Friday, April 9, 2010


There'll be a change in the weather -
From last Sunday, a beautiful Easter Day, through the week until yesterday, Thursday, the temperature went from 70's to 80's; today it is barely 50 degrees and once again it is raining. But as the saying goes " --wait a minute and it will change ..," (or something like that). In one day the forsythia bloomed, the magnolia tree down the street burst into a cloud of white blossoms and the tulips, hyacinths and jonquils blossomed in colorful beds. One of my neighbors here at Stoney Creek has a bed of jonquils at her door which is spectacular. The season has changed suddenly, as changes sometimes occur.

"....from now on there'll be a change in me ..."
Well, I hope there will be. I am stagnating in my music. I am bored with the E-Z play format, a tad tired of the fake book offerings, and too lazy to dig into my stash of "real music" which stretches my progress into more than three flats and sharps. I find sharps harder to work with than flats.
Last night I got out a program I purchased at the Lowrey Home Organ Holiday which includes a CD. The music is written for piano, and truthfully, unless you can put in all the fills which are sometimes three octaves in length, it is "empty" sounding. The music is Sinatra songs and the pianist performing is the incomparable Jim Odrich who admits he uses many improvised phrases and comments that "improvisation ... includes everthin that derives from your own personal way of handling a phrase whether it be a jazz-flavored fill or simply your treatment of a melody."
Obviously that leaves the door wide open for each performer to do whatever they like as long as it fits in between the intro and the ending.
He further comments that it is important to respond to the style of the instrumental background. I take that to mean that if you are playing a marimba or xylophone, for instance, with a marching band, it is appropriate to play it as part of the percussion section, not in a melodic Latin style.

"..there'll be a change in the way I strut my stuff .." well, perhaps not exactly "strut" as at my advanced age that would be a stretch, indeed. But I am definitely going to begin to play with more feeling and stop being afraid I will be judged as "putting on airs." Performers have the obligation to express their feeling for their art. Whether it's painting with broad strokes or fine lines, playing with joy or dragging through a piece with dread will affect the people you play for. At home we play to please ourselves, and yes, we work to improve our skills which is not always joyful, but for listeners we need to impart our love of what we do.

Recently our dealer where we meet to "perform" sold all of the high end organs. We are left with a Director or a Fiesta, both obsolete organs. We don't like it; we make negative comments about them; we gripe about the limited options on them. We have been told there is a new instrument coming in soon. We hope that is a change we can county on!

Another change taking place is the annual Lowrey Home Organ Holiday. We received word this week it will not be in Chicago - NOW THAT'S A CHANGE! but perhaps Branson or Orlando and it will be in the fall. It has been in Chicago in June for at least eleven years so that is a change for everyone who has always looked forward to the three-day gala in Chicago. Michigan organ-izers will find it a long drive to either site. I think this makes it even more important to keep in touch via e-mail and hope to hear from many of you.

I am off this morning to the radio station in Standish Maine to record "LET'S VISIT BROADWAY" a new program David and I have created to offer a different kind of music on WJZF/fm, a low power station which streams on the internet with a variety of music, sports, political commentary and community focus programs. This is the second program I am involved in, and certainly the most fun.

"No body can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending." Roseanne Cash

And the night shall be filled with music
And the cares that infest the day
Shall fold their tents like the Arabs
And silently steal away. Longfellow (When Day Is Done)

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


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