Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Music In The AiR Air!

Monday, January 8th, 2018

Woodsy Retreat

How many times does something need to be repeated to make it a tradition?  If it’s no more than two or three, then the January singer/songwriter retreat in Oysterville probably qualifies.  I think this is the third year that Long Beach Peninsula Acoustic Music Foundation and WillapaBay AiR (AiR = Artists in Residence) have jointly sponsored a “Winter Use Program” at the sixteen-acre Willapa Bay AiR campus.  This year, I’m told, it will be happening twice!

Renee, Larry, Mary. Terry, Jerry — Singer Songwriters at 2017 Performance

It is a perfect space for musicians to work.  On the campus are a main lodge with a kitchen and dining facilities plus five cabins, two studios, and an additional bedroom in the Lodge complex.  There is room for individual work as well as for group sessions and rehearsals.  All meals are provided and the only ‘requirement’ of the artists is for them to sit down together each evening at a communal meal.  Other than that, they are left to their own devices – each working on an individual project which they outlined in their original proposal/application.

Larry Murante who made Mrs. Crouch famous in song!

When our neighbor Cyndi Hayward (Founder and CEO of Willapa Bay AiR) first told us about the Singer/Songwriter retreat, she said that the joint venture with Sue and Bill Svendsen of Peninsula Performing Arts Center was “the perfect marriage. They have access to the music community and we have an ideal facility which is not in use during January.”

The musicians we know who have participated all agree that this retreat provides them with a great opportunity.  Last year, on their final day, the group gave an impromptu performance at the Oysterville Church.  Such a serendipity for the community.  Perhaps this week’s group will do something similar.  We can but hope.

Wes Weddell On His First Album

Meanwhile… Nyel and I are inordinately pleased that Wes Weddell and Larry Murante, two of “our” long-time House Concert musicians, will be sharing our ‘library stage’ here on Sunday!  They are fabulous to take a chance on us, but we are determined that Nyel will stay healthy long enough to host this event – the first, we hope, of many others in 2018.

Heavenly Voices

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

It’s pretty much one of those died-and-went-to-heaven things when you can walk right across the street and hear fabulous music.  That happens to be the situation for me every single Sunday of the summer from Father’s Day to Labor Day weekend.  Those twelve weeks for the last forty-some years have marked the Oysterville Music Vespers Season – one of the year’s highlights as I see it.

Tomorrow will be the next-to-last vesper programs for this summer and the featured guest artists happen to be my all-time favorite a cappella group.  Ever.  The Rose City Mixed Quartet (RCMQ) from Portland, Oregon will be making their musical magic right here in Greater Downtown Oysterville!  It’s not every village of fourteen residents who can call themselves so blessed.

Cameron Herbert (soprano), Helen Dietz (alto), Dale Webber (tenor) and Mark Petersen (bass) are all members of the Portland Symphonic Choir.  They joined forces as the RCMQ in the early 90s (though Mark and Dale were part of the original foursome who began back in the 1980s) and have toured and traveled together here in the United States as well as in Europe. Beyond their professional relationship, they are good friends and, two of them are grandparents together.  Visiting with them is always a treat and always educational in unexpected ways.

Last night, for instance, the discussion included ‘octopus testicles’ (don’t ask!) as well as tonight being the Night of the Ancient Lights along the Baltic Coast and tips on remembering the lyrics to a gazillion songs. (“Use a music stand and have the words right in front of you,” says Helen.)  This Vespers Weekend has been planned for a long time and includes being here today for the Oysterville Regatta and attendant festivities.  They arrived yesterday afternoon, laden with food and megahugs, both liberally dispersed!

We feel quadruple-ly blessed that they we are here with them this weekend. When it looked like Nyel (and I, by default) might still be at Emanuel Hospital, I had written them saying come for the weekend as planned – our house is your house, etc.  They have stayed here many times, know where everything is and even are acquainted with our ‘usual’ Friday Nighters.  They came prepared to host our friends in our stead and so, as it turned out, we had very light duty indeed.

I hope all their local fans took note of the announcement in the Observer and will be at Vespers tomorrow.  I haven’t asked about their program and I know it will be fabulous, no matter what.  Secretly, though, I hope that it will include “Tis a Gift to Be Simple.”  Their arrangement is heavenly and is my all-time-favorite.

A Nine-Minute Drive; A One-Minute Walk

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

Anja Patten Sings”The Telephone” Aria by Gian Carlo Menotti

There’s nothing like a hug to make the world feel a little more do-able.  I seem to get lots of them these days – one of the perks of being a little old lady, no doubt.  And, I’ve come to realize, a good hug is not the only kind of heart-warming embrace that I’m fortunate enough to receive on a regular basis.  Music is another!  How lucky we are here on the Peninsula to have access to so many musical opportunities.

Barbara Poulshock, A Cate Gable Photograph

Yesterday I drove nine minutes from here to the Lutheran Church on ‘U’ Street to a “Musical Afternoon” performance by Barbara Poulshock and Anja Patten.  Barbara (at 90) is considered a Peninsula Treasure.  She has had a full life as a pianist, composer, and teacher of voice and piano, and, despite occasional lip-service to “slowing down” shows no sign of doing so.  Anja, a recent graduate of Whitworth University, is at the other end of things – soon to begin graduate school and then to launch her career in… social work!

Or, at least, that is this magnificent young soprano’s plan.  At the reception following the program, more than one person remarked, “But she could reach far more people with that gorgeous voice than she could through social work…”  Anja smiled through the compliments and well-meant musical encouragement.  Barbara also smiled with a teacher’s ‘time will tell’ kind of patience and a lifetime of knowing that each of us must follow our passion, no matter how it seems to observers.

Tom Trudell

Today, a one-minute (or less) walk will take me across the street to the Oysterville Church where two more local musicians will be playing at Vespers this afternoon.  Pianist Tom Trudell and vocalist/guitar-player Brian O’Connor will share center stage for the music portion of today’s service.  Both men are familiar figures in our local music scene.  Each of them mostly heard in solo performances – often as ‘regulars’ at venues on either side of the river.

Brian O’Connor

Tom and Brian are old-hands at Vespers.  Their performances are always so relaxed – laid back to the max – that I am left feeling that their selections were chosen with me, personally, in mind.  I have no doubt that every single audience member feels the same way and will leave the church this afternoon believing that they have had a Sunday hug times two!

A Matter of False Pride?

Sunday, July 16th, 2017

Host and Hostess Steve Romero and Martie Kilmer

My great-grandfather might have called it “vainglory” – I’m not sure.  It wasn’t exactly false pride that I felt yesterday.  Not the kind that “cometh before a fall.”  At least I hope not.  But I did undeservedly bask in all the complimentary comments I heard about Oysterville (in general) and about Steve and Martie’s garden (in particular) yesterday.  Fabulous all the way around!

It was the Music in the Gardens Tour and, as it turned out, we couldn’t go.  Nyel had been scheduled for yet another hospital stay beginning Friday and we had forewarned our tour guests from Seaside and Florida that they would be on their own.  Then, suddenly, the hospital cancelled Nyel’s appointment – bad blood numbers; maybe next week.  So, we were here, after all!  But Nyel couldn’t manage the treks through the gardens so… we stayed home.  Well, he did.  And I mostly did.

The Winterlings

I went north with our guests as far as the Captain Stream house here in the village – clutching my cell phone after instructing Nyel to call me if he needed me.  And then I spent a glorious hour admiring what people told me later was one of the best gardens on the tour.  I’m pretty sure they were telling the truth and I puffed right up as if I had something to do with it!  Of course, nothing could be farther from the truth.  But I was so pleased that my up-the-street neighbors were on the tour that a feeling of proprietorship totally enveloped me.

And my false pride didn’t stop there.  As I entered the garden, there were The Winterlings playing their distinctive ‘indie folk’ music, and one of my favorites of their songs, at that.  They had played here at a House Concert in March and it felt like ‘old home week’ to see them again.  Plus, of course, Steve and Martie were their usual elegant and welcoming selves.  They have been such a fine addition to Oysterville and I felt almost like they were my very own “show-and-tell” offering.  I surely hope I don’t get smat (past tense of smite; look it up) for thinking that!

Steve and Martie’s Croquet Court (Photo by Mark Scarborough)

So, with all of these benevolent and prideful thoughts, it was extra icing on the cake to see so many friends from all over the Peninsula (and beyond) in the hour or so I was there!  Did I have time between hugs and greetings to see the garden?  Yes… sort of.  And I think chances are good that I’ll see it again before too long.  When Nyel is feeling better, I want him to get a glimpse, too.  And, after all, ‘at the end of the village’ in Oysterville is only three blocks away!

Gardens+Music+Art=All Day Saturday Fun!

Friday, July 14th, 2017

Terry Robb

At last!  The Water Music Festival has revealed which gardens will be hosting which musicians and which artists during tomorrow’s Music in the Gardens tour. It’s by the numbers – like a giant puzzle.  Half the fun will be plotting the course!

THE MUSICIANS
Garden 1 Brian O’Connor (guitar), 10:00 – 1:00; Ocean Bay Trio (three of the Dixie Chicks), Afternoon
Garden 2 Gary Stroutsos (flute), 10:30 – 12:30
Garden 3 Brad and Dave (bluegrass banjo, guitar, mandolin), 1:30 – 3:30
Garden 4 George Coleman (guitar), 10:00-1:00
Garden 5 Terry Robb (blues guitar), Noon to 2:00
Garden 6 The Winterlings (indie folk duo), Noon to 3:00
Garden 7 Barbara Bate (piano), Noon – 2:00

Noel Thomas by Noel Thomas

THE ARTISTS
Garden 1 Susan Spence (beach baskets), 10:00
Garden 2 Patricia Fagerland (garden art), 10:00
Garden 3 Jacob Moore (jewelry) 10:00, – 2:00
Garden 4 Noel Thomas (watercolors), Noon to 2:30

The garden numbers correspond to the numbers on the map in the Music in the Gardens ticket.  If you’ve already purchased yours, you can plot your tour by when and who will be playing/ displaying at what times and where and for how long.  Got that?

Tickets are for sale online at  http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2939656 or at these places on the Peninsula: Bay Avenue Gallery, Ocean Park; Basket Case Greenhouse, Long Beach; The English Garden, Seaview.

Surprises in the Gardens!

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

My Ticket to A Day of Surprises!

Wow!  In a surprise move by the Water Music Festival, tickets for Music in the Gardens went on sale yesterday – two days earlier than originally planned.  Since it’s not a “seating is limited” sort of deal, no worries, though.  You can buy tickets at any one of three venues here on the Peninsula – Bay Avenue Gallery, Ocean Park; Basket Case Greenhouse, Long Beach; The English Nursery, Seaview; or… online at  http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2939656.

That $20 ticket investment entitles you to what I think of as ‘complete garden gluttony’ right here at the beach among our friends and neighbors.  Your ticket will include a map with the seven garden venues clearly marked – gardens from Chinook to Oysterville.  And, of course, as the name of the event implies, there will be music in every garden!  But… in another surprise move, the Water Music Festival remains silent on which musicians in which venues at what times!  It will be a wait-and-see (maybe a wait-and-hear) kind of experience.

Tom Trudell

According to this week’s Observer, musicians will include local favorites Tom Trudell (piano), Brian O’Connor (guitar/vocals), Barbara Bate (piano) and The Ocean Bay Trio (three members of the Mozart Chicks).  And, from afar… The Winterlings (indie folk duo), Terry Robb (blues guitar), Brad & Dave (bluegrass banjo, guitar and mandolin), and Gary Stroutsos (flute.)  I am considering a petition to change the name of the event to Mystery in the Gardens – but it probably wouldn’t be a popular move!

Which-music-where won’t be the only surprise in store for ticket holders!  There will also be artists in the gardens – Noel Thomas (painting), Susan Spence (weaving baskets) and Patricia Fagerland (displaying a variety of garden art.)  At one of the gardens, raffle prizes will be on display, among them a wooden garden bench by Dick Rodlun, a Noel Thomas painting; a beach basket by Susan Spence; and a collection of Don Nisbet items.  And, as if added eye-candy were needed, look for the restored 1966 Nova and a fern-green 1976 Mercedes Benz on display, one in a Long Beach garden and one in the Oysterville venue.

Garden Bench by Dick Rodlun

So, whether you go under your own steam or, for an additional $15.00, go by the special trolley with chauffeur and tour guide – you are in for a full day (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) of surprises during your Music in the Gardens experience on Saturday, July 15th!  Hope to see you along a garden path!

Couldn’t Understand a Word!

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

Israel Nebeker in Concert

The last time I had my hearing checked (which wasn’t all that long ago), I still scored in the ’normal’ range.  In a way, I was disappointed about that.  After all, if it’s not my hearing that’s gone wonky, it is probably my brain and that possibility sounds like (ahem!) a much worse option.

I think I hear most things okay – as well as I want to, anyway.  But there are two areas of my auditory life that have become bothersome in recent years.  The first has to do with the telephone.  Most especially with calls or messages from young people.  Not all of them, mind you, but a disproportionate number speak so rapidly that I have no idea what they’ve said.

I get this a lot because I’m the one who brides call to arrange the rental of the Oysterville Church.  More often than not I have to ask them to repeat themselves more slowly or, if it’s a message, I just have to hope that they’ll call again when I’m home so I can say, “Slow down, please!”  It’s gotten so I much prefer communications by email from these rapid-speaker types.

Sergey Antonov and Ilya Kazantsev

The other impossible situation is any kind of concert involving vocalists born in recent years – say, after 1980.  Last night, for instance, my failure to comprehend occurred at the Liberty Theater at the Astoria Music Festival.  I was so looking forward to “Beethoven and Blue Jeans” with Israel Nebeker but, as it turned out, I couldn’t understand a word he sang and only about one in ten or twenty of the words he spoke.  According to the program, musical selections would be announced from the stage.  As much as I strained, it was mostly a mumble.

Ditto for Nyel, even with hearing aids turned up.  Ditto for our hosts Paul and Lana Jane Brent, both of whom have excellent hearing.  The instrumental parts of the program with cellist Sergey Antonov and pianist Ilya Kazantsev came through loud and clear.  Ditto the accompaniment of the other ‘Young Virtuosi musicians.  However, the vocal parts… zip.  As I looked around the audience, it definitely seemed to be an age thing.  The theater was quite full and about evenly divided between the gray hairs (who clapped warmly) and the New Gen folks who whistled, cheered, stomped and laughed, presumably in all the right places.

Say what?

I was disappointed.  I liked the music and was prepared to be enthusiastic about the songs.  The last time (and only other time) we saw Israel was when he was being filmed for a music video over at the church.  We couldn’t hear him then, either.  They were filming an action sequence which, apparently, would be married to the music through the magic of technology.  All we saw were musicians and singer Israel miming something-or-other for take after take after take.  Soundlessly.

So, actually, last night was a step up.  There was sound.  Lots of it.  I’m thinking of having another hearing test… just in case.  If it’s a choice between my auditory acuity and my brain’s ability to discriminate between noise and sound, I hope it’s hearing aids that are in my future.  It seems the best alternative.

Coming Soon: Music in the Gardens!

Monday, June 19th, 2017

2017 Poster – Music in the Gardens

Never mind that the flowers may not yet be in bud.  And never mind that the musicians won’t be tuning up for another month or so.  It is time to mark our calendars for the Water Music Festivals BIG EVENT OF SUMMER – Music in the Gardens 2017.

It’s a one-day-only extravaganza scheduled for Saturday, July 15, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Tickets don’t go on sale until July 10th, so mark that down, too.  And just as a reminder-to-self, jot down which of the locations you want to go to pick up your tickets – the Bay Avenue Gallery in Ocean Park, the English Nursery in Seaview, the Basketcase Greenhouse on Sandridge in Long Beach.  It won’t be until you purchase said tickets ($20) that the whereabouts of the gardens and the whoabouts of the musicians will be revealed.

Garden Scene – 2016 Tour

What I’ve gleaned, so far, is that there will be eight gardens on the tour this year and they will be located from Oysterville to Chinook!  There will also be (for an extra contribution) a specially decorated trolley to take you from garden to garden if you so desire.  And, as if you may not already be on sensory overload, there will be a raffle of selected works of art (perhaps garden related) on display at one of the venues.

This is the 11th annual Long Beach Peninsula Garden Tour.  If music and gardens and art are not quite enough for you, consider this:  the event is a fundraiser for the Water Music Society whose mission is to bring classical music to the Peninsula.  Each year, part of the money raised by this particular event is earmarked for the Ocean Beach School District Music Fund.  (Last year that amount was $5,000 — hardly small potatoes by anyone’s gardening standards!)

Garden Scene – 2016 Tour

Oh… and one last thing.  Organizer Nancy Allen says that many of the gardens this year have “a water orientation” – to the Columbia or to Willapa Bay or, perhaps, to Loomis Lake.  She is careful not to reveal too much… not yet!  So, mark those calendars.  Quick!

“Now hear the word of the…”

Friday, February 17th, 2017

 If I were clever, I’d find a way to re-write “Dem Bones.”  But I don’t know what the tongue is connected to brain-wise, so I don’t know how to write a lyric about the president’s apparent disconnect in that department.  Plus I can’t think of a way to rhyme BabbleSpeak, gibberish, prattle, and gobbledygook with alternative facts and fake news.

We know a good many singer-songwriters, all of whom are equally horrified and gobsmacked by the current nonsense coming out of the White House.  Surely there is an Edward Lear or a Lewis Carroll among them just itching to write a theme song for the “fine-tuned machine” the Prez described last night.  Come on Larry Murante and Carolyn Cruso!  Get busy Jill Trenholm and James Hurley!  We’re counting on you Aaron English and Monte Killingsworth!

A Daryl Cagle Cartoon

I think we’ve all been silent long enough.  Silent because we were “giving the benefit of the doubt” or silent because we were too horrified to put what we were seeing and hearing into words.  Now, though, it’s time for us “bad losers” (according to DT) to rally round a peppy song that tells it like it is.  Something that will get even the red-staters singing along.

Along those lines, I was encouraged to see that the mental health community is beginning to speak out.  Three days ago, a letter signed by 15 psychiatrists and 20 other mental health professionals was printed in the New York Times.  In part it said:

Mr. Trump’s speech and actions demonstrate an inability to tolerate views different from his own, leading to rage reactions. His words and behavior suggest a profound inability to empathize. Individuals with these traits distort reality to suit their psychological state, attacking facts and those who convey them (journalists, scientists).

John O’Connell by his brother Kenny

In a powerful leader, these attacks are likely to increase, as his personal myth of greatness appears to be confirmed. We believe that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president.

I say, “Hooray to them for speaking out!”  But what the nation needs now is a catchy, top-of-the-charts sort of song that even the frackers and Republicans in Congress, to say nothing of our undocumented immigrant workers and Bernie Sanders, and maybe the entire Tea Party will find themselves singing when they least expect it.  A sort of New Age National Anthem.  An earworm that will get into our minds and hearts and help us to become great again!  (Doncha think?)