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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)


wysiwyg 18 Jun 01 - 08:10 PM
TNDARLN 18 Jun 01 - 09:33 PM
Barry Finn 18 Jun 01 - 11:03 PM
wysiwyg 19 Jun 01 - 02:25 AM
GUEST,Willa 19 Jun 01 - 03:05 PM
MMario 19 Jun 01 - 03:16 PM
TNDARLN 20 Jun 01 - 08:28 AM
kendall 20 Jun 01 - 09:05 AM
Marion 27 Jun 01 - 11:13 PM
Bert 27 Jun 01 - 11:19 PM
Marion 27 Jun 01 - 11:32 PM
Alice 28 Jun 01 - 09:12 AM
Big Mick 28 Jun 01 - 10:04 AM
Kim C 28 Jun 01 - 12:14 PM
GUEST,JohnB 28 Jun 01 - 12:33 PM
Jim Krause 28 Jun 01 - 01:55 PM
GUEST 28 Jun 01 - 05:22 PM
Hawker 28 Jun 01 - 05:47 PM
catspaw49 11 Jul 01 - 12:29 AM
Amos 11 Jul 01 - 12:45 AM
wysiwyg 11 Jul 01 - 01:45 AM
catspaw49 11 Jul 01 - 10:57 AM
Noreen 11 Jul 01 - 01:00 PM
GUEST,KT 11 Jul 01 - 01:25 PM
Peter T. 11 Jul 01 - 02:22 PM
Big Mick 11 Jul 01 - 04:44 PM
Peter T. 11 Jul 01 - 05:11 PM
Hollowfox 11 Jul 01 - 06:39 PM
catspaw49 11 Jul 01 - 08:43 PM
katlaughing 12 Jul 01 - 12:51 PM
Walking Eagle 12 Jul 01 - 01:41 PM
GUEST 12 Jul 01 - 04:00 PM
mousethief 12 Jul 01 - 04:02 PM
Uncle_DaveO 12 Jul 01 - 04:31 PM
MMario 12 Jul 01 - 04:39 PM
Uncle_DaveO 12 Jul 01 - 04:42 PM
SINSULL 12 Jul 01 - 08:22 PM
Jeri 12 Jul 01 - 09:51 PM
Mary in Kentucky 12 Jul 01 - 10:08 PM
catspaw49 12 Jul 01 - 10:26 PM
GUEST 13 Jul 01 - 06:52 PM
SINSULL 13 Jul 01 - 10:45 PM
JohnB 13 Jul 01 - 11:16 PM
Sourdough 14 Jul 01 - 03:18 AM
wysiwyg 12 Sep 01 - 12:48 PM
Big Mick 13 Sep 01 - 10:34 AM
catspaw49 13 Sep 01 - 11:01 AM
PeteBoom 13 Sep 01 - 11:16 AM
jeffp 13 Sep 01 - 11:19 AM
wysiwyg 13 Sep 01 - 12:28 PM
JenEllen 23 Apr 02 - 11:37 AM
catspaw49 23 Apr 02 - 12:40 PM
wysiwyg 23 Apr 02 - 12:49 PM
JenEllen 23 Apr 02 - 01:44 PM
Amos 23 Apr 02 - 03:37 PM
KT 23 Apr 02 - 04:27 PM
Big Mick 23 Apr 02 - 05:15 PM
Stephen L. Rich 23 Apr 02 - 05:44 PM
Big Mick 23 Apr 02 - 05:55 PM
KT 23 Apr 02 - 06:35 PM
Celtic Soul 23 Apr 02 - 06:57 PM
Amos 23 Apr 02 - 08:12 PM
Stephen L. Rich 23 Apr 02 - 09:02 PM
catspaw49 23 Apr 02 - 10:36 PM
Bert 24 Apr 02 - 01:36 AM
Peter T. 24 Apr 02 - 08:37 AM
Marion 17 Nov 02 - 03:04 PM
pattyClink 17 Nov 02 - 10:39 PM
Big Mick 17 Nov 02 - 10:55 PM
CapriUni 18 Nov 02 - 08:59 AM
Stephen L. Rich 16 Mar 03 - 08:46 AM
Deni-C 16 Mar 03 - 09:15 AM
Amos 16 Mar 03 - 10:18 AM
Stephen L. Rich 16 Mar 03 - 09:19 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 16 Mar 03 - 09:51 PM
KT 17 Mar 03 - 12:14 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 17 Mar 03 - 06:01 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 18 Mar 03 - 10:37 PM
GUEST,Big Mick 18 Feb 04 - 01:25 AM
GUEST,noddy 18 Feb 04 - 04:23 AM
GUEST,noddy 18 Feb 04 - 04:24 AM
Jeri 18 Feb 04 - 09:56 AM
KathWestra 18 Feb 04 - 11:04 AM
Marion 17 Jun 04 - 01:52 PM
jack halyard 20 Jun 04 - 04:53 AM
mack/misophist 20 Jun 04 - 11:39 PM
GUEST,JennyO 29 Mar 05 - 11:46 AM
GUEST,MBSLynne 30 Mar 05 - 05:35 AM
Wesley S 08 Aug 05 - 01:42 PM
Big Mick 08 Aug 05 - 01:54 PM
Amos 08 Aug 05 - 01:54 PM
JennyO 09 Aug 05 - 07:35 AM
Big Mick 09 Aug 05 - 08:11 AM
JennyO 09 Aug 05 - 09:15 AM
Big Mick 09 Aug 05 - 09:31 AM
Wesley S 09 Aug 05 - 10:48 AM
freda underhill 15 Aug 05 - 07:02 AM
Waddon Pete 18 Apr 07 - 09:40 AM
Wesley S 15 Jul 10 - 09:56 PM
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Subject: Why We Sing, Part II
From: wysiwyg
Date: 18 Jun 01 - 08:10 PM

PART ONE was so wonderful, I hated to start a Part Two, especially without Big Mick's own post to start it off... but it's gotten too long to load!

No better words to start it then the ones Mick used the first time around, so here they are again.

~S~


Subject: Why we sing.
From: Big Mick
Date: 17-Dec-98 - 11:07 PM

I want to relate some story's to you. I am doing it because they remind of another reason why we must tell the story's of people. I am doing it because we oft times get accused of being maudlin or melodramatic. I am doing it because I must share this with you.

My fellow workers in the office of the Local Union I work for here in Michigan decided that in addition to whatever else we do to help out at the holidays, we would also collect toys, contribute money, and hold a christmas party for the second and third grade classes of a local school. These kids live in a pretty tough area, and don't get the same opportunities that others do. Because I speak Spanish, I usually dress up as Santa. The following are occurrences that actually happened. As you will see, the kids have done more for me and my fellow workers, than we could ever do for them.

The first year, I remember the little girl who, out of all the presents she received, was most excited by the toothbrush we put in the pack..mind you there was a Barbie doll, some pretty outfits, and so on. And she was excited, but most excited by the toothbrush. I asked her why, and she replied, "Oh Santa, I have never had my very own toothbrush before..I have always had to share one with my brothers and sisters.

There was one little girl in the class who was new, she had only been there for a month. Her parents were migrant farm workers, and she only spoke spanish. Even though other children and the teacher were bilingual, the little girl wouldn't speak. The teacher warned me that she likely wouldn't speak to me. She was so shy when she sat on my lap, and wouldn't look at me. I said to her, "Rosa, Que queres a Navidad? She looked up at me, and her eyes got so big, and she said, "Oh Santa, and she started crying and hugging me, and I cried, and it was a hell of a sight.

One little boy who caught my eye, was taking his presents, and very, very carefully unwrapping them one by one. When he got done, he just stared with his hands folded over his chest for a few minutes. He then started to rewrap them one by one. I asked him why he was doing this. He told me that he just wanted to enjoy looking at them for a few minutes, but he wanted to wrap them back up so his brothers and sisters could have someting under the tree.

A little girl today, was obviously excited, but very nervous about seeing Santa. She kept hiding her face as she sat on my lap. I asked her if she was shy, and she gave me a card that she had made me. It said "Dear Santa, I have never met you before, and I am very shy. I am sad because I don't have any friends. I like toys, but all I want for Christmas is a friend. Love, Alison" Needless to say, I had tears in my eyes. I told her that she already had a friend, me. She hung on my hip all day, and Santa introduced her to all the other kids as his special friend. And I told them that she was a real good friend, and they might want to be her friend too. I hope it bears fruit.

I am not sure why I am writing this all down, but you have all become very special to me, and I felt I had to share it with you. You ever wonder why we sing, I can tell you that for me it is about telling the stories of kids like these.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: TNDARLN
Date: 18 Jun 01 - 09:33 PM

In scanning tonight's threads, the original thread topic was one that drew me- and so I just finished reading all the posts! How moving and empassioned your stories! Susan, your story about the deathbed scene of a friend brought me to tears, because, Sister, I DO understand. I sing Sacred Harp. I am also a Believer. People who don't understand, upon hearing our songs, are amazed that we sing such "morbid" songs about death, and often in minor keys....I cannot describe the joy that I personally feel as I sing these songs, [and besides that, they're really about Life!] but when I look around the square and see what appears to be the same joy on others' faces, I realize that there is a Truth here that surpasses understanding...and so for me, it's sing or bu[r]st!! If the rocks can cry out, then I must. To share a line from number 312, Sing to Me of Heaven, with y'all: "Let music charm me last on earth, and greet me first in heaven." Amen.

T.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Barry Finn
Date: 18 Jun 01 - 11:03 PM

Singing, it's just like breathing. Barry


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: wysiwyg
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 02:25 AM

T, where you at?

Welcome to Mudcat-- ask anything, read the FAQ-- "yer among yer own kind now!"

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: GUEST,Willa
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 03:05 PM

Thanks, Jeri, but I don't know how to use mp3. I'll wait for someone to post the tune or a link. Thanks for the offer.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: MMario
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 03:16 PM

Sunday - sitting at the SEAMUS KENNEDY concert (unsolicited plug) I glanced over at one point and saw a five year old friend bouncing in his seat - grinning from ear to ear, singing along at the top of his lungs. And around the table four of his sisters, his mom and dad, all doing pretty musch the same thing (without the bouncing)

And it ran through my head - THIS is why we sing.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: TNDARLN
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 08:28 AM

Thanks for the hospitality, Susan. I be in Tennessee, on the right.

T.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: kendall
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 09:05 AM

Mick, now I have two reasons to make you a hero! Having been one of 9 kids in a very poor family, this story really got to me.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Marion
Date: 27 Jun 01 - 11:13 PM

In response to the guest who in part 1 mentioned hearing about an orchestra in Auschwitz... (can anyone confirm or deny?)

The book "Night" by Elie Wiesel is a first hand account of concentration camp life by a man who was a teenager at the time. He describes another young man who somehow brought his violin to the camp with him and kept it with him right until his death... one evening during a forced march from one location to another, he played Jewish music on it... the next morning the boy had died, with the violin crushed beneath him.

As disturbing as the whole book is, this episode really stood out to me. You may want to read the book, but you may not; it's certainly the most terrible thing I've ever read.

Marion


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Bert
Date: 27 Jun 01 - 11:19 PM

Wow Barry, another Mudcat classic quote "Singing, it's just like breathing."

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Marion
Date: 27 Jun 01 - 11:32 PM

Here's a story from my late father; during the last 20 years of his life, he and my mother went faithfully to the local nursing homes to lead hymn sings, and he often described what he called his first hymn sing.

My father fought in the Second World War; he was one of these small-towners leaving Canada for the first time, leaving behind his wife and children, going to fight a war across the ocean with no idea of when he might return.

The troopships departing from Halifax observed the blackout to lower the risk of attack. On the second night of the journey, my father wandered up to the front of the ship to stand and think, and he says that he was feeling very alone and far from home.

So he began to sing:

Lead, kindly light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead thou me on.
The night is dark, and I am far from home
Lead thou me on.
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

As he sang, a dozen other voices joined him out of the darkness; when the finished the hymn, there was a pause, and someone said, "Do you know....?" And they sang several more hymns together. He never did find out who the other singers were that night.

Marion


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Alice
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 09:12 AM

How can I keep from singing?


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Big Mick
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 10:04 AM

In ones life, if they have done enough things right to be able to count them on both hands, then they are blessed. Starting this thread is one of those things for me, each time I read another piece of someones heartstory. Thanks Marion, for adding to that story.

Kendall, I thought you were my hero!! If you think it was touching to read, you should have been there. I got the sense, standing in front of this wee man as he explained to me, that I was in the presence of a wonderful and kind spirit that reveals its presence to us only every so often. And only if we care enough to look for it. I see hero's every day, but none bigger than that young man.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Kim C
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 12:14 PM

I am also in Tennessee, in the middle. :-)

I don't remember what I said in the first thread, so please forgive me if I repeat myself.

I have sung all my life. I never wanted to do anything but sing. I felt like there were too few outlets for what I wanted to do, even in Nashville. So I got a real job but I kept on singing, if only for myself.

Finally, now, I am living that lifelong dream of singing. I realize that it didn't happen before because I didn't understand how to appreciate that gift. I was big-headed about it when I was younger. I expected people's compliments because I knew I was good.

Nowadays I am simply in awe when people say they like what I do. I sing for the little old lady who throws her arms around me with tears in her eyes... for the stranger who looks me dead in the eye and says Thank you for sharing, you have a beautiful voice... and for that little 3-year old boy cuttin a rug at the foot of the stage.

And I sing for my father who now listens from a star in the heavens. He gave me this voice.

I get paid now, and that's really nice. But it doesn't even come close to the gratitude I have for the gratitude of others. This is my gift God gave me to share, and just being able to share it means so much to me.

Cheers----- Kim


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: GUEST,JohnB
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 12:33 PM

I sing because I don't know how to stop. I wander around work singing, even though I don't really want to be here. I sing in the truck on the way to work on the way home when i am driving anywhere. The time I know when to stop is when I am in bed with my head in my pillow, drifting away, then my wife's voice says "will you shut up and go to sleep" JohnB


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Jim Krause
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 01:55 PM

I think we're all alike that way. We can't stop singing, and why would we want to? Singing probably saved my sanity when I went through some very wrenching times when I was 22. I look back at that time and can only shudder. But through it all I kept on singing bacause I didn't know what else to do, and no one had any answers for all the pain and suffering. >br>Jim


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 05:22 PM

JohnB, I sing in my sleep - not out loud, but I do often wake and realise I've been 'practising ' in my sleep.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Hawker
Date: 28 Jun 01 - 05:47 PM

Because I always have!
I was planning a project and one of the parts of this was - 'Making singing part of everyday life' I had trouble actually understanding that it wasn't for everybody. When I talked to my kids about it they said that the kids who come to our house to play think I am mad / fun / funny 'cos I make up songs rather than talk, sometimes it's opera, sometimes it's church choir, sometimes it's rock n roll etc, but it's a hell of a lot more fun than just talking! I have yet to work out how to get others who dont to try it, but maybe I'll just sing the whole workshop!
No, really, I do love to sing, and I do tend to sing instead of talking, but I am relatively normal otherwise (apart from playing the bodhran - usually in time!)
Lucy


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Jul 01 - 12:29 AM

I've thought about this for several weeks now and tonight I guess it's time to take a shot at saying it. Because I sing, I came here and because I came here, I made many friends, many unmet, and yet as close to me as any I've known. I found friends here who sang for their friends, in happiness and sadness, in good times and bad.......and I often joined in the chorus. Too often though in the past few years, the song has been for me as I've gone through some of life's less pleasant experiences. I have been more than moved by the songs written, the good thoughts and prayers sent to me and Karen. I believe that my life has been not just enriched, but frankly saved by the songs, thoughts, and prayers, of my friends here at the 'Cat. Sometimes I wonderered why I was so blessed........................

A few days after the latest miraculous surgery which could have left me dead instead of here writing this post, I was up and about, bored stiff, and wandering the halls of Floor 8 at OSU's University Hospital. I was perusing the skyline through other room's windows and watching the progress on renovations at Ohio Stadium. Floor 8 is the Cardiac floor in a hospital that specializes in high risk heart patients and surgery so the occasional deaths are more the norm than they are in other places. Standing in the hallway and peering through a window in a waiting area, a woman broke my thoughts by asking, "Hi! I keep noticing you passing. Why are you here?" I guess it wasn't until then I realized it was a family waiting area. I saw no one else in the room and as she had asked, I wandered in and told her why I was there. She was knitting away as we spoke and after a few minutes of my story, I asked why she was there.

She began to tell me of her husband, 74 years old and a healthy man til a month ago. Now his overall heart function had been reduced to 30% when he was brought in and even with the best efforts of the Doctors, it was now down to 10%. We talked of their life and what he had done, what they had done together, their children, their retirement. He had been a Union president at one point and merged with a larger union where he was Secretary for many years. They had enjoyed a retirement of almost 20 years together and had a fine life. So we talked on and on for about an hour. The best I could do was reassure her of that which she already knew.....Memories were rich and wonderful things, a fine family was about the best thing anyone could have, friends were great too, and that she had those things to hold onto as the time was now short for him.

Her nephew Harold, a fellow about my age, came in about that time and we talked for a few minutes. I said my goodbyes and wished them the best. A few hours later, wandering the halls again, I heard a few moaning, low pitched, screams and as I turned the corner, realized they came from her husband's room. I continued on, hoping to get back to my room before things got "busy." As I walked past, Mrs. "X" came out holding Harold's arm and our eyes met briefly. I tried the best "chin-up smile" that I could muster and moved aside as they headed for an area set aside for those times. I went into my bathroom and shed a few for her and for the life she now faced. It happens every day, thousands of times the world over, but 54 years together is a long time.........................

The next day Harold came into my room and asked if he could have a few words with me. He said he was there to pick up a few things and his aunt had asked him to see me if I was still there. He said that she appreciated the time I had spent with her and the words I had said, although I had no idea what they were......and still don't. He thanked me for being there, that she was really thankful for meeting me, and said that, "Whatever you said to her, it meant a lot." I thanked him and we made some small talk, he wished me well, and we parted company. I laid down and thought about it and began to wonder about things in general..........Most of it sounds kinda' hokey I guess, but it got down to this.......................

Maybe all those songs sung for me and prayers and thoughts sent my way assured that I'd be in that hallway where I was given the chance to say a few words that helped another human being in a time of need. Maybe without the songs of my friends, Mrs."X" would have done just fine, but she was grateful I was there............And I was there thanks to you. Let's all continue to sing for our friends.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jul 01 - 12:45 AM

Spaw,

You demonstrate what I think I have figgered out -- that many of us sing because we are blessed with hearts that are so big they over-fill and must needs reach out into the large space of our fellow human beings in all dimensions. And that is done at times by singing, and at times by simply speaking, and at times by the listening silence with which you gifted Harold's aunt.

If ever there does come a time when you decide to drop the shell, move back, look around, perhaps review things, look down, or any of the other things folks are said to do when they are figuring out what next to pursue by way of a lifetime -- I hope you will see me putting up a small sign on your behalf somewhere, and realize in some small way how appreciated you are. Maybe brass, or polished cedar, or fine rare stone, simply reading:

To Spaw --

He Had the Biggest Heart of All


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: wysiwyg
Date: 11 Jul 01 - 01:45 AM

:~)


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Jul 01 - 10:57 AM

Amos, I think your first paragraph sums up much of what we have read in this two-parter thread........You may have it "figgered out." Thanks for your kindness and thanks again to Mick for a wonderful thread idea.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Noreen
Date: 11 Jul 01 - 01:00 PM

Thank you , Spaw and Amos. *sniff*


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: GUEST,KT
Date: 11 Jul 01 - 01:25 PM

I'm reminded of the Poverty thread. Indeed, we are all rich, aren't we? Thanks for your insight, Spaw. I'm on my way to a gig right now, and reading this thread again makes me ready and eager. Now if this keyboard gets any wetter, it's gonna short out! I'll sing a few, with joy, for mudcatters everywhere! KT


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Peter T.
Date: 11 Jul 01 - 02:22 PM

This is the thread I always refer people to when they ask what is the Mudcat about. I think it has to do with the array of STOTMIs here (Smart Talking Outside, Total Mush Inside).

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Jul 01 - 04:44 PM

Tonight I am headed for the studio. I will sing. I will sing for a man who has become one of my best friends. I will sing for Spaw, and I will sing because folks like this lady, her son, and her departed husband count on the likes of us to sing.

Love you, Pat.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Peter T.
Date: 11 Jul 01 - 05:11 PM

Hey Mick, check your PM's. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Hollowfox
Date: 11 Jul 01 - 06:39 PM

(not quite thread creep) Just now I ran across a blurb for a book that's coming out next month (August 2001); "How Can We Keep From Singing: Music and the Passionate Life" by Joan Oliver Norton (Norton Pub. ISBN 0-393-02024-X). "Provides an evocative celebration of singing and the creative spirit as it takes a close-up look at the world of amateur musicians and music and emphasizes the human need to play the "invisible instrument" of human creativity." It probably won't cover the subject half as well as these threads, but it has possabilities.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Jul 01 - 08:43 PM

I've read this thread from the outset and if a book can match some of the stories told here, it should be great. It's probably worth a read in any case!

Thanks for your kind comments as I thought long and hard before posting the above story. PT is right of course.....we're a kind of mushy bunch on the inside......which is why we sing, with passion.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: katlaughing
Date: 12 Jul 01 - 12:51 PM

I am glad you told it, Spaw. It gave me chills up the spine the first time and filled my heart full of gratitude for this place and for you.

luvyadarlin'...kat


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Walking Eagle
Date: 12 Jul 01 - 01:41 PM

I sing for the past, present and future. Remember the past, sing it to the present, so it can be passed on to the future.

Every last one of us is born with a musical instrument, our voice. Whether we are rich or poor, we can use it.

How can I keep from singing?


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Jul 01 - 04:00 PM

When my mum had had several strokes, and her mind was wandering, I sat by her bed. My lasting memory of her is of her going about the house singing; I never heard her sing anywhere else. My sister and I also sang around the house ( much to the fury, sometimes, of my brother!) A little voice said 'sing me to sleep'- and I did.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: mousethief
Date: 12 Jul 01 - 04:02 PM

Neat story, Guest. Shortly before my grandmother (dad's mom) died, everybody in the family went to visit her but me (I was at work). She kept saying, "Where's Al?" Finally I got off work and was able to go visit her, alone. She was unresponsive, but I sat at her bed and sang the old hymns she loved. She died while I was driving home.

Alex


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 12 Jul 01 - 04:31 PM

MMario, in the fifth post in this thread, recalled a child at a concert bouncing to the beat and singing, accompanied by the whole family singing, but presumably much more controlled body language.

This reminded me of a class I took with West Virginia Old-Time banjo guru Dwight Diller, a great if somewhat imperious banjo teacher. He said something like:

"Say you're playin' the banjo at one end of a room, and at a table at the other end are some people, talkin', not even listenin' to you play the music. They don't even know it, but their feet are tappin' in time with your music. THEN you know you've got the rhythm!"

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: MMario
Date: 12 Jul 01 - 04:39 PM

actually - with the crowd I hang around with, normally it's the kids that have the subdued body language. But we were on "best behaviour" 'cuz it was Seamus.

And this is the last time I skip reading this thread when it pops up more then once a day. to emotion-twisting overload otherwise.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 12 Jul 01 - 04:42 PM

Someone wrote about her mother singing things to people rather than talking.

When my Beautiful Wife and I were newlyweds, back in the Late Pleistocene, we often sang "opera" to each other:

So I might sing, making up the recitativ-type tune as I went along:
Good bye, my love!
I'm off now to the office!
I'm off now to the office for the day!
For the day!
For the day!
I'm off now to the office for the day!
I will be home
This evening, at day's ending,
This evening, at day's ending, with a kiss!

And she would probably reply in kind. Fun! Haven't done that kind of thing in years! Might just try this tonight, and see just how crazy my Bride thinks I am. (Well, I know that already, but how much crazier than usual.)

DAve Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: SINSULL
Date: 12 Jul 01 - 08:22 PM

I sing for myself. I always have. To my cats. For Aunt May who died many years ago but whose songs live on in me. But I have a terrible time singing in front of people. In the movie "Yankee Doodle Dandy" George M Cohan tells his wife that she has "a nice little voice". That's how I feel about mine. Usually on key - a nice little voice but never meant to fill a room. I sang for people for the first time on Mudcat's Hearme. And have a few times since. My head is full of lyrics. I used to fill up an eight hour drive with one song after another and still have five or six more ready. I sing for my son who at 26 still begs for "The Golden Vanity", his absolute favorite. When I stop singing I will die.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Jeri
Date: 12 Jul 01 - 09:51 PM

SINS - voices don't have to fill rooms to be worth hearing - only hearts. The quietest voice can do that. I heard you. Keep singing.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 12 Jul 01 - 10:08 PM

Susan sings hymns for me!

MS has taken away my ability to sing, so now I experience singing through others.

When I feel an overwhelming desire to sing, for some reason it's usually a hymn, usually one of the Early American hymn tunes. (Sacred Heart shaped-note singing.)


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Jul 01 - 10:26 PM

That's odd Mary. When I read your postings here and your notes to me, I hear you singing all the time.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 06:52 PM

sinsull, or mabe it should be 'when I die I'll stop singing'


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: SINSULL
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 10:45 PM

Both are true GUEST. Mary in K - keep singing in your heart.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: JohnB
Date: 13 Jul 01 - 11:16 PM

That's what CD's, tapes and all that recording equipment are for. So that when we are not here to sing ourselves, our songs will still be around. I have a tape of my mother singing songs which she recorded in England and sent to us in Canada primarily for my children. It is totally irreplaceable and was done on a recorder that cost about 18 quid in 1975ish. It's not the quality that makes it, like someone said earlier, it was done from the heart. We should all leave a legacy like that. JohnB


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Sourdough
Date: 14 Jul 01 - 03:18 AM

It took until today before I read this thread and I realized what I had been missing. Big Mick's original post is wonderful. It is followed by wonderfully open stories from others but Susan's telling of someone's final moments is particularly special. What a wondeful thread(s) this is. Thank you all for creating it.

Sourdough


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: wysiwyg
Date: 12 Sep 01 - 12:48 PM

Because if we don't... the world is too quiet, and too sad for anyone in it to think straight.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: Big Mick
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 10:34 AM

I am sitting here, still numb, still trying to sort out my feelings. We have a thread with the subject of "A Mothers Opinion". It caused me to sit and think about this whole tragedy from the perspective of the roles that I play. Those being as citizen, Dad, Grandpa and Husband, Union/political/citizen activist, Warrior, and Bard. And as ponder these things, I find my thoughts wandering back to this old thread. I look around at the madness, and wonder "Why we sing"?

Citizens are taught here that this is the greatest country in the world. There is much to suggest that this is so, as long as one only looks at it through the prism of our good deeds and our successes. But, if we Yanks dare, we need to ask ourselves why a considerable part of this world has large factions that would gladly "strike at the head of the snake" in spite of what we do. Many citizens around the world love Americans, yet hate America. I am so proud to be an American, yet I want us to quit looking at the world through blinders. To paraphrase Paolo Freire, "To stand by and do nothing to end the suffering is to side with the torturers". I want these bastards rooted out, true enough……….yet I want us to look at our place in the world through different eyes…………..I want us to understand that we aren't the greatest, rather we are apart of the greatest…………the greatest work that God ever did. That is creating the entire human race. If it is wrong for our children to suffer, then it is wrong for all children to suffer. If it is wrong for Americans to suffer the fear of this attack, then it is wrong for all people to suffer that fear. If it is wrong for anyone to withhold medicine that could help our people, then it is wrong to withhold medicine that could help Iraqui's. I am proud to be an American, but I am acutely aware that we can no longer choose which good things we are going to do. I want us to move to the politics of a consistent set of base values, instead of the politics of convenience. And so I sing. I must sing the songs that raise awareness. I must sing songs that help us feel pride, justly so, in the great things we have accomplished. And then I must sing songs so that we know that we still have a long way to go before we reach our potential for goodness.

I am a Dad and husband. Each night when I come in, I go upstairs and look at my wee girl, and think of how much I love her, her sisters, and my grandson. I usually hum an old Irish Lullaby, "The Connemara Cradle Song". If Ciara is awake, she likes "John O'Dreams". MaryLou is usually asleep on the couch. I know that I want to protect and shelter them from all this. I want to sing to them of how beautiful the world is and shelter them from all that isn't. But I know that I cannot. That if I do this, then I will not be preparing them for what is so. I know that I must sing to them of what is sad, of what must be fixed, of what is tragic………………..I must sing of all these things, as well as of all that is beautiful. But most of all I must sing to them of hope, of what is possible, and of what THEY can do to make it so. It isn't fair that we can't just fix the problems with a song. But we can inspire our loved ones to make a difference.

In my work, I follow a path towards the goal of improving the workplace, government, and the community. I try to show that there is a problem. I then try to show how it applies to the person/community that I am dealing with. Once I establish this, then I work to show the solution and attempt to get that resolution. It seems to me that it is easy to see that the problem is that we have been attacked in a horrific manner, that it affects everyone of us in this country and the world at large. And that we must go after these individuals/organizations. But my training and experience tells me that there is another bridge beyond the fog. People just don't wake up one morning and decide to kill thousands and thousands of people in one fell swoop. We surely MUST punish those that sponsored this madness. But then we must turn our eyes to the horizon. We must go to those that believe that there was some justification for this madness and try to understand the conditions that spawned that belief. We must listen with our empathic receivers turned up full. We must apply values in a consistent way. We must realize that if it is wrong to kill civilians in New York City, then it is wrong to kill them in Harrah's Department store in London. If it is wrong to make war on non-combatants in the US, then it is wrong in the North of Ireland. If conditions are so bad that a people decide to be suicide bomb in Manhattan, then we must try to understand what causes this in Jerusalem. As a proud American, I want to sing the songs that raise these issues. I want to sing, so that my countrymen will understand that we have done great things, but that we have not come close to our potential greatness. All human beings have greatness in them. I have seen the hero's every day of my worklife. But they aren't sports figure, politicians, or generals. They are average people, struggling to live, and wanting to do what they can to make the world a better place. I must sing the songs that show them the way.

I am a warrior. I say this not in a melodramatic way. I do not say it with bravado, or to impress. It is simply a statement of fact. The part of me that is a warrior knows the dirty work that must be done. The real warrior hates the tasks that must be completed, but understands that s/he stands in that murky place between absolute good and absolute evil. There is a very thin line that separates us from being an agent of change for better, or the facilitator of great terror. We tend to look at things different from the idealist. I have always admired the peace advocates. The people that say that the anwer is simply "No More War". But I also know that will never be. The planet is not full of automatons that, when being bad, can simply be programmed. And besides, one persons "bad" is another persons "good". Despite my desperate desire to change the hearts and minds of those that think there is justification in this, the facts are that this is not possible. And so I must make a value judgement and pray to my God that I am choosing correctly. And then begin the hunt. The perpetrators and their sponsors must be hunted down. Their ability to repeat this horro must be destroyed beyond repair. That work will fall to those that are doing the work now. I must sing to the warriors and tell them I understand, but not many will. I must sing to others and tell them that these men and woman are doing the hard work that most could not do. I must sing to the warriors and tell them that they must never lose their souls, for if they do then they have simply become killing machines………….and eternally damned. And I must sing to them and tell them to choose who they follow with great care.

Bard. To write it, and look at the word stirs ancient feelings from the old part of the soul. Those of us who walk the path of Bard…………..and that includes many who are reading these words……….need to understand that our place in 2001 is no less relevant than it was several thousand years ago. In fact it is more relevant. Our spiritual ancestors were charged with reporting the news of the day. Depending on how they chose to do it, or for whom they served, they could create the news in a way that served their purpose. Today, the electronic media means that others do that. And that makes our work all the more important. We, as bards of the modern era, must be vigilant. We must watch with sensitive eyes and listen with sensitive ears. We must ever be aware of the importance of our work, even when no one is listening.

And so we sing. We sing to help us clear our minds. We sing because our place in the world demands that we do so. We sing because we love our families, our countries, our world……………..our children. I sing for the little 8 year old boy that wanted to go to prison because he would get three meals and clean sheets every day. I imagine him, grown to manhood, and saying to me "I told you so". And I know that I must sing to show a better way, and make this not so. I sing for Santa's kids so that they might know that their goodness is all that stands between us and the senseless brutality. And I sing for my own salvation. Enough.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: catspaw49
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 11:01 AM

As always, well done bro.............I am always proud to have you as a friend, sometimes even moreso....like now. Well spoken and truly felt.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: PeteBoom
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 11:16 AM

WYSIWYG - thanks for refreshing this.

Mick - tremendous couple of messages.

I sing because there are times that nothing else can say what I'm trying to say. Wrote a lament last night when doing mundane work around the house - I'll look at it in a week or two to see if it is still good.

Got a message this morning I did not want. A fellow I met at a pipe band contest a couple of years ago and have met there regularly since is among the missing fire fighters. The brother of another piper I met is also missing.

My grandkids have all fallen asleep in my arms at one time or another being sung to sleep by grandpa. My wife has done the same. I can only hope that Mike and Brian found a peacefull rest and hear music better than any I can produce.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part II
From: jeffp
Date: 13 Sep 01 - 11:19 AM

Mick .........thank you.

jeffp


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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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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 - 05:55 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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,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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 - 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 - 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: 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: freda underhill
Date: 15 Aug 05 - 07:02 AM


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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: 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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