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Author Topic: The Music Thread That Isn't "Music We Love"  (Read 28981 times)
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« Reply To This #30 on: February 24, 2012, 09:58:03 AM »

Tremendously more receptive than I used to be both to reading about and listening to classical music, this article caught my attention early this morning.  I’m posting an excerpt from it so you can decide for yourselves whether you want to read, and perhaps learn more.  

“…. Hahn-Bin, given to gasp-inducing sleeveless kimonos, leopard-print tights, a teardrop-shaped Mohawk, plus masks and slinking choreography, understands the freedom of a customized image, of smashing boundaries between fashion, theater and music.

"I sing through the violin," he says by phone from New York. "In my recitals and full shows, I am breaking down the barriers between what is classical and what is pop, what is instrumental and what is vocal.

"It surprises me when I hear critics say what I do with fashion and makeup is pretentious. I say to them, I come from Seoul, South Korea. You think for me, with no connection to where tuxedos come from, that to put one on is not pretentious?"

Hahn-Bin's choice of concert attire wouldn't matter if his music were less than extraordinary. But this protégé of Itzhak Perlman (who played Benaroya Hall earlier this week) first picked up the violin at age 5, made his orchestral debut with the Seoul Philharmonic at 10 and performed at the Grammy Awards at age 12….”

I, personally, am so far from the classical music scene that I’d never heard of Hahn Bin, but I love having my musical horizons expanded.  I’m hoping that there might be a least a few of you out there in WayTooQuietKivaFriendLand who feel the same way.

The third pic, below, is of the English violinist, Nigel Kennedy, referred to in the article as dressing like a cabbie for his concert appearances.  I searched for him at Google Images because I wanted to see what “dressed like a cabbie” looked like.

Finally, the fourth and last violinist pic, is a picture of one of my very favorite of all violinists, little Akim Camara, whom I posted about a long time ago.  For whatever reason, the video clip that I’d posted of him was removed from youtube so became unwatchable, here.  I thought it was so precious, featuring the performance where I first learned about Akim and fell in love with him, that I’m going to post it again, hoping that this one will remain accessible here longer than the last one did.

Danse Macabre – A Wonderfully Halloweeny, Good-For-Introducing-Kids-To Classical-Music Kind of Piece

Jascha Heifetz plays Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto (the piece, referred to in the article, that Hahn Bin, will be playing).
(Like Danse Macabre, by the French composer, Camille Saint-Saëns, which was happily received when I introduced it to my class of third, fourth and fifth graders and let them dance ghostinglyghoulishlygoblinlygoofily to it in my very first and truly joy-filled teaching stint, this second one happens to be one of the really relatively few classical pieces with which I’m familiar, and that I happen to like. Thought it’d be fun to post this clip of an earlier and pretty famous violin virtuoso, in part, to demonstrate how "far" classical music, at least, how far the show and performance of it, has come).

Beautiful Beautiful Akim Camara at 3 Years Old

EDIT: I was actually just now listening to Liebesleid by Fritz Kreisler on my computer when I realized it would go quite well with my violin-y post of this morning.  If you've never listened to it, give it a try.  It's really quite lovely.  

As Unrelated As Unrelated Can Be, but when did that ever stop me or anyone else from posting…..
Been hearing about this for the past couple of days, about how some of the giants are putting together a Virtual Tour of the Great Barrier Reef that will allow people who have never been even close to my much loved ocean to get a feeling for the magnificence of that world I love.  I’m excited about it, and love, especially, that little kids who have never been within even a thousand miles of an ocean will be able to have, at least, this.  The last pic here, the one you might have selected as the one that didn't exactly "go," that one is from this tour-to-soon-be.

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« Last Edit: February 24, 2012, 09:20:31 PM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #31 on: February 26, 2012, 12:38:15 PM »

Still rolling…..

Steven Colbert is a man of many talents and of what, in some circles, might be considered a fair amount of chutzpah.  If you missed his duet with the famous and pretty striking-looking opera tenor, Placido Domingo, the other night, never fear.  It’s but a click away.

Here’s a really neat collection of black and white jazz photos by a Charles “Teenie” Harris that I chanced across this morning.  The one I’m posting is of Sarah Vaughan and friends in a scene I’d have loved to have been a part of.


The Story Behind This Land Is Your Land

“…Some have called "This Land Is Your Land" an alternative national anthem. Others say it's a Marxist response to "God Bless America." It was written and first sung by Woody Guthrie. Over time, it's been sung by everyone from Bruce Springsteen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir…”
That headline caught my attention because (as I think I might have posted here at another time), years ago, when I was on one of my first and savored road trips, I was so taken and so happily surprised by the incredible beauty and geographical diversity of this, my own country, that I found myself (badly and cacophonously, but still joyfully) belting out this very tune.  I was so exhilarated, so filled by the gloriousness of the landscapes we were traveling through that I apparently, literally, had to burst into song.  (Note: I never saw Coyote Buttes, that I selected to illustrate what I’m talking about, but I sure wouldn’t have minded seeing it, if I could have).

Venezuelans Criticize Hugo Chávez’s Support of El Sistema

…CARACAS, Venezuela — In a country sharply divided by its blustery populist president, Hugo Chávez, Venezuelans can agree on one thing: El Sistema, its training system for young musicians, is a cherished vehicle for social uplift and a source of national pride.

But in recent years cracks have been appearing in that musical consensus. The way Mr. Chávez has embraced El Sistema has angered some of its supporters and has been seized on by Chávez opponents, provoking rare criticism of two of Venezuela’s most celebrated and popular figures: the movement’s revered founder, José Antonio Abreu, and its most famous product, the conductor Gustavo Dudamel.

“A lot of us are upset that Chávez has taken Sistema as his own child, and it’s not,” said Gabriela Montero, a Venezuelan pianist with an international career who has written a piece, “Ex Patria,” denouncing the Chávez government and the fraying of civil society here. “It’s almost like he’s stolen something that we lived with for the past 40 years…”


Group Singalongs Provide Comfort For A Livelihood Lost

A poignant, and not-so-sad-as-sweet story of a Folklore professor and preserver, Barre Toelken, whose name was so familiar to me, I wondered if I hadn’t sat in on one of his classes and been enchanted by it.  Turns out that he, apparently, was at the University of Oregon at a time that coincided with my relatively short stints there, so, I very possibly did have the pleasure of hearing him teach his passion.  It was just by chance that I came across him, again, many many years later, only a couple of hours ago.

A BIT LATER: I just now listened to the music clip, Climbing High Mountains, that I belatedly discovered had accompanied the NPR story on Professor Toelken. Turns out that it’s him and his wife and friends singing at one of their weekly singalongs.  I liked it a lot.  I found something really sweet about it, something to do with the caring and camaraderie and loving fellowship that it evokes for me.

Listening to Climbing High Mountains took me back quite a-ways and put me in a very folky mood.  Wasn’t able to find one of my all-time favorites on youtube, but was pleased to discover I could at least share the music of “Sing, Hallelujah,” by Joe and Eddie, folk icons of my youth.  Play it LOUD and sing it proud.  It's joyous.
You might want to check out, too, their version of “There’s a Meeting Here Tonight.”   
Finally, I’m posting an example of dance photography, the kind that grabs your attention and makes you realize that even if you don’t have the first clue of what it takes to be a consummate ballet dancer, you know when you see something like this that it has to take an enormous amount of talent and almost unfathomable physical ability.

The Face

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« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 05:52:58 AM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #32 on: March 18, 2012, 08:38:01 AM »

Came across a Kiva loan a couple hours ago of a filipina running a videoke business with the dream of being able to save enough money through her business to be able to one day put her kids through college.  There was something about the “-oke” business in conjunction with the Philippines that provoked my sleepy mind to think it remembered something about Frank Sinatra’s song, "My Way", and people dying just for singing it in the Philippines.  So, just for the heck of it, I googled, “my way Philippines.”

Sure enough, that was all I needed to be led here:
“…. On May 29, 2007, a 29-year-old karaoke singer of "My Way" at a bar in San Mateo, Rizal, was shot dead as he sang the tune, allegedly by the bar's security guard, who was arrested after the incident. According to reports, the guard complained that the young man's rendition was off-key…”

Guess I’d better not be going to the Philippines, then, anytime soon.

A Web of Notes; Violinist Uses Spider Silk

The following come under my standard rubric of
Not At All Related (To Music), But Since I’m Here Posting, Anyway…..”

-- You may be interested in having your mind expanded as I ended up very much being when I watched the two plus minute trailer to the documentary, Bay of All Saints, about the apparently “notorious” water slums of a place called Bahia, Brazil, found here.

Last week, unusual for me these days, I found myself watching some of the segments on what is now Charles Osgood’s CBS Sunday Morning news show.  So, quite fortuitously, I found myself watching this feature story, A Shortage of Morphine Means a World of Pain about what turns out to be one of the infinite inequities that there are in the world, but one that I’d never thought about:

“…5% of the world’s population (has near exclusive access to and) consumes 95% of the world’s supply of morphine (and other painkillers)….” The rest of the world has to go without.

Because a lot of that story was centered in Uganda where I’ll be in a couple of weeks, and because so much of it was about morphine, whose value, significance and comfort for my family in the last years of both my parents’ lives I couldn’t exaggerate if I tried, and because it focused on the differences between the quality of life for the Haves and the Have Nots, one of my life’s great preoccupations, I was mesmerized.  It’s a really important thing to know about, and I strongly encourage you to take the 8 plus minutes and watch the video at the link, above.

Pain Relief; A Human Right


On a lighter note, I recently came across an article and some wonderful pictures of a Whale Whisperer.
And  finally…..

Twenty million years later, I finally learned to scan the other day.  Sort of.  Just because it’s something that I long had wanted to do, I took a favorite book off its library shelf and opened it up to the page that I’d happened upon when leafing through this wonderful book, Power to Heal; Ancient Arts and Modern Medicine, at a local used book store, many years ago.  It was that page, with what for me was its absolutely incredible and somehow pleasurable information, that caused me to stop looking and simply and probably predictably, to buy the book.  

Though the final image that I’m posting below includes the wording, because my novice attempts at scanning came out pretty blurry-novice, I’ll go ahead and transcribe the caption to the picture that had so engaged me:

“Using soldier ants to stitch a cut is a tradition in Central Africa, where it is still observed but slowly disappearing with the proliferation of hospitals and clinics on the continent.  Holding the edges of a cut together, the healer places the ants, of the genus Dorylus, on the wound.  Instinctively, the ants bite down and lock their jaws, sealing the cut.  The healer then cuts off the thoraxes and tails of the ants, leaving the jaws in place for several days until the flesh is healed.”

How could anybody not be taken by the strange and fascinating world we live in?

EDIT: Apropos that last, rather rhetorical question,  quite early this morning, thanks to an e-mail I got yesterday from “Florence’s Kiva Fellow,” Drew Kinder, I found myself googling BRAC Uganda.  I’d hoped to find an e-mail address to communicate with someone in Kampala who might be able to help me track down another of Drew’s super-inspirational blog subjects, Regina.  

Maybe it’s because I’m a disbelieving if pretty amused member of the AARP generation now,  but it struck me as even all that much more amazing that I think less than an hour later, I had a response to the e-mail I’d sent.  The part that was especially incredible to me was that it had emanated not from Kampala where I’d thought I was writing but from Afghanistan, of all places, where the BRAC Uganda employee whose e-mail I’d located is now posted.  

What pleasure and what insides-filling wonder I felt when reading the guy’s kind note which said, among other things, that he was forwarding my original e-mail to his people in their office in Kampala.  What a world.

                                                                                                                                               Happy Birthday, SLCDDD

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« Last Edit: March 18, 2012, 11:14:08 AM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #33 on: May 28, 2012, 06:54:10 PM »

I stopped off at just now, looking for that video I mentioned in the “Movies We Love” thread this morning.  I still couldn’t find what I was looking for, but small matter, especially because I found this, which gave me all kinds of pleasure and for a whole lot of reasons.  The fact that I thought that the surgeon-guitar-maker was cute-looking, and that he had both a clearly well-used, organized and much loved workshop and a nice soft Southern drawl, too, all of which made me think of my dad, well, none of those things hurt the pleasure I felt, one little bit.  

After I read the article and watched its video, I went to Google Images to look up washtub basses, “gut-buckets,” and other such delights, and I came very close to getting very, very lost in the beckoning black hole of homemade instruments.  I didn’t dare go to youtube or iTunes.   There’s obviously a whole world out there I didn’t even realize existed.  

Since Appalachian, jug band and delta blues music number among the kinds of music I sometimes like listening to, if even it’s just for the attractiveness of the crazy, creative ingenuity of it, I almost for sure will make a point, some time-frittering day, of taking a high dive into that black hole just to see what’s waiting there to be discovered.

Pics of the cigar box gee-tars that the surgeon makes can be found at the link, above.  Pics of a gutbucket, a tea chest bass, and an oil can ukelele you can find here.  

A person could get the happy sense that wherever humans are found, some time, and somehow or another, the music that maybe lies latent in all of us will find a way to out itself.  I sure hope so, anyway.

Not related at all:
Some of you may enjoy what I’ve found to be a really good book called, “My Father Said Yes.”  I’d thought I had read just about all that I wanted or needed to read on the topic.   I’d thought I was almost “tired” of it, at least, satiated.   Turns out I was wrong.  I really learned a lot and enjoyed it while I was.  

If you think that the subject matter might be a little passé, you’d be wrong.   But --- to make it more relevant-feeling for yourself, if you need to, then read it while imagining that instead of African American kids they’re talking about, instead, substitute either gays or so-called “illegal” immigrants or muslims (among too many others), and you’ll understand that prejudice and holier-than-thou, corner-on-the-market-superiority are alive and unfortunately, all too well.

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« Last Edit: May 28, 2012, 06:57:25 PM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #34 on: June 02, 2012, 04:23:21 PM »

I loved this story, especially the idea and heart behind it.  And just to imagine what it had to have felt like for the kid.  Dream City.

What a precious gift it is to love music*.
For that matter, as I think about it, what an even more precious gift it is (if sometimes a sorrow, too) “just”
to love.

*I say that as I’ve been listening all morning and early afternoon to a playlist I so not-particularly-cleverly entitled, “Favorites.”   It’s a compilation of the craziest collection of wacko, entertaining, nostalgic and some really beautiful music.  This one playlist of many many (for me) happily contains 211 songs/pieces, the greatest majority of which I placed not only on my own iPad and iPod but on Florence’s and Irene’s, too.  (And to think that they could think that all Americans might be that strange!).

In many ways, listening to it is kind of like having an auditory Remembrance of Things Past.  And that brings to mind a teacher idea I once read about that I thought was particularly neat where you have yourself and your students (or, it could be you and your family or friends) compose a personal musical timeline.  

It’s kind of like seeing or hearing the titles of books that you have loved.  Even just thinking of the titles evokes all kinds of feeling-memories.  

What you do is that you start with the song or music that’s the first piece of music that you can remember, music that had some special significance for you.  Then you make a timeline of the different pieces that come to mind that evoke a special individual or time in your life (or, often, a special time with a special individual).  Even writing the titles down brings so very much back, but as I’m discovering today, listening to the music does that so very very much more.

« Last Edit: June 02, 2012, 10:03:10 PM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #35 on: June 05, 2012, 09:25:51 AM »

This particular post all started with a bit of two o’clock in the morning, not-particularly-bothersome wide-eyed insomnia.  Wide awake, anyway, I ended up coming across what I thought was some pretty neat jazz photography.  A photograph of Billie Holiday with her “Mister” set me off on a merry chase.  See, below.

So, for awhile, time started to evaporate as I delved deeper and deeper into the black hole of jazz and blues photographs that are available on the Internet, a few additional favorites which I’ll tack on here, too.  (See if you can identify the subjects).  A person could get lost forever looking, especially, at the really special vintage black and white jazz photos that are right there, just waiting to be happened upon.
(Google Image Herman Leonard, Ed Van Der Elsken, William P. Gottlieb, among others).

Then, somehow or another, I came across this story that has a video that gave me all kinds of pleasure and “stuff” for reflection.  I love Oliver Sacks, anyway, but Henry?  Oh, Henry!  Check it out to see someone for whom music very clearly is life, at least, life (once again) made worthwhile and something to be savored.

After that, I was on a roll that set me off on one of my silly (but, for me, entertaining and mind-expanding) google searches where I typed in the search term, “music helps.”   Hopeful, I wanted to see what that would generate.  

It turns out that if you google, “music helps,” you’ll find articles about how music helps:

Prevent organ rejection!/blogs/wqxr-blog/2012/mar/26/classical-music-helps-mice-recover-heart-transplants/ (This second link I thought was particularly interesting).

Children get a handle on fractions

Bladder control (Rap music apparently does, that is)

Man regain speech
(The more often I come across stories like this, the more reason for hope I believe there is).

Cancer patients through chemotherapy

War Vet/s Cope with PTSD

Remove the Weeds

Cows Give More Milk

Solve 11 Problems
(Some fun stuff here.  None of it is particularly well documented, but they give you enough to do further investigation and potentially, some verification if you have the curiosity, inclination and time for it, especially, the curiosity).

To wrap this up on a musical note, here’s a youtube clip of a commercial I think is one of the more touching I’ve ever seen.  It features a Shirley Ellis song that nearly every one of us boomers found ourselves powerless to resist, singing and playing around with, when it first came out.  Watching this ad could almost make a person tempted to buy some Johnson & Johnson product or another, just out of gratitude for their putting together this poignant little slice of compassionate life.

EDITPicture #14 at  won’t strike you at all musical unless you view it while serenading yourself with the Monty Python classic I cited you to, here.

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« Last Edit: June 05, 2012, 05:31:36 PM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #36 on: July 13, 2012, 09:09:25 AM »

Couldn’t believe it.  They had these really trashy kids on CNN early this morning.

The Garbage-Men.
When I saw them, the guitar that one of them was using was made from an old Cheerios box. That immediately endeared them to me.

So far, anyway, I prefer their ingenuity and happy wholesomeness to the purity of their sound.  But from the youtube and other clips that are out there already making the rounds, they seem to be getting better and better with time and practice.  And, anyway, they, at least, can make music.  
(But, actually, I’ve  been more than halfway seriously thinking about taking up an instrument, even now, this far into my dotage).

My favorite part of this story, besides their making good use of items that most of us would immediately have consigned to the trash heap, is the reminder that music, as noted in an earlier post, will almost always find a way to out itself.  That no matter what, if there’s music inside us, we can have music just about anywhere and under just about any conditions.  And that’s a pretty comforting thought.*


LOUIE, LOUIE (more or less)

How cute they look, how wholesome and hopeful and “sure” of life’s promise they strike me, remind me of a time, many many years ago, when I walked in on my little brother and his bandmates while they were practicing something that had advanced a fair amount past cacophony.  I remember how happily impressed and charmed I was both by their sweetness and their sound.  
As to The Garbage-Men, I especially got a kick out of their version of “Wipe Out” because that piece was a staple in my little brother’s band's repertoire (and maybe, in every other would-be rock band's?), too.

*In these times of the most troublesome and almost frightening materialism, I also really liked it that these kids could make so much out of so little.  Loved the thought that little (or big) kids, whether from economically deprived or any other circumstances, could still have all kinds of fun, that they can still entertain themselves and find all kinds of joy, even if they can’t afford Wiis and X-boxes, iPads and the like.

Be sure to click, especially, on the first pic, below.  The kids' sports coats are just too great!

EDIT: The edit to the musical thread that isn't all that musical....
Well, at least not right this minute-- not while these 3 week old Golden Retriever puppies on live cam are catching some zzzzz's.  But stay tuned, you never know what they'll do when they wake up. Maybe they'll start singing ( "I'm Your Doggie" would be appropriate), these beautiful little SERVICE-DOGS-TO-BE, who are slated some more awake day in their future to become loyal comforting sidekicks to returning vets.!/live-cams/player/service-puppy-cam

EDIT #2:  Still on the pups.  How’s this to make these two edits seem more “relevant” to this thread: These puppies make my heart sing,
especially the one little fat tubby who kept plaguing his mom for more milk while his sibs lay sacked out, sated, sleeping fitfully.  

An additional tidbit to make watching them maybe even more fun:
“… Born on June 24, the litter of five girls and one boy is part of Warrior Canine Connection, a program in Maryland with quite a two-pronged approach. First, the organization sets up service members and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder with dogs to socialize and train them as service animals.
Once trained, these service dogs are handed off to veterans with disabilities. Thus, some veterans get an inexpensive, therapeutic treatment for their PTSD and others with impaired mobility receive years of support from their service dogs — a win-win situation….”

La la la la.

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« Last Edit: July 14, 2012, 06:40:20 AM by Jill » Logged
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« Reply To This #37 on: July 19, 2012, 09:09:12 PM »

Love this man.
Love his heart.  Love his mind.  Love his principles.  Love his music.  Love his courage.
Love, especially, how he has walked his talk for this really incredible number of years.

Got a lot of pleasure out of the article.
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« Reply To This #38 on: July 30, 2012, 09:53:31 AM »

Here, one of the multitude of reasons to feel really grateful that we live in the country (countries) that we live in

Couldn’t help but think of “The Dixie Chicks” and even more, of the exceedingly brave Chilean folksinger, Victor Jara, among many others, when I came across this story.

Pussy Riot, Putin, The Church, and Human Rights

Russia's "Pussy Riot" on trial for cathedral protest
Pussy Riot Goes on Trial Monday as the World Watches Uneasily

It was not with just a little trepidation about where I might end up that I googled and google-imaged the name of this band. Lucky for me, since I intentionally added a number of other identifiers in the hope of limiting the search, I didn't end up at any of the X-rated sites I really hadn't had any terrific desire to land upon.

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« Reply To This #39 on: August 08, 2012, 07:36:38 PM »

Joy in the Congo, a thirteen minute 60 Minutes segment that Teachers Rock member, Carolyn, kindly posted about on our team message board months ago, became a belated gift to me who only just now got around to watching it.  

It’s quite a story.  If you haven’t seen it, I think you might like it.

“There's a remarkable symphony orchestra in the Congo, 200 musicians defying the poverty of their war-torn country and creating some of the most moving music we have ever heard.”;videoMetaInfo

Still about music but not nearly so hopeful and uplifting, here’s a bit more on the not especially convincing
pretense of a trial for the Pussy Riot punk band, that’s been taking place this week in Moscow.  Probably not surprisingly,  I couldn’t help but focus on the part about the guard dogs in the courtroom, among others.  A person needn’t have once been a criminal defense lawyer to read about this travesty and cringe for the girls or ache for their chances for a fair deal.

Not wanting to close on a downer, here’s something about Musequality, a music education nonprofit out of England, who, in the several short years of its existence, seems to have become involved in some really neat-sounding music education programs in parts of Africa, Thailand, India and elsewhere.
Musequality’s “World Busks” projects sound pretty neat, too.

I’m not sure how I discovered their existence, but as soon as I saw that they had a number of programs already going in Uganda, especially in Kampala, I immediately thought of our friend, Florence, who is very much into music, herself, and who has even been published writing about music pedagogy.

It might interest some of you to hear that Florence recently mentioned that in addition to a gardening/farming component and a reading tent/library component that she’s determined to add to her school, she’s set on adding some kind of a music education program, as well.  Perhaps some kind of band.  (She has more vision, more single-minded self-assurance and drive, and, I’ve come to believe, more of a likelihood of pulling this off and more than I ever would have imagined possible, before we met and saw her in action this past April).

And here's a short documentary called, Musequality - Changing Young Lives Through Music, , that includes a number of the programs in Uganda, if you feel like having a look.

Finally, again, as counterpoint to the dreary pessimism of the Pussy Riot trial farce, here’s a 9 minute promotional introduction to an music education nonprofit here in the U.S., Sphinx, that I’d never heard of before yesterday.  Their mission is to increase the participation of Blacks and Latinos in the field of classical music.

After watching the video, myself,  I decided that if their work is good enough for Yo Yo Ma, Isaac Stern and the White House to celebrate, then this Sphinx organization may very well be something worth learning more about.

The font size got a little messed up with my going back and forth, changing it, sorry. Rather than spend any more time fooling with it and trying to get it the way I'd intended it to be, it just seemed easier to add this apology.


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