Saturday, February 13, 2010


CHANCES ARE - I will be writing my blogs more or less when the mood moves me rather than every Friday. This has been a difficult week in many ways. I got news of a friend from my former neighborhood being in Gosnell Hospice House on Thursday, so Friday a.m. I went to see her, but she had already died. I was sad and rueful that I did not see her, but the really sad thing is, I have not kept in close touch with her for the last couple of years. And that is true of many of my friends. SO the lesson to be learned from this week is that I should let my friends know I still care about them as we are all reaching an age when life is on the short end of the string.

The situation at the music studio changes once again. We were told Thursday that beginning next week we will be free to use the studio for Performance as usual at no cost, but that we will have to pay $50 for the "coaching" by John Nickerson and the critiquing by Carol, which will be treated like a co-teaching class. John for 1/2 hour before Carol's "class." There are those who plan to leave after John is done, and some don't even know yet that that is the new plan. It will be interesting to see what the reaction is. I have to stay through the critiquing, at least for a few weeks. I think I would feel strange to get up and leave. I think John's coaching is and the friendship of the group is worth the money so I will pay the fee for the privilege of keeping the music playing. I paid my Starbird L.I.F.E. Players fee today.

SO - CHANCES ARE - things will continue pretty much the same.

We are having a beautiful February in Maine, unless that is, you are trying to sell snow machines or are in the plow and shovel business. The ski resorts have the capability of making snow, and there is already a good cover on the hills, so the "fun" businesses are doing o.k. But, unless there is snow in the low lands, the skiers tend to have less incentive, I am told. So what is good for us "old folks" and the town budget committees, does have a negative impact on others. But CHANCES ARE AWFULLY GOOD we will get a lot more snow before the winter is over.

JOHNNY MATHIS made CHANCES ARE* popular. He was born in Texas in 1935 but was raised in SanFrancisco. He was one of seven children. His father considered him to be the most talented and taught him routines and songs which he performed for guests. Johnny's father Clement was a vaudeville performer. He was professionally coached by a woman who agreed to take him on as a student in exchange for household chores. He was a high school track star, and continued in college to excel in high jump and hurdles. He was in a jam session in a night club when the owner heard him, was impressed, and took over management of his career. Through her influenced he was offered a recording opportunity with Columbia Records. At the same time, he received an offer to try out for the 1956 Olympic team. After discussing it with his father, he chose the recording session.

Johnny's first album - "Johnny Mathis: A New Sound in Popular Song" was not a hit.
Mitch Miller took over his recording career and changed the emphases from jazz to romantic ballad style. While he recorded "Wunderful Wunderful" and "It's Not For Me To Say" his first #1 hit was " Chances Are". An appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show boosted his career and in the 1960's he became a top vocal performer. In 1958 Mr. Mathis moved to Los Angeles where he continues to reside. Columbia released
a "Greatest Hits" collection (the first time a collection had been so titled), which set a new industry record by remaining on the charts for 490 weeks. In 1978 he did a duet with R&B singer Deniece Williams, and has done other duets with Dionne Warwick, Natalie Cole and Glasys Knight. He has sponsored charity golf tournaments, and still hosts the annual "Johnny Mathis Invitational track & Field Meet at San Francisco State University since 1982. He made his homosexualty public in 1982, which apparently had only minimal impact on his popularity, so personally, I don't know why he felt compelled to do so. Perhaps he was getting "hit on" by willing women.

*EZ-Play book #350 and More of the 50's Easy Play (Beige cover)

"There's no such thing as chance;
And what to us seems merest accident
Springs from the deepest source of destiny" The Death of Wallenstein, II, ii


Keep a song in your heart and keep the music playing.


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