Over the weekend I celebrated my seventy-fifth birthday in fine style. (The birthday concert is in March for logistical reasons.) Friday night was the regional Children’s Music Network gathering with out-of-town guest Pat Shih giving tips on songwriting with kids and doing music with older children. She didn’t used to work with middle school and high school kids. She does a very participatory show, and kids that age are often reluctant to join in. But now she’s found a way to reach that age group. She advertises performance workshops, where she gives a talk on performance to a smallish group and then offers constructive critiquing to each kid as they perform. She credits American Idol with the popularity of her workshops in libraries.
For the potluck before the workshop I brought a little carrot cake from Toot Sweets, which I highly recommend. Not only does it not have walnuts, which I don’t like, but it was soooo moist and delicious! Afterwards we had a song swap. I’d planned to sing one of my kids’ songs, but two people asked for “The Bellybutton Test” so I sang that instead.
Saturday night was SingSayPlay, a local group that meets once a month to have fun and also mix it up between singers, storytellers and instrumentalists. We got sillier than usual, lots of laughing. I can’t tell you about it, though. You had to have been there.
Sunday, my actual birthday, I went to my first Libana concert. They are six women who are celebrating their thirtieth year of performing together, singing songs from different cultures a cappella and with various instruments, with some dancing too. It was at a local church, in the sanctuary. I loved the way they set up the stage. They set six hand drums on edge on the floor in a semi-circle where they would stand. An oud, a guitar, charangas, pan pipes, other drums and shakers and bells were on top of the altar. I realized afterwards that since I consider music my only religion, this was an altar I could worship at. (And I did, by singing along at times.) Wish I had a picture to show you. Well, for my birthday I’m getting my first cell phone (kicking and screaming) so maybe I’ll get one that takes photos.
Meanwhile, go to http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8526699.stm for an article on how music can heal the brain after a stroke, with audio that lets you hear how a patient who is unable to form intelligible spoken words can sing clearly.
Today I played hooky from swimming because we were having a sunny day for a change, with more rain predicted for tomorrow. The rain has washed the air so the view at the bay-side dog park was even more spectacular than usual. The tide was way out, the water was calm, and we could see the mud-line on the straight line of rocks along the inlet reflected in the bit of water left at the bottom, looking like a big Goldsworthy project, with three egrets feeding...hmm...three egrets feeding...sounds like a lesson on the long E sound.
Tonight was memoir group potluck with another little carrot cake. I’m milking this birthday for all it’s worth. (The leftover cake will go to writing class with me tomorrow night.)
©2010 by Nancy Schimmel
Too bad you can only see part of the oud, it’s a beautiful instrument.http://www.rainbowcrystal.com/music/music6.html
Monday, February 22, 2010