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Mentors: thanks and memories

CupOfTea 19 Apr 17 - 09:06 AM
GUEST 19 Apr 17 - 09:11 AM
Will Fly 19 Apr 17 - 09:38 AM
GUEST,JOHN 20 Apr 17 - 06:26 AM
Big Al Whittle 20 Apr 17 - 07:37 AM
CupOfTea 20 Apr 17 - 09:57 AM
Will Fly 20 Apr 17 - 11:38 AM
Mo the caller 20 Apr 17 - 04:43 PM
GUEST,DrWord 20 Apr 17 - 08:55 PM
CupOfTea 21 Apr 17 - 01:38 PM
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Subject: Mentors: thanks and memories
From: CupOfTea
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 09:06 AM

It's Wednesday of Holy Week. I'm at work at the Cathedral, which is in a state of barely controlled chaos, as is typical. My phone rings, I go on with the work phone conversation about some details I need to see to. Rings again, I ignore.Third time, same person, I realize I need to answer it. And daggers went through my heart. The musical director at my church was dead.

Gary was so integral a part of my life for the last 14 years, every Thursday night and Sunday morning, changing me, my outlook, my life. It was his nurturing, jovial, forgiving, happy tutelage that got me started in playing and singing in front of others, and helped me improve all my musical skills. He also taught music, voice and dance at a local prep school, and the outpourings of grief and gratitude from his students overwhelmed me. "He changed my life - he showed me I could do things I never thought I was able to do" was like a refrain going through their praise and anguish. Our church was one segment of an overflowing, busy musical life.

He played, performed, and did choreography for a large number of small theaters and theatrical revues in the area. Musicals were a particular joy. We got to giggle when he'd sneak in a bit of some tune in instrumental postludes or offertory tunes. We joked about "Torchsongs for Jesus" We had this brilliant musician helping us each week to use music for liturgy in fresh and beautiful ways. Last year he headed our music ministry doing a workshop at Diocesan Convention where we introduced 400 Episcopalians to "World Music for Worship"

If not for Gary, I'd never have had the courage to do so many things with music. I owed him such thanks, and I am eternally grateful that I had had a conversation about that not two weeks previous to his death. I try to tell people how much they mean to me, and why, every so often. "Give me the Roses While I Live" has been a theme in my life for years. I've also extended this gratitude to those who've formed my musical taste through good influence. Many of them own embroideries of mine.

I urge you to, every so often, look at your life, and those who have had a positive influence on you, and TELL THEM. Do it while you can.

Joanne in Cleveland


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Subject: RE: Mentors: thanks and memories
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 09:11 AM

Thank you for a lovely and inspiring Post. It is a reminder we all should heed. I am sorry for the loss of your friend and hope the best for you. Again, thank you for this and take care.


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Subject: RE: Mentors: thanks and memories
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 09:38 AM

I know how you feel. Thirty years ago, one of the most brilliant musicians I ever knew and played with - a guitarist called Mick Wayne - died in a fire in an apartment in Chicago. He was over in the US, rehearsing with a big band and a gospel choir, went home, lit a cigarette (or equivalent) and fell asleep. He died from the fire fumes.

When I heard, I was numbed. The next day, I had to catch a bus to go to work because my car was in the garage to be serviced. As the bus took off from the stop, the sadness of it all just overwhelmed me and tears streamed down my face. Mick was not only a brilliant musician but an inspiration to play with. He was a thousand times better than I could ever be but, whenever we played together - perhaps in a pub or at a party - he just upped the game without me knowing, so that I reached to a level beyond myself. Difficult to explain, perhaps. Mick's brother is still one of my best friends and, though he lives far from me, we still meet and play regularly and reminisce about Mick. I feel honoured to have played with someone who, in his day, played with people like David Bowie and Joe Cocker. Luckily, he knew just how much people admired and respected him and his artistry.

Playing and learning from Mick was one of the reasons I started up my website and instructional videos on YouTube. Just trying, in my small way, to pass on a smidgin of what I learned from people like him.


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Subject: RE: Mentors: thanks and memories
From: GUEST,JOHN
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 06:26 AM

Did you guys ever sleep together?


..... sounds like it


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Subject: RE: Mentors: thanks and memories
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 07:37 AM

Will's a gentleman, he wouldn't kiss and tell.
Why not buy one of his instructional videos and play with yourself?


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Subject: RE: Mentors: thanks and memories
From: CupOfTea
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 09:57 AM

Will, yours is the kind of musical influence I had in mind - the people whose influence was life-changing. I love that, in your case, passing it on became important to you as well.

All of us who teach hope to make a lasting impact, but sometimes it's the "just because they were who they were" effect that sticks.

Joanne in Cleveland


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Subject: RE: Mentors: thanks and memories
From: Will Fly
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 11:38 AM

Absolutely, Joanne.


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Subject: RE: Mentors: thanks and memories
From: Mo the caller
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 04:43 PM

So many who have inspired, taught and encouraged.
Singing with Bread & Roses.
Learning to play in Sessions using David Oliver's cds and at the Spare Parts workshops (and if Les Jones could post he would say the same about Tuneworks ) then coming home with a few slow tunes and being encouraged by Helen Armstrong (a member of Time Bandits and has started various things in Chester, won't take no for an answer), Colin Matthews, the Gloom Band plus the Audlem session crowd.

But my first love is Social Dance and there are so many callers who have taught and inspired; and organisers who kept the clubs and festivals going so that we can come together and dance. Ron Burgess at Stockton Heath club was always welcoming, pretty much ran the club, organised the caller's rota, swept the floor,etc. He taught me to call both for the club and when I wanted to go out with a band to call for the 'general public'. Full of encouragement and advice. He can no longer come to club, I've taken over the job of callers rota, and try to encourage others to call.


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Subject: RE: Mentors: thanks and memories
From: GUEST,DrWord
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 08:55 PM

Thread title grabbed me, and while loading, wondered if it would apply [memories] to mentors still living, in which case I would nominate Will Fly. Damned if the tenor god [to me]wasn't right in here! Thanks for your post, Joanne, and to you Will, for your reminiscence ? brought to mind my modelinspirer|musical guru whom I lost 19 years ago. Still a few tunes I can't sing without choking up, quite distinctly hearing his harmony. Cheers, all. Let's keep Gary, Mick, and Craig (my bro) goading and prodding us in our musical pursuits, ESPECIALLY in encouraging LIVE music. Bye now.
keep on pickin'
Dennis


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Subject: RE: Mentors: thanks and memories
From: CupOfTea
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 01:38 PM

Dennis,

Oh, there are those still living who've contributed to my understanding of the craft of music. Some of them I don't know all that well, but think of as "a dear voice" Cindy Mangsen and Anne Lister are like that for me, and their songs have become important.

Dear voices, who're dear and known people - Margaret Nelson, now and always, my favorite female voice and crystalline viewpoint on things that matter in song, and performance, and life. Dick Swain, who inspired devotion to the music. Caroline Paton, who drew me into traditional music with such joy and humor. Cathy Barton, who in small doses, regularly applied at year or two intervals, has given encouraging critique. Judy & Dennis Cook (very alive and dancing regularly) who explore new OLD things with me nearly every week.

I know what you mean about being so much belonging to someone in your head - I imprint like a duckling. Music books, databases and cheat sheets aside, we get so much more from the "gurus" in our lives. Aural tradition is a wondrous thing.

Joanne in Cleveland


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