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Why We Sing, Part III

Related threads:
Why We Sing - Jaime de Angulo (1)
Why We Sing, Part II (90)
Why we sing. (137)
More Why We Sing: a POW choir (13)


wysiwyg 20 Feb 06 - 01:40 PM
wysiwyg 20 Feb 06 - 04:44 PM
Amos 20 Feb 06 - 05:49 PM
wysiwyg 14 Sep 17 - 08:03 PM
wysiwyg 01 Oct 17 - 05:42 PM
Mo the caller 03 Oct 17 - 07:22 AM
wysiwyg 17 Jan 18 - 04:27 PM
Mr Red 18 Jan 18 - 10:53 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Jan 18 - 11:00 AM
Mr Red 20 Jan 18 - 06:44 AM
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Subject: Why We Sing, Part III
From: wysiwyg
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 01:40 PM

This is a continuaion of a thread Mick started:
WHY WE SING (the original). It continued here: WHY WE SING, Part II.

Those older threads are a bit out of date-order right now due to a Mudcat technical issue yet to be resolved, but using those links should bring them up in Printer-Friendly-mode (which should show them in the correct order).

So, here's Part III.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part III
From: wysiwyg
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 04:44 PM

Here's a lovely story a friend shared with me today. He no longer "Mudcats," but he gave me the OK to post it.

~S~


*********************************************************************


It's just an old guitar...
by John Hardly

"Tell you what. If you're going to go ahead and buy the pugmill, I'll give you the guitar and banjo for an extra $100 if you want them," Dave said. "It's an old Harmony. I used to play coffeehouses with it in college."

Never being one to turn down a guitar for $100, even if the banjo had to come with it (how else you gonna get rid of a banjo?), I said, "Sure."

I've known Dave for nearly my entire professional life. He's another potter.

When I was just a kid starting out – half way through my college years, just married and building a pottery from scratch – I headed toward my very first art fair in central Indiana. I had my '66 Buick Skylark loaded beyond full. Just 30 miles from home, the poor old girl broke down on the highway that traces the Eel River ridge across Northern Indiana.

After road repairs, I finally got to the art fair a half a day late. Dave was the first person I met. I asked him if he thought the show worth the extra effort of trying to set up overnight to salvage the rest of the show. A simple roll of the eyes was the first of a thirty-year string of good advice Dave has given me.

Dave has taught me the ropes of doing art fairs for a living. He has taught me much about pottery. And he has taught me much about jumping into life with both feet.

Life has kinda forced Dave into being a maverick. It's not like life is particularly cruel to Dave. Neither has he found the skids to be often greased. But Dave generally has to figure out his own way of doing things. He doesn't always have the best tools to excel at the challenges that appeal to his intelligent, inquisitive mind.

For instance, Dave is not built like a potter. He is slight – more than a passing resemblance to Barney Fife. Dave learned early on that he wasn't going to be muscling his way through turning 20 lb. clay pots. Instead, he figured out how to finesse his way through 5 pounders.

Dave doesn't seem to measure the value of a challenge, or his willingness to attempt to tackle it, by how well equipped he might be to take it on. And time and again Dave shows character – humanity – not in excelling at those challenges, but in trying, in enjoying those challenges.

And I've seen Dave get knocked down. Flat. Wiley Coyote meets the oncoming train in the tunnel. I see him continue to get back up. He doesn't bother to look around to see if anyone saw him topple. Why would he? He isn't attempting the challenge to impress others. He knows the intrinsic worthiness of "try."

"Try."

A life is only empty when it's devoid of "try." Sure, I've learned the art fair ropes from Dave. But the value of "try" is what I'll most take away from the friendship.

And Dave's tenacity has not just earned him my respect, but a career that has spanned four decades, selling thousands of pots a year in nearly every hard-to-get-into fine art fair throughout the Midwest. And there is a group of Midwestern potters whose work will always reflect Dave's influence.

Sometimes "Try" pays off extrinsically as well intrinsically.


So now here I am, looking at this $100 Harmony 1260 Jumbo that I got with the pug mill. Not a terribly "gifted" guitar. It's got a bad neck angle, cracked peghead, poor-fitting replacement tuners, a pickguard that was poorly glued back on. And I'm wondering if it's worth the expense of trying to bring it up to real playability...

...And now there Dave is, looking at the last big challenge for which he's not been given quite adequate tools. There he sits in Florida. Pottery closed forever. One lung gone and the other almost completely ravaged by the cancer he can no longer fight.

I think I'll get the Harmony repaired.


(C) 2006 John Hardly
=============

What's a Pugmill?


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part III
From: Amos
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 05:49 PM

See also Pugmill Explained -- used to make workable clay from scraps or powder and water.

A


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Subject: He Washed My Eyes With Tears - Stanphill
From: wysiwyg
Date: 14 Sep 17 - 08:03 PM

I had the awesome opportunity just now to sing for a funeral-- a woman I dearly loved. First time. Oh my!

Afterwards, the family eagerly clutched the copies we'd made of the vintage gospel song that had been Lillian's favorite hymn; we gave it to them afterwards instead of suggesting a singalong, per the presiding clergyperson's sense of where they might be tonight in the grief process. We may have an MP3 to share with them as well, in the days ahead.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part III
From: wysiwyg
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 05:42 PM

.... so I'm at this weekend workshop with a whole set of assignments to fulfill for various stakeholders, ok, esp the org that sponsored me to go? And it's the 2nd night and I didn't sleep well the previous night so I've taken a benadryl to stay asleep, but no! Wakie wakie, sez my brain. I do all the things I usually do to finish my sleep... but NO! WAKIE WAKIE!!!

Then I realize I have a song stuck in my head, and of course it's a spiritual, so new verses start to come as I realize I'm going to have to songlead it (ready or no). The workshop leader has not asked for music at all.

So I write down the verses anyway, in case, and ask her early early when I run into her... if she might.... and now she's jumping up and down in her Bishop's worship duds, telling me SO excitedly how music reaches places words can't (no shit, lady), and YES, I MUST sing-- and now it's a Command. I ask for her promise that SHE WILL PROMPT ME when she wishes a song begun, and direct me to which of three that might serve.

So after brekky I take another look at the now-three songs I've adapted with one-word changes to fit the workshop topic, and scrawl a short note in large print for the boss and set it on her podium: one is a gathering song; one is a song of intentionality; one is a song affirming commitment (which she has indicated is her planned closing piece of wkshp content).

And sure enough she enters; mics herself up; sees this note and is nodding to herself, GRINS at me-- and starts into workshop content-- what? no song?

Very shortly she finishes her intro remarks summarizing the last evening's content, and then sez that someone has offered a gift of song, points to me and BOOM-- with no further coordination between us I speak half a sentence of introduction so that ppl know we're not inappropriately appropriating another culture, and swing immediately into teaching/doing HOW a call/response is done-- the Gathering piece in her list-- and the whole room sings with me. No mic. No lyric sheet. Just song pouring through us. I give the Bish the loud 'Hallelu' exclamations by pointing to her when we get to them and she rocks her part.

Two verses feels right so I bring it to a close. The song falls away in that last phrase, just right. She pauses just the right pause and starts content.

Later she drops another one into a very unexpected moment, which is also quite lovely in the room.


Well shit! That's why I sing! I can't help it!


The songs take over my mind, and knock me out of the damn bed!


~Susan


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part III
From: Mo the caller
Date: 03 Oct 17 - 07:22 AM

Looking at the first thread
"
18 Dec 98 - 01:40 AM (#50025)
Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Joe Offer

I sing in search of that precious moment when many voices sing as one. It's nice when people sing together, but extraordinary when they sing with one voice. It happens fairly often for me. Each time, it's a wonderful and ever-new experience. I can't think of a better way of bridging the distance between people.
-Joe Offer-"

That's it really - being part of the music. Whether by singing or dancing when that works well.
The other moments have their value too - when you are all struggling to sight read, or to help a new dancer. But when it works and it all fits together - joy.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part III
From: wysiwyg
Date: 17 Jan 18 - 04:27 PM

Joy indeed. Sometimes where least expected.

I thought I'd be attending the huge Womens March in Dayton, Ohio on Saturday, but could not find timely handicap info or help. Just when hope failed-- I'd packed all my gear-- a Sister March rally in a smaller town needed.... a songleader. And I am that!

In one days joyous work, I pulled together about 20 pieces for the organizers' review, made a YouTube playlist for younguns who might not know the older protest songs, had custom-adapted lyrics all set in my fone's memo app-- and went from useless to happily tired. Many new friends and hain't met yet.

Why I sing is often 'When there's need,' but I think it's not wrong to be so pleased I can still pull it off. In this situation, all the Why's happily combine!


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part III
From: Mr Red
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 10:53 AM

we sing to bond, we sing to release oxytocin, we sing because that is what we did before language was invented and it is part of our DNA now.

It is far more useful than would appear in the age of world wide communication and language. The fact that people can make money out of it speaks volumes for its appeal, but hidden under that is the real value.

I sing, when I can't dance. And dance has the same "bonding, oxytocin, DNA" aspect.

It supported the cohesion of the tribe, and thus made homo sapiens more successful.


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part III
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jan 18 - 11:00 AM

“When trees did bud and fields were green
And broom bloomed fair to see
Gang doo the burn, Davie love,
And I shall follow thee”

He listened to his mother singing. Agnes Brown sang not only because she liked to sing and had a fine voice for the songs and ballads of the Scots people. She sang as a bird in captivity will sing. Her life was hard; the conditions of her labour were inexorable. She sang as most of the Scots peasants did: to remind herself that life should not be a treadmill of toil.

The Wind That Shakes the Barley (p. 35) James Barke (1946)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why We Sing, Part III
From: Mr Red
Date: 20 Jan 18 - 06:44 AM

Sounds like oxytocin there PAL!


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