day spent doing nothing was totally shot by now. I found the box of her acrylics in the studio, and set to trying out some colours when I realized that if I was going to use her colours, I was going to use her brushes too. The balance would force me to hold them like Mary would have. It was infuriating. I felt I had to stop myself and reconnect on a minute-by-minute basis. This wasn't mine. I would never have done some crap-western-art-cabin-in-the-trees painting. The colours felt wrong--but it really wasn't my decision to make, now was it? She wouldn't mind a stand of birches to balance that gigantic leaning tree she drew, would she? I kept working, and wiping off my/her brushes on a sheet of those damned paper towels. Laughing, crying, asking the cat what HE thought about the whole process ('indifferent' for those that are keeping score), throwing things, and generally being bad company.

I was asked today what it felt like to look through 'her window'. It was difficult, but incredibly enlightening. In between singing "White Cliffs of Dover" with my Nana and later singing "Lilac Bush" along with our UncleDaveO there was a flood of wishes from family and friends that kept me on a roller-coaster. We have birth and life and death, with all of the sparkly bits in between, and damn the greater good-- just who is going to be trusted to follow the directions on the back of MY canvas?

Why do I sing? For the same reason I paint, and laugh, and cry, and blink, and breathe. Some days it's better than curling up with a good book.

~JE


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: wysiwyg
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 12:28 PM

Pete... thinking of the pipers who will pipe for pipers...

~S~


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