is the grass any bluer...

is the grass any bluer...
on the other side?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sunflower Smiles and Paper Moons

My sis Kelli has written a song called Sunflower Smiles.
We'll debut it next week, me thinks.  This pic was taken
in the fellowship hall of Central Christian Church this
morning just before my choir processed.  
Today, I had my very first paid ukulele gig, and the experience was more than I could have ever wished or dreamed.    My friend Marie Wilson asked me to do this a few weeks ago, and so I practiced and practiced, polished and shined, accepted a nice ukulele tuner for my soprano uke from good buddy, Roger and talked my baby sister, Kelli to come along.  We arrived a little early with two bottles of water, 2 ukuleles, and a 100-song set list to sing and play (in 45 minutes, had to cull judiciously yet ruthlessly).  

We sang My Blue Heaven, Paper Moon, Don't Fence Me In, Baby Face, Side by Side, a few Beatles and Everly Brothers songs, and ended up with some gospel numbers, like Amazing Grace, Will The Circle Be Unbroken, and How Great Thou Art. The audience was small, but appreciative, we performed in the foyer at Sayre Christian Village, and it was incredible. 

There is nothing quite like hearing the voices of 20 people in unison, but it is especially dear to hear a few dozen elderly people lift their voice in song.  They sang, clapped to the rhythm of the songs, applauded, then they thanked me profusely...and they joined in my prayer the end of the singalong, as we all said the Lord's Prayer.  
Betty Cecil watches son, Danny play Amazing Grace
on the upright bass as Dr. Kate Covington plays piano.

This morning was a cool start to a great day, though, when my choir sang Sing A New Song, with Danny Cecil (my best alto friend, Betty's son) on the upright bass and Dr. Kate Covington on the Steinway.  Kate led our choir all summer while our Director of Music, Michael Rintamaa was on sabbatical.  Kate is a retired professor from the University of Kentucky, but she still loves to teach music theory and is simply one of those fabulous souls that one would call "the salt of the Earth."   

Both Kate and Michael are my spiritual gurus, and I owe a great debt of gratitude to them for the musicality and inspiration they've shared with me over the years.
A nice gentleman named Mr. Banta and myself.  When I
sang After The Gold Rush, I explained that Dolly Parton
had also sung the song, written by Neil Young...and he
hollered out, "Dolly Parton! Is she still alive?"

Oh, and by the by, my health is improving.  It's improving because I've decided to take care of myself and enjoy every day of life as if it is my last.  When I stand at the pearly gates, if I should be that lucky, I hope that I will have nothing else to give, that I will have used all my gifts that my heavenly Father has given me. 

In the meantime, I am playing more of my own music and promising myself never again to over-invest in any more activities that end up doing nothing more than break my heart.  

I want to write about those who continue to give back to the community...I shall go hear wonderful musicians like Roger BonDurant and Jim Gleason, hang out with Fantastical Theatricals' dramaMama, Kathy Hobbs, and cover Natasha's theatre company, Balagula, run by the charming prince named Ryan Case; and all the other up and coming theatrical companies like Bluegrass Mystery Tours ... their shows are selling out, and they're giving great opportunities to the acting artists in our community.  

This lady is from Maysville - and she knew Rosemary Clooney!
I will continue to enjoy friendships with lots of sweet folks, fellows who come to my rescue, whether it be via coffee, scotch or late night visits to the Grey Goose and Blue Agave.  I shall embrace and nurture my affiliation with longtime friends from high school, like Diana Rogers and Sue Flick, my choir pal Betty, and my co-workers Kim and Katie -- all selfless souls in the truest sense of the phrase -- they'd do just about anything for me and plus, they know how to make me laugh ;-)

I'm embracing my family, especially my sisters, who buoy my spirit and keep me afloat, both spiritually and emotionally...and I vow to always listen to friends who are burdened and try to help them with their sorrow.  I will also keep my self cool by whatever means necessary, in all ways -- emotionally, biologically, professionally, personally, locally and globally.  
sister Kelli sang perfect harmony and kept me in line :)

Enough about me, let's talk about ME!  lol  Just kidding...but I am happy to have ended this week with a happy exchange of messages with people who care about me, and to have a Sunday full of memories that I shall cherish forever.  My choir, my friends, my musician buddies who give me little tips to make me a better singer and player, and my sisters who consistently find imaginative ways to help me through the tough moments in life.  It's funny, because both Karen and Kelli always have the same advice to give me; they just have wonderfully different ways of expressing it.

This dog is a huge fan of standards ;-)
It was a monumental weekend, like none other I've ever experienced. I became a professional musician, sorta, I sang with my sister, I practiced uke-evangelism, and sang with 50 other people songs that my Daddy taught me everyday when he played piano.  He used to come home from work at Procter & Gamble around 5:00, make a martini, sit it on the piano, and play ... play all sorts of songs, for a good hour!   As middle child of seven, I never had much chance to spend time alone with my Pops, so I especially cherish those memories of me turning pages of music for him, singing and learning cool tunes like My Blue Heaven, and That Old Gang of Mine, and Sweet Violets...sigh. I'm glad to have memories like that of the good old' days.  ;-)  
This lady had only been at Sayre Christian Village for 3
weeks.  She said next week, she hopes her daughter will
show up for our next singalong.
I hope she does too, that
is my prayer <# 

I'm glad for a lot today, and although I've been babbling on about my fabulous day, I guess at some point I need to shut the heck up and give you my best regards for the week to come....and oh yeah, I'm also going to share with you a prayer I prayed with the  residents today:

Glorious God,
Source of all Joy
and Righteousness;
Enable us as redeemed
and forgiven children
evermore to rejoice in 
singing your praises.

Grant, that what we sing
with our lips, we may 
believe in our hearts, 
and what we believe in our hearts,
we will practice in our everyday lives,
so that by being doers of the word, 
and not hearers only,
we may receive Everlasting Life.
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord,

The Promise is not vain...and morn shall tearless be.

(This is the prayer my choir director always prays with us. It never fails to inspire me.
I hope your have a lovely week, lambchops :)

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