Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day ~ 2009

YES, IT'S CHRISTMAS DAY 2009! may yours be one of the best yet no matter how old you are.

I will have my family gathered here tomorrow. Everyone has places to go, people to see, and things to do. I don't mind waiting as long as more of us can be together. My grandson Daniel was born on the 27th, so it is good to get all the Christmas doings over so he can have his day. Of course, the two new babies are a bit young to travel, so their parents will be at home with them. We will miss them all.

I think Christmas Carols get a bit overdone especially since the commercial push begins shortly after Halloween. Yes, I did see Christmas promotions right after the ghosts fled into the daylight of November first. And then the "Grinches" come out to complain about the most widely accepted Christian holiday worldwide. I wonder how many of those grinches are the same ones who profit handsomely from the often wild spending of generous "believers."

One week recently I garbled the BLOG by hitting "wingdings" or something by mistake. Then last week I wrote a draft and never published it. What, you didn't notice or miss me? Oh, well. Unless you e-mail me with a "comment" or at I have no way of knowing that you even care. Boo-hoo.

We had a Christmas party at Starbird Music. It's a good thing we value people more than trappings because the company, while they allowed us the use of the concert hall, did not bother to put in a tree or decorate in any way except with a couple of wreaths. How different from a couple of years ago! The organs were positioned in their usual disarray, and the "tree" was an undecorated plastic "rubber tree." But the people, most of whom met to have lunch before hand at The Great Lost Bear, a nearby pub, were happy to be together and in a giving and forgiving frame of mind.

There was a gift exchange, and the request for a donation of non-perishable food items was generously fulfilled. Ron and Cookie Kalloch delivered the donations to the Ronald McDonald House food pantry. We have donated to them before. They always need "quick fix" and snack food for people who have uncertain schedules visiting with their sick children at the Maine Medical Center. A few people played Christmas carols but mostly they enjoyed the time to visit, reminisce and speculate on where the program will go in the coming months. I left a bit early as Nick Mammich was coming to my home to repair my Prestige organ. It has been on the disabled list off and on for the past few weeks. Still not repaired unfortunately. I expect early next week some new parts will come and Nick will successfully correct the problems. If you are ever in need of a keyboard or organ repair I recommend Nick. He is excellent.

The "students" who have been in the program for a long time are no longer getting lessons which discourages some people from continuing. The "critique class" in which the performer chooses a piece of music, hopefully something new, works on it, and then plays it for critiquing is just not "cutting it" for some members. The class leader, as Lowrey refers to them, is kind and gentle in her criticism. Most of the group feels it is a "feel good" class.
For myself, I hate to give up on the group so will continue to do what I can to keep it together. But I cannot honestly dispute the argument. John Nickerson's appearance for 1/2 hour between Performance and Class has been a saving grace. He knows organs and has the knowledge to move us along. The majority of the class would appreciate having him for a teacher but it has been made abundantly clear that is not an option. I personally like the teacher; she is a nice, earnest woman who, I think, came into the program at a tough time.

New rules for LIFE members make accruing points a little more restricted and more will be needed for rewards. Rewards have also changed somewhat. All happening in February, so if you have points to turn in, get it done. I have been wondering how long Lowrey would be able to keep up the "debit card" rewards. I would imagine that a new organ is not on the short list of anyone's budget. At one time it was said Lowrey Organ was the only company in the US working six days a week, two shifts to produce something which no one truly needed.
I hope they remain strong. Lowrey Organs are wonderful entertainment, and music is a great hobby as well as therapy for many ills including loneliness and the blues.

I was recently led to a web site of Germain Griggs, an entrepreneurial music teacher who has put his course on CD's. He has a lovely listening voice, but after listening to three of his lessons I don't know that I have learned anything. He encourages good practice habits and assures the listener that eventually you will be able to "play by ear" or at least recognize what chords go with what lead notes. It would be so great if Lowrey put out CD's specific to organ.
Especially for the larger more complicated organs which have USB sticks and disk recoders.
I can sit with my headphones on listening to Mr. Griggs and follow his suggestions, but it doesn't help me get from upper to lower manual with ease, or push buttons with confidence.
How about it, Lowrey Organ? Along with the book of instructions, let's have a CD which supplements it.

A couple of my favorite Christmas quotes:

"Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a Merry Christmas." ~~ Peg Bracken

"Like snowflakes, my Christmas memories gather and dance - each beautiful, unique and too soon gone." ~~ Deborah Whipp

"I will keep Christmas in my heart, and try to honor it all year long." ~~ Dickens

Keep Christmas in your heart, along with beautiful music.


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