sing

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: sing.

Sing! This photo if from my birthday, some years ago. My father is the seated guitar player. He is gone and so is Andy Makie, standing.

Andy brought music to everyone he could in his last decade. Here is an article: Why music? He talks about it here and another version here. My daughter was in a classroom that received a box of his strumsticks and lessons in second grade and for a while he lived in a trailer on my father’s land and built the strumsticks in my father’s barn.

My father, Malcolm Ottaway, loved both classical and folk music. He was one of the people who started Rainshadow Chorale and I got to sing with him in it for 13 years.

This party was like my parents’ parties: a music party. Bring an instrument. Our age range was under 2 to 70s and everyone made joyful noise at some point. My son led the high school Chamber Orchestra to play too.


Townsends
players

Stages of Grief: anger

I am thinking of the songs that comfort me in grief.

And thinking about the stages of grief. Five, right? Denial, Bargaining, Anger, Grief and Acceptance. My sister said, “They left out Revenge and Acting Out. ” She died of cancer in 2012 at age 49. Six days after her birthday and the day after mine.

Anger songs for grief. But denial is first, right? Not necessarily. These are not stages you move through in a certain order. This is more like a spiral, where you go from one to the next and back to the start, from day to day or even hour to hour.

I’ve already written about My Name is Samuel Hall. That is an angry song, unrepentant, that my sister wanted the last time that I visited her. I knew that she was furious about dying and leaving her husband and daughter. And me and her friends.

My mother sang:

“Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I think I’ll go eat worms. Big fat slimy ones, little tiny wiggly ones, see them wiggle and squirm. Bite their heads off, suck their guts out, throw the skins away. I don’t see how anyone can live on three meals of worms a day… without dessert….”

She also taught us this:

“I don’t want to play in your back yard
I don’t like you any more
You’ll be sorry when you see me
Sliding down my cellar door”

My parents had songs for every mood I can imagine. There were moods they would not speak about but they sang them.

My favorite angry groups are The Devil Makes Three, Hank Williams III, The Offspring, and Sweet Honey in the Rock.

Sweet Honey in the Rock? Yes. They sing about death a lot. This song is not about death: it’s about a “bad” woman, wanted dead or alive. But listen to the song: they are singing about a real event and a woman who fought back against a rape. On the thirty year album of Sweet Honey in the Rock, the group says that their first “hit” was this song, played by news stations. “It was a hint that we were not going to be top 40.” The song is Joanne Little.

So here are three songs by the others:

The Offspring: Why don’t you get a job?

The Devil Makes Three: All Hail

Hank Williams III: My Drinking Problem

And how do families show anger? They fight. They fight with each other. They fight about how someone should die, what should be done about mom, whether dad can live alone any more, about the right way to grieve. They fight about small things or big things and they even sue each other. Before you wade into the fray, step back. Remember, families grieving are always a little bit insane, very stressed and it’s all grief.

Hank Williams III: Country heroes

Blessings on the people I know in hospice right now and on their families and loved ones. Third one today. Sending love.

 

 

 

ajudicator

My experience with adjudicators has been musical.

Did you play an instrument in school? Did you go to the yearly contest where you played in front of a judge? That judge is an adjudicator. I still have my little box of medals, mostly blue ribbbons, from playing my flute at the yearly contest.

When I search on ajudicator, I find a field manual. It’s not about music: https://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/AFM/HTML/AFM/0-0-0-1.html. I am having a really hard time with the children separated from parents. Death separates enough parents and children. I feel deeply ashamed of my country.

Centrum’s Voiceworks is a musical and healing week for me. Singing for a week and jamming on my flute and now I have a list of local people who love to sing….

Dawn Pemberton is one of our instructors and wonderful. She is a choral adjudicator, judging choruses across Canada. And one of my choral directors here, Rebecca Rottsolk, is also an adjudicator. For Mirinesse and for Rainshadow Chorale.

My son plays a violin piece as a senior for ajudication in Port Angeles. He is accompanied by Dr. Beatus Meier. The adjudicator is shy and nearly stands up when Beatus enters the room. Dr. Meier, it turns out, was the adjudicator’s professor at Washington State University. Dr. Meier is frail at that point and is now gone.

Blessings on the adjudicators and may we all be judged with love.
Mirinesse: http://www.mirinessewomenschoir.org/
Rainshadow Chorale: http://rainshadowchorale.org/
Dawn Pemberton: http://dawnpemberton.ca/
Dr. Martin Beattus Meier: http://www.ptleader.com/communityrecord/dr-martin-beatus-meier/article_eca9a1ea-69c0-11e8-889a-67013a9fdf88.html

The photograph is from the 2011 Solo and Ensemble in Port Angeles, the chamber orchestra that my son was in.

There will be a memorial tomorrow for Dr. Meier at QUUF from 11-12:30.

Voiceworks!

This is the last day of Centrum’s Voiceworks. I am vacationing at home except that it feels like I’ve been transported to a land of song and music, for a whole week.

I don’t want it to end.

This is Dawn Pemberton, a British Columbia singer and choral director and teacher. Her classes have been on soul and an acapella chorus. From the Voiceworks pamphlet: “She  can be found tearing it up as vocalist, teacher, adjudicator and choir director.” She directs the Roots ‘n’ Wings Women’s Choir and teaches all over Canada.

Her classes have been an absolute joy and inspiration. Soul, acapella and yesterday a body rhythm and stomp class. I could do the body rhythm but when I started listening to it I was so mesmerized that I lost my place. Found it again, but I couldn’t do it and listen.

I ask Dawn if she plays near here, but she says it is very difficult to come in to the US from Canada to perform: borders again. I am very sad about that. I’ll have to go to Vancouver, BC to hear her and her chorus!

And here she is singing Say Something. And her choirs.

Thanks and shout out to Centrum and to all of the teachers and other students, about 170 people coming together for joyous noise!