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Showing posts with label music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label music. Show all posts

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Music of Christmas

I love Christmas music. For many years, I have begun listening to all my favorite albums and artists on November 14, for my birthday gift to myself!  I love all the carols and traditional music as well as newer artists and music. Some of the oldest and dearest are ones I have played on the piano and have the sheet music. This one could be one of the first copies of Irving Berlin's White Christmas!  It is tattered and worn and fragile, but I still love opening it and playing the chords and melody from its yellowed pages.  So this year, I sit down and play again. Sometimes Nora hears and joins me on the bench and plays her own version.  And this year, once again, I will watch the movie and sing along with White Christmas and Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep!  Merry Christmas!  

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Making Music

I enjoy making music with my choir and handbell friends, but there is a different kind of pleasure in music with my grandchildren.  I have had so many good times with each of my granddaughters:  rocking and singing lullabies, swinging and singing,  playing CD's and singing along in the car as we drove somewhere, marching around the house singing and sounding out with everything from pot lids to maracas, trying out recorders and harmonicas, making drums out of boxes and cookie tins.  I remember Lauren's "Poor Mr. Spider" tape she loved playing over and over in the car and dancing with her. I played handbells with Skye's youth handbell group.  Maddie loved singing from the time she could talk and could sing Amazing Grace with perfect pitch when she was 2. Jordann loves making up songs on the piano and Nora does too.  Whether it is singing "Skip to My Lou" 20 times in a row or "A, You're Adorable" or tunes from The Sound of Music, music with these girls fills my heart!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Song and a Dance

In all the cleaning and clearing projects I have been working on, I sorted through a drawer that held piano music that belonged to my Mother.  My grandparents lived very modestly in a white frame farmhouse on a hill in East Texas.  There was an outhouse and a water well  because there was no indoor plumbing, even as late as the 60's when my grandfather died and Grandma Terrell moved to town.  But Opal was their only daughter and there is much evidence to prove that they doted on her. They bought her a piano and gave her lessons, many done by a mail order music course, but also piano lessons given in person by Mrs. Moss. The music I inherited has been a delight to me. I have enjoyed playing through it and thinking of other hands that played those songs.   I have not treated it with the care I probably should have, but I have done something I think Mother would like more - I used it.  In previous posts, I have talked about the story of this music.

When I was sorting through the crumbly pages this time, I was doing so in order to pass the music on to Nora Opal Parker, since she carries Mother's name.  Knowing that I might not be turning the pages again myself, I may have looked more closely. But I don't recall ever seeing this title before.  It is a piece in a book of waltzes and fox trots. There must be a story in that title!

 Before the music goes into a box to pass on to Ben and Kristen to keep for Nora, there is one more way to use it.  A few pieces of  love songs will be used to help decorate for a wedding in about a week,  I also think I will sit down and play through some of the old songs again. I think Nora's great grandmother will be listening.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


The happiest times on my calendar right now are the days I care for my granddaughter Nora! Every third week is "our" week.  At 3 months, there are certain constants: feedings, diapering, and naps. I love the tending that requires. And I love the joy of the in between times - the cuddling, conversation and cooing, the rocking and singing and togetherness that refills her and comforts her and is important to her as well as those first 3 essentials.

She doesn't mind my crackly voice singing "A, You're Adorable."  We make it through that song every diaper change. If there is an entire clothing change, we sometimes get through several songs from The Sound of Music!  She talks to me with her eyes to say thank you, and flashes a coquettish grin when I brush her hair.

Yesterday we walked outside to catch a raindrop and she smelled a basil leaf when I made my lunch. She likes dots and patterns so I choose the blouse I will wear for her. We play peek a boo and pat a cake and chant nursery rhymes. When I rock her to sleep, I sing many of the same old hyms that my mother and grandmother sang to me. We have discovered that Christmas carols are wonderful lullabies!

Our other granddaughters are a joy to me and teach me just like she does that there is so much to look forward to. They help me remember some favorite lines from a poem by Mary Oliver:      "Pay attention.
   Be astonished.
    Tell about it."
 - all so much more fun when we do it together!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Carol of the Birds

I am strangely attracted to a Christmas carol rarely sung -
 treasure of music, words with sweet mystery,
 quiet, wondering melody
Questioning feathered twitters.

“Whence comes this rush of wings afar,
Following straight the Noel star?
Birds from the woods in wondrous flight,
Bethlehem seek this Holy Night.
Tell us, ye birds, why come ye here,
Into this stable, poor and drear?
Hastening we seek the newborn King
And all our sweetest music bring.”

Stirring some ancient warmth within me
I play the notes and sing each verse,
 decorate a small Christmas tree
with vines, berries, woodland birds.

Greenfinch, Philomel sing
Re, mi, fa, sol in accents sweet
from woodland edges, farmland hedges
Noel, Christ on earth with man to dwell

Someone singing this tune for 400 years,
before that, once an older one now lost?
Could it be I am pulled by what I cannot remember?
Song and my great grandmother both born in southern France

She died when I was a baby.
Did she sing it, rocking me
in the old wooden rocker in which I rock my own grandchild?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Happy Birthday Joe!

Planning birthday celebrations has always been fun at our house. From the first year of our marriage, Joe has loved to have me bake an unusual cake called "Cheap Cream Cake" for his birthday cake. When our sons were little, we had such good times thinking how each one would be a special occasion for the birthday boy!  Jeremy had a frog birthday when he was four complete with a frog cake baked in a bowl and turned upside down with green frosting and a homemade pin the fly on the frog's tongue instead of a tail on the donkey.  Sean had a birthday scavenger hunt one year, Ben's 6th birthday was a bicycle parade around the block.  We have had parties where everyone came dressed in stripes, bake your own cake parties with paper chef hats, and those where we made our own banana splits or ice cream sundaes or pizzas.  The year Joe turned 40, the boys and I made him a huge poster with 40 things we wished for him for his birthday and gave him a Baskin Robbins cake shaped like a train with frosting that said "Keep on Chugging, Honey, You're Not over the Hill yet!"
I have enjoyed asking family members each year "What would you like for your birthday dinner?"  That has produced Italian meals more than once, Indonesian and Mexican food often.  We have had a murder mystery game dinner, a luau, and cookouts. 

So I was not surprised recently when Joe said "I have decided what I want to do for my birthday!"  "A dinner," he said -with our family.  Here.  (at home) And I want violin music!"  So of course, that is exactly what we had this past weekend. For Joe's 75th birthday he finally did not have "Cheap Cream Cake."  He had lasagne and all the trimmings, tiny cupcakes, family, and unspeakably beautiful violin music.  Aija Isaacs, who teaches music to several family members, brought her family and violin and gave us an enchanted evening. 

My birthday present to Joe is in the photo below, a collage of a great many of the tickets to events, musicals, and theatre  we have enjoyed through our nearly 50 years together.  I can say without hesitation that his birthday evening of violin music was the best of all by the expression on his face.  Many thanks to Aija, to our children for all their help with the evening, and to our friend Tommy Gay Dawson for her lasagne!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Making Music

Our six year old granddaughter, Maddie, loves music.  Her voice is clear and strong and lovely when she sings.  She rececently began piano lessons so she played for us when she visited recently. Seeing the reflection of her hands as she plays reminds me of my mother's fingers dancing along the keys to play Rustic Dance or Walking My Baby Back Home or Love Lifted Me.  This morning when I was playing this same piano, I saw my own hands in the reflection and smiled as I thought of Mother and Maddie, and me - kindred music makers.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Stirring Moments

Among all the wonderful together times at Christmas, some of my most favorite are those I spend in the kitchen with my family.  In this picture, Skye was only four years old.  She just celebrated her 9th  birthday.  We enjoy cooking together.  I am happy to make cookies, candy, and a gingerbread house just like I did when her Daddy and my other sons were growing up.  I love remembering happy times past, and love even more making new memories.  This afternoon, no one is in the kitchen with me, but as I turn up Andrea Bocelli's Christmas CD, turn on the oven, and pull out the baking pans, my heart is singing.  And remembering.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Maddie wanted to be an angel for Halloween.  I don't know what she wore to trick or treat.  But when she was here last weekend, she put on an angel robe I wore when I was her age, some feather wings from the dressup box, and of course, a halo!  Here, she makes heavenly music!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

An Irish Blessing

In 1967, as the birth of our first son approached, Joe and I were fond of a San Antonio radio announcer who signed off each day with this Irish blessing.  Although I can't remember his surname, I do remember his given name because that is the name we chose for our son, Sean, who is now a father himself and still loves all things Irish.  Signing off for now...