Busy day today. Slow morning, got some stuff done, then off to San Francisco to hear the Girls’ Chorus of the Convent of the Sacred Heart High School sing my song, “Mrs. Claus” in front of Macy’s. I took BART, and heard a trio in the Powell Street Station singing a swinging African-American take on “Jingle Bells.” Then on to meet Billy Philadelphia, conductor and accompanist for the chorus, Candy Forest, my co-writer on the song, and Jan McMillan, in SF for a visit. She and I were summer camp counselors at Camp Sealth on Vashon Island in Puget Sound back in 1956 when we were in college.
                          Camp Sealth, now co-ed.
If I weren’t on FaceBook, I probably wouldn’t have known she was in town. Billy did a good arrangement of the song and the girls sounded fine over the traffic noise and the Salvation Army bell-ringing. They sang some other interesting numbers—it started raining during the last one but they didn’t flinch.
Then I started walking back to the BART station, but a large painting in a store window caught my eye. It was the Weinstein Gallery, and they were showing Chagall and Picasso, so I went in. Very welcoming place, and a lot of the paintings and ceramics made me smile. Walked on down Powell sort of looking for a bite to eat when I saw a Cold Stone ice cream place. They are gone from Berkeley and El Cerrito, and I like their pumpkin ice cream so I went in, though it wasn’t really an ice cream day. Then back to BART and the trio had grown to a quartet, singing “Down by the Riverside” and some gospel numbers. I stood listening for a while. A young woman standing by me said she was from Brazil and she was amazed that you could hear such good music here for free. I went up to look at the CD. They call themselves Bay City Luv but didn’t have songs listed. “Here’s one that’s on it,” said the bass, and they swung into “Jesus on the Mainline.” Mm-hm. So I bought it.
I sat on one of the sideways seats on BART. A young man facing me across the aisle said I’d made a better choice of clothing—I was wearing a rain poncho and he and his friend were in sweaters. We talked weather a bit, then they started playing a word game on his cell phone and the guy next to me suggested an answer and pretty soon we were all somehow engaged in a philosophical discussion on evolution and technology. This does not normally happen on BART. Is it the season? We all exchanged cards and phone numbers, then I started home.
Got there barely in time for a bite and a few minutes rest and then it was time for the 350 candlelight vigil in front of the Berkeley Ecology Center put on by the Earth Team, which I had never heard of, I just looked on the 350.org web site to see what was going on during the Copenhagen climate talks. I wasn’t sure how they’d do candles in the rain, but they had those cut-out paper bags for candelarias which protected the candles somewhat. There was some shelter in front of the Ecology Center but nobody could see us in the rainy dusk, so we went to the corner where there were lights to stop the traffic. I chatted with the mostly young people and sang them my new solar power song: “You don’t need a lot of money/You just need the sun to shine/Build yourself a solar oven/Dry your laundry on the line.” The director of Earth Team and I talked about using music in the work and I suggested we have coffee afterward at Trieste, where we were standing, but she invited me to their office party back behind the Ecology Center instead. Meanwhile, two of my neighbors showed up with candles so we talked for a while and then the hour-and-a-quarter vigil was over and I followed the Earth Team folks back to the office for good food and networking. They deal with middle school as well as high school kids, and one of their board members told me about a UC Botanical Garden summer camp that could use my pollination songs. She was lamenting the lack of good children’s music, like Malvina Reynolds and Raffi. I smiled and told her Malvina was my mother. Big reaction. After a while the party got too noisy and I came home to listen to the CD and read about the dinosaur find in New Mexico and blog. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
©2009 by Nancy Schimmel
1 Comment Manage Comments for this Entry
My friend Mara informs me that last night was the first night of Hanukkah. And indeed, we each held one candle at the 350 vigil. But I wish I'd known to mention it then. That's the trouble with using iCal—no holidays marked. I'll have to fix that for next year.
Saturday, December 12, 2009 - 09:58 AM
Photo from The Green News, environmental news by and for teens, of the Earth Team action for International Climate Action Day in October, gathering young people to ring the summit of Mt. Diablo.
Friday, December 11, 2009