Monday, December 20, 2010

December 19, 2010

I am not going to "create" a blog this week. I ask you all who are interested to go to: The True Story of Rudolph The Rednosed Reindeer.

This is a nice Christmas story. I wish I could take credit for coming up with it.

I'll try to do something original next time.



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Friends ~

Because this is Thanksgiving week I am not going to look beyond my backyard for wonderful musicians. I am, instead, going to tell you about the ones I personally know right here locally. The names I am using are not "real names" as I have not asked for permission from my friends.

Sam, a funny, talented man who was a Marine Band trumpet player. He plays upbeat happy music and adds a lot of improv ala trumpet style. He can sit and play from memory, or read music. He has a wife and extended family and like most of us, they come first.

Avis, like many of us, a widow who began taking lessons from a pro, but when she heard of the Lowrey program, she changed over. She is dedicated to keep improving, likes a challenge in her choice of music. She is unassuming and genteel and her music reflects her beautiful personality.

Gloria, a former dancer, puts energy into her music with pedals, and chooses a lot pieces which have a strong beat. Her choice of music is, to me, quite opposite of her quiet demeanor. She was thrilled - yes, she really was - to be able to upgrade her instrument. She holds a full time job and still makes time for us one day a week. A valuable message to people who "think" they don't have time to put into music. Or some other hobby they would enjoy.

From time to time, being a group of seniors, we lose someone very dear to us. There was Susan. She loved organ. She would select a song, work on sounds and chords on an organ which, while high end in its day, was old and "different" from the current models. She seldom complained that she couldn't get the sounds she wanted. She was a willing contributor to events and could be the life of the party at lunch. She came in one day and announced that she had cancer, and would fight it and beat it. But, alas, it was not to be. To the end, she felt "Thy will be done ----". Once she said,
"I said, 'if there is a plan to this, God, I am not getting it.'" It was so typical of her. She had a good marriage and a loving family. She also had a loving group of music friends. We don't forget.

There is Carl. Carl has health issues but in spite of them, he is a vital part of our group. Always willing to help, goes the limit to make things work, loves his music especially country. This man bought an organ some time ago. When we needed an organ to take around to outside venues to play, he bought a cargo van, adapted his car to haul it, put handles and wheels on the organ, took off the pedals so they wouldn't get broken, and willingly totes it around in good weather so we can entertain others. This is a very special man.

Look at Ruby. She has never had music, loves it. Came in to the program at the beginning and has made steady improvement. But - she is never happy with her progress so she is always talking of "starting over again." She plays with her whole body, heart and soul, and tries to hard to get perfect sounds. Unfortunately, most of us have different organs than the one at the studio where we have "playing for friends". Ruby, most of all, laments the difference between her instrument and the studio model. She is determined, a bit dramatic and comedic which adds another dimension to our group.

Paul has the smallest Lowrey organ of all of us. How he gets the beautiful arrangements and emotional nuances into his music is a mystery to me, but it proves that even a small organ can be used as a practice instrument. Paul drives an hour or more to come to our Thursday "class" and "playing for friends". He is an asset to our group with his quiet sensitivity. He has a delightful wife who sometimes joins us just to listen. It is always nice to get to know the "other half." The group as a whole would like to see Paul get a bigger organ with more options, but hats off to him! he makes the one he has work and translates his arrangements to the studio model beautifully.

Grace is one of those people who claims not to play well, not to read music, not to be ready. Yet she comes in with a book, plays a well practiced piece with sometimes embellished fingering. I should be so competent. She has a husband who joins her occasionally at the studio. They are "big band" devotees and he can tell you who play what with which band and probably what year and where. It's great to have that kind of memory for detail is a great asset.

Carol is a recent widow. She, like many of us in that situation, turns to music often in quiet times at home. She is a multi-talented person who has many interests and a lovely family but she finds time to put into arrangements. Her preferences are - well, I'm not sure she has any. She plays many different styles and works at getting them right. Like everything she does, she is particular in detail. Thoughtful, sensitive and generous, Carol is a strong supporter of the program and "gets it" when it comes to making it work. Her input on improvement is sound and practical. And her playing reflects her personality.

There is a man in our group, I'll call him Frank. He is a retired service man, with his wife has raised a nice family. He came into the program with absolutely no music in his background, but the organ fascinated him. Today's organs are fascinating instruments. Frank is a technician. I find his style interesting because it has evolved before my eyes. The first time I heard him play at a "graduation" I thought he would probably drop out before another session was over. Like his neat organized lifestyle, his music is uncluttered; the tune is always evident; his playing is what I would call precise. But - he constantly improves and reconstructs his arrangements of previously performed pieces. And, he admits to wanting to add "frills" to his playing. Frank is dedicated to keeping the group together and promoting the program in order to bring in new people to that end. He has a mid-sized organ and longs to be in a position to upgrade. He has a great sense of humor, a quick tongue, and a willing heart.

A ninety year old lady had been a piano player. She came in to the program, spry and energetic, transferred her piano talent to the organ, and delighted us all with a rendition of Autumn Leaves, piano run and all. She also played Clarinet Polka for memory, a feat I cannot play with music in front of me. Like most of us, there were pluses and minuses in her life; a grown son with developmental disabilities in institutional care; an important friend who passed away leaving her sad and lonely. He death made her more financially safe, but caused her to lose her subsidized housing, which forced her to move from a neighborhood she was well settled in. But that legacy also allowed her to have an organ. This wonderful lady had to give up coming in because at nearly 96, she became unsure of how well she was driving, and gave it up. She would be an inspiration to any one who thinks they are "too old" to begin something.

I met another 90+ year old one day and said, "I don't see you a the organ lessons anymore. How come?" and she said, "Well, I might come back later, but I have been playing golf on nice days. Have to do that, you know , while we can. We can play the organ on rainy days. But we can't play golf!" She did add that she still played and hoped to come back. She did not, and I saw her death in the paper several months later.

No so local there is a man who played accordion, and maybe other instruments I am not sure. He took to the organ around the time he retired and in my opinion, there is no man I know who enjoys the experience like this man. He is always exploring possibilities on the organ, always coming up with great arrangements and shares them willingly. He wants to be a "total organist" so is working on full pedal accomplishment (with the tutelage of his talented organist wife). He watches and learns from pros and is not shy about asking questions of them. That's the reason he is so really, really good and so really, really interesting. He's no in my backyard, but I count him as valuable friend in music.

The people who play hobby music are special, each and every one of them. Getting out with others makes people "keep themselves up" and "keep their minds sharp." No one knows what tomorrow will hold. No one can be sure the people they are with today will be with them a week from now. But if you find a group of people who share something you love it will improve your life immeasurably. You cannot be unhappy and be involved in music, and when you are a senior you don't have to prove anything, you don't have to have someone telling you to practice, you don't have to have someone saying you aren't playing it the way it was written. Especially with hobby organ, you are the maestro. Play it your way and let the "musicians" in the organ follow you. Lead them wildly into a polka or quietly into a lullaby. Play a romantic piece while you reminisce a long ago dance; play a march and watch the drummers swing their sticks and the trombones pump their slides.
Sing along, add your own fills, pause and play it another way. Enjoy to the max.

Keep a song in your heart and keep the music playing.
(That's getting a bit trite. I might be changing this blog in the New Year. Any suggestions?)

Janice (if you don't want to blog)

Monday, November 22, 2010

The beat is the thing `

it does seem sometimes as though individual musicians in a big band get diminished by the overall picture. IF you look at typical big band, the drummer is not the focal point. But without the drummer, the band would have no beat - little pizzaz - not much oomph.
In a marching band the drums set the pace and become "showcase" elements. Those Scotch drummers and base drummers who do fancy things with their sticks - you've seen them. But the swing bands and today's stage bands, whatever the type of music, don't always give the drummer a "break" to show what they can do. And to many people, those "drum breaks" (where only the drummer is performing on his whole kit) sound like a lot of noise. The next time you have a chance to hear and observe a drummer taking his 8 bars, listen carefully. There are tones and sounds of as many as four side drums of various sizes, and cymbals and wood blocks, and that base giving it all depth. Then if there is time, or if you can multi-task, watch the hands and feet, the body and the face. It takes a lot of stamina and strength; and real talent; not to mention emotion. Then if you are listening to a symphony orchestra, pay attention to the big copper timpani in the back. IF you concentrate your listening, it is possible to hear them very clearly. They are tuned for different pitches - yes they are tuned and the tuning is very important to get the varied sounds to match the rest of the orchestra.

SO - today I am thinking about drummers. The ones who came to my mind immediately were Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. Drummers I admired. I wanted to find out who the drummers of note are today and only found one reference that impressed me. Now don't go all nuts over that - you may know a wonderful drummer in a great band, but I only found one that struck me as outstanding.

Gene Krupa: Born in Chicago in 1909, Gene was the youngest of nine children. His father died when Gene was very young; his mother worked as a milliner to support the family. He brother Pete got a job at Brown Music Company and Gene, age 11, was hired as a chore boy. He had started playing sax in grade school, but took up drums also at age 11.
Big changes for him at that point. He said he used to look through instrument catalogs, he didn't care what the instrument was, he wanted to own one. Drums were the cheapest - a Japanese kit for "sixteen beans." A big bass, a snare, wood block and brass cymbal.
HIs religious parents had been grooming Gene for the priesthood, enrolling him in parochial schools. When he entered high school he connected with other musicians, and began formal drum studies. He was advised to join the musicians' union. The union official said, "Make roll." Gene did, and the man said, " That's it. Give us $50. O.K. You're in."

Big influences in Gene's development as a first class drummer were: Zutty Singleton, a New Orleans who, after serving in the US Navy in WWI, played with such well known bands as Louis Armstrong, Earl Hines, Fats Waller and Jelly Roll Morton. He had a stroke and died in 1970 in New York City. <<<>>> Tubby Hall, also from Louisiana, played in many marching bands but moved to Chicago at the age of 22. He joined the US Army for two years, and then returned to pursue his music career. He was famous for being able to work with all parts of the bands to get the best effects, and for his expertise in using sticks and brushes, woodblocks, cymbals and rims. Hall played with Armstrong, and worked with Armstrong in the Betty Boop movies. Both Hall and Armstrong got their faces transposed with those of racially stereotyped "jungle natives in the cartoon. :::

NOW, back to Krupa. Gene was behind the development of the modern drum kit. He convinced the Slingerland company to make tunable tom-toms. And he was consulted by Zildjian to help develop the modern cymbal kit. Krupa always backed both products.
He was the first drummer to record using a bass drum and tom-toms. It was for Okeh records in Chicago. Rockwell, of Okeh Records said he was afraid those drums "would knock the needle off the wax and into the street." Glen Miller, Benny Goodman and Krupa were part of the pit band for Gershwin's "Strike Up The Band." He played with Russ Columbo, then Benny Goodman. Goodman put together a group with Krupa on drums with the promise that he would give Krupa a chance to showcase his talent at a performance at Carnegie Hall. Gene's performance on "SingSingSing" has been acclaimed as the first extended drum solo in Jazz. After that, audiences were demanding to hear more of Krupa; Goodman didn't want to lose his spotlight to a sideman, and Gene left in 1938. He formed his own orchestra, and was an instant hit. He hired on black musicians determined to bring them into the jazz scene and worked to see that they were treated fairly. He challenged a restaurant owner who refused to serve trumpeter Roy Eldridge with the rest of the band. He was at an engagement in San Francisco when the local police decided they needed a high profile name for publicity in their "clean city" drive against marijuana. Gene was accused of possession,tried and jailed. In actuality, the marijuana belonged to a band boy with a long history of delinquency, but he wasn't a celebrity. Gene did the time, 84 days of a 90 day sentence, which put him out of business at the peak of his career. Roy Eldridge tried to keep the band together but had to let it go. Gene returned to the music scene with Goodman and Tommy Dorsey, eventually forming his own band once more. He was among the first acts to be booked by Norman Granz for the "Jazz At The Philharmonic" concerts from which came the "Drum Battles" with Buddy Rich. Recordings of the "All Star" jams at the Philharmonic were made, another first. A film of Gene Krupa's life, factually very loose, was made in 1959 with Sal Mineo as Krupa. He formed a drum school, took tympani lesson, coached a baseball team. He was married twice. In 1973 Gene Krupa died of a heart attack, although he had been suffering from leukemia and emphysema for some time. He is a legend in the annals of drumming.

Buddy Rich: Born in 1917 in Brooklyn to vaudevillian parents, he could keep a steady beat with spoons by the age of one. His parents introduced him on a set of drums in vaudeville when he was 18 months old, billed as "Traps the Drum Wonder." He was reportedly the second highest-paid child entertainer, after Jackie Coogan.
At age 11 he had his own band, (note the similarity to Krupa's childhood), he never learned to read music. He admired Krupa, Chick Webb, Dave Tough and Jo Jones as well as many others.

Rich played with his first major group in 1937. But in 1938 he joined Bunny Berigan, and in 1939 he joined Artie Shaw. While working with Artie Shaw, Buddy instructed 14 year old Mel Brooks in drumming. He made a recording with Vic Schoen Orchestra ( which backed the Andrews Sisters) and was hired by the Tommy Dorsey orchestra where he met Frank Sinatra. In 1944 Rich joined the US Marine Corps for two years. After a two year run with Dorsey again, he left and formed his own band with financial support from Sinatra. His career went up and down in spite of Sinatra's backing, During his career he worked with Benny Carter, Harry James, Les Brown, Charlie Ventura and "Jazz At the Philharmonic." As a drummer he had dexterity and speed that was acclaimed as phenomenal by those in the business. He had great showmanship doing a lot of arm cross-overs, one stick rolls (with either hand!), and fancy stick tricks that kept the audience fascinated. He used contrasting techniques, explosive busts, and quiet brush work just to keep things interesting. Buddy Rich had the reputation of an unpleasant personality. He threatened to fire members of the band, but seldom did. Surreptitiously, some recordings were made of Rich's tantrums. They have been bootlegged, but are not available commercially. Some of the quotes have been used by Seinfeld. He was allegedly slapped by Dusty Springfield after several days of "putting up with his insults."
He threatened to fire a trombonist for wearing a beard. He held a black belt in karate, reportedly disliked Country and Western music, was a fan of Donny Osmond. At the end of his life he asked Mel Torme who was writing his authorized biography, to play the tapes of his tantrums for him. He died of a heart attack following brain tumor surgery in 1987. His friend and colleague said, "Rich had a soft heart underneath it all. His favorite song was "It's Not Easy Being Green."

VIC FIRTH: Maine has it's own percussion celebrity. Vic Firth was born in Massachusetts, but was raised in Maine. His father, Everett Firth was a high school band leader, and as it happens was the leader of Kennebunk HIgh School Band, which is the band I participated in as member of the drum section. (There were about 350 kids in the high school, and over 100 participated in band, including the majorettes.) Anyway, Vic Firth started playing cornet at the age of four. He turned to drums at an older age, but meanwhile learned piano, vibraphone, trombone,clarinet, timpani.
By age 18 he had formed his own 18 piece band. Firth performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra for twelve years and became their premiere percussionist. He realized symphonic music needed a higher quality of stick than was on the market. Deciding to design his own sticks, he hand whittled the first ones himself, from the bulkier market sticks. He sent these prototypes to a wood turner in Montreal. They were the first of many drum sticks bearing the Vic Firth name.

Today Firth's company manufactures 12 million sticks a year, and has added other items to the product line including mallets, salt and pepper mills and rolling pins. The Vic Firth products are made in Maine. Vic Firth is 80 years young.

ADAM DEITCH. This is the very modern drummer I chose to "discuss" because he seems to be THE drummer today that ranks with Krupa and Rich. Adam is the son of two drummers; his father's uncle was a "famous drummer in the Big Band era" and his mother's grandfather was a also a drummer. So, if things like drumming can be transmitted genetically, Adam came quite naturally by his talent. But he has not rested on family name at all. He did not divulge in his interview with someone, his parents names or those of the other family members. I read carefully what I could find, and it is my thought that he might be the grandson of Buddy Rich, who did at one time have his own radio program.

Adam grew up in a home that had a music studio complete with drum set, key board, and ping pong table. A boy's dream. His parents made music look like fun so he was quite naturally attracted to it. Adam is going on into technology and production. He has created start-up companies and has been involved with several groups. He is too new and too young to know where his career will lead, but he is considered to be a premiere drummer. If you go to his website you can listen in on a "session." He's good, no doubt about that.

I am sure there are many many good drummers in our very vast musical field of performers today. But for smooth jazz, dance bands and easy listening Krupa and Rich are the obvious best. For symphony, Vic Firth is hard to beat (no pun intended) and probably for modern music Adam Deitch makdes the top of the list.

An African quote: 'He who cannot dance will say "The drum is bad."

"If thine enemy wrongs thee, buy each of his children a drum." (Chinese quote)

I bought a grandson a small but nice drum set once and his parents made me keep it at my house.

Keep a song in your heart and keep the music playing.

From Scarborough, Jan Major

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


It strikes me as strange that a young musician would choose a "goodbye" song as a theme song. But perhaps it was not so much intentional as situational. I have a friend who as a young trombone player became associated with "Stardust" because he played it well and with great feeling. When he formed a band and went pro it became his theme song. More incidental than intentional, he mentioned recently.

Gaetano Lombardo was born in London, Ontario in 1902, one of five sons(Carmen, Lebert , Victor and Joseph) of a tailor who was also an amateur vocalist, and a stay-at-home but musical mom. There were also at least two girls, Elaine and Rose-Marie. Three boys were taught an instrument so they could play for their father. Joe was the dissenter - he had no interest in music but was interested in art and eventually became an interior decorator. In grade school, Guy had already become the leader - without challenge, apparently - of the Lombardo Quartet. Guy and Carmen performed for the first time at a lawn party in 1914. In 1919 the quartet had a summer engagement at a dance pavillion at Grand Bend, Ont. and expanded the group to include a saxophonist, drummer, tuba, guitar and trombone. UP to that point, the brothers had doubled in several slots including vocal. This larger orchestra got an engagement at the Winter Garden in London, and at Port Stanley, Ont. in the summer. Following those seasons they moved to Cleveland. America became their home thereafter, although they toured Canada in later years.

By 1924 the orchestra, known as "Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians" became the resident orchestra at the Claremont Tent, a Cleveland nightclub.
A coach, Louis Bleet, slowed their tempo, lowered their volume and introduced the popular medley of songs requested by patrons of the club. The slow romantic dance style of the Lombardo orchestra became hugely popular. Smooth sax led by Carmen's alto, the use of a tuba instead of double bass, the quiet, barely audible drumming (except to the other musicians) contributed to the sweet harmonic rather than rhythmic style. Carmen was also an emotional vocalist, often satirized and mocked for his precise pronunciation. The magazine Downbeat, whose readers were mostly of the swing and jazz audience, referred to Lombardo as the "King of Corn."

In 1924 the band made their first recording in a studio in Indiana. And they also arranged to play an unsponsored radio program , which gave them the opportunity to gather a following, and thus engagements in the area. In 1927 the band moved to Chicago where they got an engagement at the Granada Cafe. Guy realized early on that radio was the tool for publicity and with the aid of Jules Stein, convinced the owner of the cafe to put in a wire and broadcast the show.
They split the cost three ways.

The first broadcast was New Year's Eve at 9:00 p.m. The program began with an almost empty cafe, but by closing there was a packed house. From that night, Lombardo's popularity soared. And the Granada Cafe kept the "wire" in place, and the cafe became the second most popular place in Chicago, right behind the Blackhawk Restaurant.

The man who facilitated a lot of Guy's Chicago success was named Quadrach. When Lombardo felt he was ready to move on to New York he found out - Chicago style - that he was not as much in charge as he had thought. He was delayed several months disentangling himself from commitments Quadrach had made in his name. Accordng to what I could find, some of the stories did not come out until many years later. It was suggested that some of the people involved "were not the kind you would want to aggravate."

The Royal Canadians moved into the Roosevelt Hotel in in New York 1929 which turned into a very long engagement. Except for the occasional hiatus when Lombardo chose to play elsewhere or take time off, that engagement lasted until the Roosevelt Grille closed in the late 1960's. Meanwhile, Decca began recording and The Royal Canadians were among the first to sign on. This resulted in a long list of best selling recordings including at least four which reached the million mark.
Some original compositions were "Boo Hoo", "Powder Your Face With Sunshine",
"Seems Like Old Times", "Coquette" and "Sweethearts on Parade." Guy Lombardo and The Royal Canadians closed out every year, for years, on radio and eventually television, with his "Auld Lang Syne" signature piece.

Guy had another interest - quite unrelated and quite perilous. He was an avid speed boat racer who won the 1946 Gold Cup race on the Detroit River in a boat he called Tempo VI. The boat had an old hull and a new motor. It was said he had "a good rhythm and conducted to a fine crescendo, rather like as if he were directng Ravel's Bolero." Racing rules changed and boats became much faster in '47 and '48, and he did not win those races. However, he did break a world record in Miami in 1948.

His goal was to break a speed record of 141.74 mph set in 1939.
He said he needed a new boat and a suitable body of water.

He was performing in Glens Falls, and he and his brothers and some members of the band as well as some of his racing crew went to Lake George to see if it was a good place to break the record. Seeing that it was, Guy began making contacts for the boat and the organization of a race. Henry Kaiser, who built fast ships for WWII, was going to pay for a new boat for Lombardo. Another character entered the picture, big in the racing world- the owner of Ventnor Boat Building, which had built Guy's Tempo VI. He said he wanted the record to be broken at Lake Placid where he had a summer home. Guy said he would use Tempo VI if it were going to be at Lake Placid, in deference to Ventnor's owner. Caused some publicity for both Lombardo, Ventnor and the racing community as it was seen as a conflict among the "big players." Lombardo left, and never returned. It was later implied that the whole "dust-up" over the location was a publicity stunt for Lake Placid and possibly for Guy Lombardo.

There was a Lombardo Museum in London, Ontario, Canada. It was established and managed by Doug Flood who was dedicated to preserving the Lombardo relics. The TEMPO VI was found and restored. and a building was built especially to accommodate it. It became too much for Flood to handle, and he tried to make a deal with the city of London to take it over. The city of London apparently did not want to support it, and Flood could not continue it on it's merits alone. Thus, it has closed permanently, as far as I could find out.

Flood, who owned the relics, took them out of the museum to his home. He commented, "My house is not longer a home, it's a warehouse." A few items have been donated to the Museum London, such as an award given Lombardo by the City of London. Other items may be donated to archives in the locality, but the manager of London City Services has said the items belong to Flood and he has the right to do with what he chooses with no influence by the city.

This was one of the most interesting and most difficult items I have attempted. There is a great deal written in many sites on the band and the Lombardos.
Guy won the Ford Memorial competition in 1948; the President's Cup and Silver Cup in 1992; Was reigning US National Champ from 1946 to 1949; won every trophy in the sport before his retirement in the late '50s. In 2002 he was inducted into the Motorsport Hall of Fame.

In later years Guy Lombardo lived in Freeport, L.I. NY, where he invested in "Liota's East Point House, a seafood restaurant, which later became known as "Guy Lombardo's East Point House." He became promoter and musical director of Jones Beach Marine Theater which was built by Robert Moses especially with Guy in mind.
Rose-Marie sang with the band, and by her own admission she wasn't a great singer.
Elaine Lombardo urged Guy to hire Kenny Gardner after seeing him in another night club. Guy did listen to him, and hire him, and Elaine married him.
Victor died in Bocca Raton of a heart attack in 1994. He left a wife, two sons and a step-daughter.
Carmen died in 1971 of Cancer. I could not find any reference to family.
Lebert died in 1993. His son Billy attempted unsuccessfully to keep the band together.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Margaret Whiting

Margaret Whiting- as I mentioned, I asked my fellow high school drummer, Greg who he thought was the best singer of the time, and he said Margaret Whiting without hesitation.

He told me she was the daughter of Richard Whiting, which proved that he was a lot more up on musicians than I was. I didn't know who Richard Whiting was. Richard wrote "On The Good Ship Lollipop", "The Japanese Sandman" and "Ain't We Got Fun?", "Breezin' Along With The Breeze", and "She's Funny That Way." There are many more but his isn't about Richard. Nor is it about Eleanor Young Whiting, her mother who was a homemaker and manager of Margaret Young* and Sophie Tucker.

And then there was Barbara Whiting, Margaret's actress/singer sister. *And she also had an aunt who was a singer/recording artist in the '20's named Margaret Young. It could be said she inherited her talent if indeed we can inherit a gene for musical talent.

At the age of seven Johnny Mercer noticed that she had a true talent, and by age 18 she was signed to Capitol Records which Mercer owned. Margaret Whiting was Capitol's first "label" artist. Whiting served as President of the Johnny Mercer Foundation, and continued in the '40's to record and perform. At 15 she appeared in the Lucky Strike "Your Hit Parade", but was fired because the owner of the company said she could not dance to her songs.

Mercer continued to guide and mentor her, and once told her to "grow up and learn to sing." She had plenty of opportunity to just that as she was in the frequent company of her father's and Mercer's collaborators, Harold Arlen, Mel Torme, Judy Garland and others.

Margaret married Hubbell Robinson, a writer, producer and television executive. The marriage lasted about eight nonths.
She married Lou usch, a ragtime pianist known as "Joe ' Fingers' Carr". They had one daughter in 1951, but the marriage also ended in divorce. In 1958 she married Richard Moore, a founder of Panavision, again a marriage which did not last.

In 1994 Margaret married Jack Wrangler (ne' John Stillman. He died in 2009. Wrangler, 20 years her junior, was gay. Margaret was attending one of Wrangler's one-man erotic shows in New York. He later said, "....when I looked over at Margaret, who was surrounded by five guys in a booth.....I thought, 'Boy, now that's New York! that's glamor!" I had to meet her." When they were first introduced Wrangler told her he was gay and her response was "...only around the edges, dear." Wrangler commented of himself, "I'm not bisexual and I'm not straight. I'm gay but I could never live a gay lifestyle because I'm much too competitive. When I was with a guy I would always want to be better than him; what we were accomplishing, what we were wearing - anything. With a woman you compete like crazy, but coming from different points of view, and as far as I'm concerned, that was doable." SO - now you know, I guess why some straight and gay couples seem be happy.

Margaret Whiting's "A Tree In The Meadow" in 1948 made #1; and in 1949 she did it again with "Slippin' Around" with Jimmy Wakely. She appeared on stage in "Dreams" . There is a reference to "using her own name" but I could find no reference of any other name she recorded or performed with.

You can listen to the recordings of most of the artists I profile by going to putting them names in your search engine. It's fun and it gives you a good idea of what some of the old songs should sound like if you are playing them.

MIchigan John has suggested I look up Guy Lombardo. That will be my next project.

Keep a song in your heart and keep the music playing. It's good for your soul.


Friday again, and a lovely one it turned out to be. Started out rainy and windy; hard trip to do my radio program in Standish. But this afternoon it is clearing, the patio thermometer says somewhere between 50 and 55. And I am looking forward to a nice trip to Kennebunk tomorrow to join friends for an organ get-together.

Last week I think I said I would do Jane Morgan, and then I forgot. I began researching Margaret Whiting, my friend Greg's favorite 50's vocalist. SO, if you are up to reading about two important vocalists, I will tell you about both of them.

Jane Currier (Morgan) is of particular interest to me because her brother Robert Currier established a very well known summer theater in Kennbunkport.

She was born in Newton, Mass.(Florence Currier, 1924) the daughter of two very accomplished musicians. Her father, from Munich, played in the Boston Symphony, and her mother was a graduate of New England Conservatory of Music. Both were composers, teachers and operated a family music school in Newton. (Bertram Currier was a collateral relative of the famous lithographer of Currier and Ives.) Jane was taught to sing, play piano and violin and dance. Her career as a performer began with roles in Robert Currier's Kenenbunkport Playhouse in summer theater. Her father died when she was only 13 and her mother moved the children to Daytona Beach Florida. After high school Jane attended Juliard School of Music to study opera. Studying by day, she performed in night clubs and at parties, Bar Mitzvahs and small restaurants to earn money to continue her education.
She was hired to sing in the Roseland Ballroom, six nights a week for $25 per week.
While still at Juliard, Art Mooney heard her perform and hired her. It was he who changed her name to Morgan by taking the first name of one of his vocalists, Janie Ford, and the last of another, Marian Morgan.

Because her mother had taught her flawless French, the impressario Bernard Hilda hired her to accompany him to Paris to sing in a nightclub he planned to open near the Eiffel Tower. She appeared regularly in the Club Des Champs Elysees, twice nightly, mostly to French audiences. Her songs were those of Cole Porter,George Gershwin, French songs, and standards of the century, all in correct French. She was a sensation there, and Hilda (and his gypsy violin) became a celebrity. Subsequently, she worked seven days a week touring all over Europe, Italy,Spain, Belgium, Switzerland and England. She was not by any means getting wealthy, but many fine designers of the day were eager to provide her with their creations. Remarkable hats, elegant gowns, style-setting wardrobes; she became a "continental chanteuse", but was hardly known in the US.

In 1952 Morgan went to Canada,opened at the Ritz as a soloist with a bilingual act, but returned to New York with performances in upscale nightclubs. She got her own radio program with NBC, backed by the 500-piece Symphony Orchestra. Then back to England in 1954.

In 1962 she married Larry Stith. I could not turn up any additional information on Stith.
They divorced in 1965, and shortly after Morgan married Jerry Weintraub, her agent. Her agent/husband was responsible for booking her into US venues which led to her appearing in many radio programs and eventually on television.

Many years ago the Kennebunkport Playhouse burned beyond salvaging. But to this day the Weintraubs maintain a lovely old farm home near that site which is known as Blueberry Hill. Florence Currier, the little girl who started in Kennebunkport Playhouse as a child performer, evolved into the lovely Jane Morgan who has credits to her name like Bells Are Ringing, Marry Me, Marry Me, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Anniversary Waltz, Affairs of State, Kiss Me Kate, and Mame She has appeared with Andy Williams, Burt Bachrach, with Gary Cooper in Love In the Afternoon, Chet Atkins (country/western? Yes!), Ed Sullivan, and Hollywood Palace. Her last appearances were with Johnny Cash (she did an answer to A Boy Named Sue titled A Girl Named Johnny Cash), and the Merv Griffin Show in 1971.

Jane and Jerry Weintrab adopted three children, Julie, Jamie and Jodie.

In all of these profiles of musicians I learn new things, and I only pass on those facts which I think are most interesting. I use Wikipedia and books which I have on hand.
Some performers have their own website which gives yet another side - their side - of their stories. IF you have a favorite performer, or a show or song you would like to to research, please let me know. If you don't want to use the "blogspot" to remark, just drop me a line at, but please be sure to mark "blog" in the subject line, because if I don't recognize your URL or name I probably won't open the message.
I get a lot of offers for jobs from the UK to handle accounts in the US for sales made over there; almost daily I get a chance to win $50,000,000 from Africa; or inherit part of an estate in Australia from an unknown distant relative who just knew I would put it to good use and deserved to have it --if I would just send them $10,000 to assure the safe and prompt transfer. Yeah, sure.
Check the second post for today on Margaret Whiting.

Keep a song in your heart and keep the music playing. It's good for the soul. jem

Friday, October 29, 2010

Wilberforce Whiteman

What? You don't remember Wilberforce Whiteman?
I have such fun deciding who to pick on each week for this little blog! I was thinking about a conversation I had with a fellow drummer in our high school band. I asked him whom he thought was the most accomplished band leader of the time. Without hesitation he said "Paul Whiteman". I had not paid much attention to Whiteman until then, and I suppose more to impress Greg than from actual knowledge, I agreed. And then I began to buy his recordings. Well, anyway, in my research on Paul Whiteman I came across the name Wilberforce Whiteman. Wilberforce was Paul's father, a music teacher. (The only other person I have ever run across with that name is a character on "Are You Being Served" a British comedy.)

Paul was born in 1890. Quite naturally, his father taught him music and he earned a place in the San Francisco Symphony as a violinist. In 1918 he formed his own band and eventually became know as the "King of Jazz". His band played in various hotels, and toured Europe. In 1924 he staged a symphonic jazz concert, which some say is the true beginning of the "jazz age." It was held in the Aeolian Hall which at the time was a "sanctuary" of classical music. Special compositions were written for this concert by both Victor Herbert and George Gershwin. Rhapsody In Blue was introduced that night with Gershwin at the piano. Whiteman paid out of pocket for this event and it cost him a lot of money! Rhapsody in Blue became Paul's theme song.

The the late twenties Whiteman was the biggest name in music. His band had 34 pieces, and he paid his musicians extremely well (for the time) at $150 - $575 a week)
Other bands were forced to pay their good musicians higher wages, too, in order to keep them.

Many bandleaders of the mid-twenties era were getting into radio, but Whiteman did not until 1928 when he went on air for Old Gold cigarettes with "The Old Gold Orchestra." When Kraft cheese sponsored him in 1933 he called his band The Paul Whiteman Band. Meanwhile, he made a movie called The King Of Jazz. This was the first of several movies in which he took part. His band evolved more into a show unit than a dance band, although he occasionally did dance engagements.

In the mid-forties, Whiteman, with a smaller band and a vocalist, continued to do some shows. He continued as a dominant force in the music business, became musical director for the Blue Radio Network, dropped the "King of Jazz" title and took '"Dean of Modern American Music". As live radio decreased and disc jockeys took over, Paul did that for a brief period on ABC. He replaced Jackie Gleason on television in the summer in 1955, which featured different great dance bands of the day each week.

I found it odd that in his seventies he became involved in the promotion of sports car racing in both Florida and California.

Some of the people whose careers were given a hand up by Whiteman are: Don Clark, Charlie Margulis, both Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Bix Beiderbecke, Frankie Trumbauer, Charlie and Jack Teagarden, The Rhythm Boys (Bing Crosby, Al Rinker, Harry Barris), Bob Lawrence, Johnny Mercer, Paul Robeson, Billie Holiday and a woman pianist who was billed as "Romano and her Grand Piano".

Some of the songs Whiteman recorded were: Wang Wang Blues, Say It With Music, I'll Build a Stairway to the Stars, Linger Awhile, My Blue Heaven - the list is very long. He did a fast version of "Old Man River" with Bing as vocalist; and then a slow, more traditional version. Two of my favorites were "WIllow Weep for Me" and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes". From the varied pieces he recorded and played in live stage performances, I conclude he really loved music and had a good time with all types.

Paul Whiteman was married four times, the last one to Margaret Livingston. She was with him until his death at the age of 77.

Next time if I can find enough information I will bring you Jane Morgan, a extraordinarily accomplished vocalist who has a home and theater connections to Kennebunkport, Maine.

jan major
hobby organist, Scarborough, Maine

Friday, October 22, 2010

So Many Choices ---

I spent some time today thinking about all of the musicians - vocal, orchestral, solo; composers, lyricists - there are so many it is hard to decide which ones are most interesting. I was looking through some material and came across Horace Heidt. I remember him, but then, not only am I old, I had much older siblings and I remember their music too. Don't feel bad if you don't remember Horace. You're probably much too young.

Heidt was born in in 1901 (and died in 1987). Like many kids, his mother made him take piano lessons and he actually became quite accomplished. However, he did not publicly play very often. In the early twenties he was attending University of California and sustained a serious back injury. But for that, he would probably chosen a career in athletics. But he moved on in his music and got a job with a small band which featured a mascot, a trained German shepherd named LOBO. Throughout his career he continued to include some "offbeat" antics in his performances which were derided as corny by his contemporaries. But his public enjoyed them.

Heidt gained credibility and popularity as he joined a traveling show and in the early thirties he arrived in New York. As his reputation increased got engagements in places such as the Palace Theater. The competition was tough and his popularity waned. He then picked up a band and returned to California. He had an unsuccessful stint opening for Fred Waring (he "stole" some of Waring's arrangements and played them in the from the pit opening, before Waring could play them on stage.) He then moved on to Chicago where he played at the Drake Hotel for six years. It was from there that he got a spot in radio, with a fourteen piece band, a glee club, and featuring Alvino Rey on guitar, and the vocals of the King Sisters. Moving to the Biltmore in New York he developed the "Pot of Gold" , one of the first give-away shows.

The program used a spinning dial, telephone directory and phone call to the number selected b the dial. The person who answered the phone received a prize of $1000 which was a lot of money in those days. The program was so popular it was made into a movie with the band and all of its stars.

Going into the forties, Heidt's popularity grew. He moved into swing, hired some of the best musicians including members of the Glen Miller Band when Miller went into the service. During the war, because the draft was thinning the ranks, he ran an ad in Billboard offering top pay to any musician who was free to join him.

In 1943 Heidt went into retirement. He was fairly wealthy and the war was on. But in 1946 he assembled the "Youth Opportunity Show" . The show traveled across the nation, and everywhere it went it packed in the audience, utilizing amateur talent which rivaled the old Major Bowes Show, and produced a number of successful musicians. Think of Dick Contino, Al Hirt, Pat Boone, Nino Tempo, Ken Berry, Florence Henderson, Pete Fountain, and Dean Jones.

Heidt really did not shine as a musician, being more of a producer, but he did consistently lead a band and perform. Horace Heidt died in 1986 at the age of 85. (NOTE: I found two different dates of birth/death which differed by only a year each. I think this is the most likely one.)

Check out Horace Heidt Estates if you are interested in learning about a ranch which he purchased in Van Nuys . It has been "home" to a "boatload" of famous entertainers. The property includes an 18-hold golf course, an aviary and seven waterfalls. It was originally a horse ranch owned by King Charney, President oif Eastman-Kodak. It's an interesting story.

Horace Heidt's theme song was "I'll Love You In My Dreams"

You can listen to it on the internet in your favorite music site.
I always read Peanuts. Those little kids are always giving me a chuckle. Yesterday I was both amused and empathetic. Schroeder is laboriously playing a complicated piece at his little one-octave piano. Lucy, who constantly tries to get more of his attention, is resting against the piano listening. Schroeder finishes and says triumphantly, "I played it all the way through without one error." and Lucy, who rarely pays a compliment anyway, says "LUCK!".

I seldom play anything through with out an error and I call those my signature adaptations.

Keep a song in your heart and keep the music playing.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010


BARRY MANILOW was never one of my favorite vocalists. I appreciate that he is an accomplished musician with a vast number of compositions to his credit, as well as having performed on Broadway, in numerous clubs, shows and cutting hundreds of recordings both as soloist and collaborator. You can't get much better than that in the show biz world. My daughter had a friend who was crazy about him, and I wondered why. He certainly was not good looking, and didn't seem to have a great personality. But, in recent years I became acquainted with a professional musician who said she had the opportunity to be in his company in a club in New York, and he was absolutely charming and funny and generous. He sent her a copy of his original score for Copa which she translated to simplified (not E-Z Play) music and shared with others with his blessing.

Manilow was born in New York,(either in 1943 or 1946) raised in northern Brooklyn. His mother was Jewish, his father had a Jewish father and Irish mother. Following high school he enrolled at Julliard performing arts school. He paid for his education by working at CBS where he had an opportunity to write a musical score for a melodrama, an off Broadway production of The Drunkard.

You will perhaps be familiar with Barry's jingles written in his early career:
"Like a good neighbor, State Farm is There" "...'cause Bandaids stick on me." Other commercials were for Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, and Tab. And the famed McDonald's ad: "You deserve a break today."

Barry Manilow wrote or collaborated on over 400 songs,but some of his most recognized were not his originals. If you want lists of songs they are available at Barry Manilow-BarryNet - His Music - Who Writes The Songs.
He did write a piece called "I Really Do Write The Songs".

I associate "Copa Cabana" with Manilow. He did not write that song, but no doubt made it famous. In recent months I have heard him sing some of the "old songs" which seem to fit him very well. At the end of the day, I am enjoying Barry Manilow's talent, as well as respecting it. Proving that even at this advanced age I can realign my preferences. His medley of "Could It Be Magic", "I Write The Songs", "Mandy" and Copacabana" is fun. It has changing tempos and moods and lots of interesting upper and lower manual changes.

I would encourage you to listen to some of his music (you can do that by Googling him and getting a site that plays the songs) and then going to your instrument, be it a keyboard, piano, or organ, and emulate his mood, because he really does a good job interpreting songs.

What was Barry Manilow's first No. 1 hit? Mandy.

Keep a song in your heart and keep the music playing. Janice

Monday, October 11, 2010


I have been exploring "the blues" on my organ. There are a lot of choices (I have the Prestige) and sometimes I just play the same piece in each of them to see what the differences are. It follows that I would begin to take an interest in W. C. Handy, the Father of the Blues.

W. C. Handy was the son of the pastor of a small church in Alabama. He was born in a log cabin which had been built by his grandfather, who after his emancipation became a an African Methodist Episcopal minister. That log cabin has been preserved in downtown Florence, Alabama. When W.C. brought his first guitar with money he saved by picking fruits and nuts, and making lye soap behind his father's back. When he brought the guitar into the home, his father asked him what possessed him to bring such a sinful thing into their Christian home. He made his son return the guitar and enrolled him in organ lessons. The organ lessons did not last. W.C. joined a teen band and purchased a cornet from a fellow band member. All of this he kept from his parents.

Handy worked in the "shovel brigade" at the McNabb furnace which produced iron ore. The workers would beat their shovels against the "iron buggies" and the scraping sounds of the shovels as they were thrust and pulled became music. Handy said ".....The effect was sometimes remarkable ...It was better to us than the music of a martial drum corps, and our rhythms were far more complicated." He also noted,
"Southern Negroes sang about everything....They accompany themselves on anything from which they can extract a music sound or rhythmical effect..." and noted that that became the material for the mood we now call "blues."

W. C. wrote a lot of pieces. A whole list is available over the internet, which if you are reading this, you do have access to. Soem of the ones I have worked with are
"Memphis Blues" which is political satire; "St. Louis Blues" ; "Beale Street Blues" which was his farewell to the old Beale Street of Memphis. As we all know, Beale Street did not go away and is still the cradle of the Blues. He also wrote "Yellow Dog Blues" which referenced the Southern Railway; "Loveless Blues" which was a complaint over modern synthetics - ("with milkless milk and silkless silk, we're growing used to soulless soul.") "Long Gone John" which was a tribute to a famous bank robber. "Chantez-Les-Bas" (Sing 'em Low) a tribute to the Creole culture of New Orleans. "Ole Miss Rag". There are probably others that are not listed here.

W. C. Handy went blind after a fall in a subway in New York. He was widowed twice;
his third wife was his secretary who, he said, had become his eyes. He wrote five books: Blues: And Anthology of Words and M of 53 Great Songs; Book of Negro Spirituals; Father of the Blues: And Autobiography; Unsung Americans Sing; Negro Authors and Composers of the United States.

W. C. Handy - 1873 - 1958.
Ref. Wikipedia (the free encyclopedia).

Play some blues. the Lowrey Organs have a variety of styles: Chicag0 Blues, Slow EZ Blues, Organ Blues, Sweet Rhythm, Texas Blues, Duke's Blues. Pick out a Handy blues piece, put in any rhythm and as you the song, change from one blues rhythm to another. You will get different instrumentation as well as different beats. Have fun with it. Personally, I alike Memphis Blues. But I think I might like some of the others if I could find them in Fake Book music.

If you know more about this interesting musical personality, put an answer on my blog or e-mail me at

Keep a song in your heart and keep the music playing.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Happy Birthday, Julie Andrews

October 1, 2010 - Happy Birthday, Julie Andrews
Born Julie Elizabeth Wells in 1935, Julie certainly has had a "colorful career' in such productions as Cinderella, Sound of Music, My Fair Lady,Mar Poppins,Camelot, the Boy Friend, and in her more recent roles as the Nanny for Eloise and The Princes Diaries.
It would be difficult to choose which of these would be my favorite. She is a very special actress.

Julie began her career as a child in England. Her parents divorced and each married again. She lived with her father and brother John, but as she showed musical talent, her father sent her to live with her mother and step-father. She describes this as a very dark" period of her life as their home was in a slum district of London. Her life was not good with her step-father but he did provide for her education at an independent arts school
Her parents were stage performers and she was added to their act. Of that she says,
"It must have been ghastly, but it seemed to go down all right." She sang both solo and in duet with her step-father with her mother on piano.

In each musical production there is probably one song that becomes a favorite. Sometimes my favorite is not the signature song, or even one of the best known. "You May Take Me To The Fair" from Camelot for the lyrics. It simply amuses me. From Mary Poppins, for the same reason, I enjoy "Let's Go Fly A Kite". In the Sound Of Music I think my favorite is "Something Good." I think it sums up the reasons for having good senior years. Nearly everyone does their best to live well, but not everyone really enjoys the later years of life. I know wonderful people who haven't found a happy old age. So,* "Perhaps I had a wicked childhood,
Perhaps I had a miserable youth, ..........
But somewhere in my wicked, miserable past
There must have been a moment of truth.........
Somewhere in my youth or childhood
I must have done something good."

Of course, the song is a love song, and Julie is singing with VonTrapp after their engagement. Julie must have sung that song straight from her heart, even though she was acting, because she did have a difficult childhood. If you read her bio on Wikipedia
I think you will agree, that song had to have special meaning for her.

The Hal Leonard Company includes many,many songs from all of the great musicals. And Joanie Manero, a Lowrey pro has created some great registrations for many of them.
If you like the fake book series, there are two that feature Broadway music. And there is a huge book of the "Best of Broadway" for around $50, but be warned, this is not E-Z Play format; all tunes are written in original keys. I recommend the more manageable fake book series.

*No, I did not have a wicked childhood, or a miserable youth. I just love the "Horatio Alger" idealism. I lived a happy privileged home in a small American town with about 3000 permanent residents which swelled to about 10, 000 in the summer. Several of my close childhood friends are still my close senior friends. Life is good.

Keep a song in your heart and keep the music playing.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Play a SImple Melody - - - -

Yesterday when playing at the Maine Veterans' Home I realized the audience did not care that I was playing "bubble music" with no fancy frills. I played from E-Z Play books of the '40's, hits from Broadway, waltzes and country tunes. At the end I played a couple of marches and Battle Hymn of the Republic. I enjoyed playing Take Me Out To The Ball Game, Bye Bye Blackbird, I Want A Girl Just Like The Girl That Married Dear Old Dad, Who's Sorry Now?. I didn't have to worry about complicated runs and chords, and I didn't have to think about whether I was pleasing the audience. Their voices behind me as they sang along, their comments like "that's a good one" and "I remember that one" , told me all I needed to know.

The Maine Veterans' Home in Scarborough, one of several in the state, has several wings. The wing I visit on Sundays is the "residential" one. The men and women there need some assistance but are able to take much responsibility themselves. Their meds are managed, but they dress themselves, feed themselves and are mobile with or without assist. SO, when they hear the music they come - some with walkers, some in wheel chairs, some with no mobility aids. Some stay as long as I am there; some wander in and out. I am totally at ease with that. And my playing reflects how much I am enjoying the experience. The EZ-Play books of the Century Series is a library of wonderful familiar tunes. While I work on complicated chord changes and right hand harmony, and tricky little fills and clever endings - and I am not sure they sound any better than the simpler versions - I thoroughly enjoy just kicking back and using all the great features already built into the Lowrey organ. With the push of a button, the wiggle of a foot, the flick of the wrist - a chord change, a right hand harmony, a professional fill, a resounding ending. RELAX AND ENJOY A SIMPLE MELODY. Push a few buttons. Kick a little fill or chord change. Add another man to your orchestra. The possibilities are endless. Have fun.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

"Til the Clouds Roll By

Have you ever thought about how many different clouds there are? Not the way the eager weather man speaks of "cumulus" and "cirrus", but in the way you look up and see them. They are quite amazing. WHen you look down from a plane, or the top of Mount Washington (the only mountain I have been on top of) they look like solid masses strong enough to walk on.
But from below .....

Today as I drove to Yarmouth to let Nick have a romp, the sky was ominously dark and shortly after leaving the house, I drove into blinding rain. As I drove along, pondering whether to keep going or turn back, I drove out of the rain, and shortly back into another downpour. I might say at this point, Nick knows when we get past Tukey's Bridge we are going to his favorite spot and he settles down quite nicely until we get over the the Yarmouth Boat Yard, which he knows somehow is near our destination. He could probably go there by himself, if dogs were allowed to drive.

ANyway, it was raining a little as we arrived, but Nick was eager to get out. Neither of us will melt - or shrink - so a little rain is o.k., and the clouds passed over and it became quite nice. Except for the drippings off the tall pines which seemed to be more soaking than the actual rain.

Driving home I noticed the variety of clouds was amazing. Some were almost black and so dense they seemed to be in danger of falling - not as rain, but in one awesome blanket which would have covered most of South Portland. But then there were gray clouds, less dense, less threatening. And then there were great fluffy white ones, rimmed in gold from the sun as it headed for the other side of the country. Those white clouds had shapes and forms such as children see when lying in the grass on a summer day. The darker ones were not changing shape and not moving, but as I passed beneath one it blessed me with another drenching.

We went a long time this summer without significant rain, so I will be grateful for the showers that befall " 'Til The CLouds Roll By."

There are a number of songs about clouds. "The Little White Cloud That Cried. " "Cloudy" "Face in the Clouds" "Cloud Nine" "Get Off My Cloud" and a song about clouds called "Sullen Sky" which is about how clouds behave. You will find "The Little White Cloud That Cried" and " 'Til the Clouds Roll By" in Lowrey E-Z Play books, but probably have to hunt for the other on the internet or ask you dealer to get an "instant print out" from a music source. Dealers can now get almost any song in print by going on-line. The nice part of that process is that they can get many different styles - E-Z Play to Pro and you can choose according to your level of ability.

" 'Til the Clouds Roll By" spend time with your music. Play a cloud song - or a rain song. Keep a song in your heart and keep the music playing.


Monday, August 30, 2010

If I Had A Hammer ~


I wonder if those guys who have been hammering in this community for the last couple of weeks have thought of using that for a theme song. They sure do hammer from morning to night. They are a very industrious team and I certainly would recommend them. They take a break at noon - all together - and return promptly. It has been unusually hot for this time of year. Walking around up there without shade, and very little breeze - they are amazing.

I got up this a.m., had flipped my calendar to September, and thought it was Labor Day. Saw a neighbor and said I did not expect the roofers to be here on a holiday. She looked at me in wonder and said, "This isn't a holiday. That's next week." I am sure she thinks I have joined the ranks of the disconnected.

Anyway, back to "If I Had A Hammer.": Pete Seeger and Lee Hays wrote the song in 1949. They were members of "THE WEAVERS" a band which did not succeed. It was brought out again in 1962 by Peter, Paul and Mary. And Trini Lopez recorded it a little later. The song was intended as support for the progressive movement on labor rights. It speaks of using the hammer, the work bell and labor songs, encouraging "the people" to use their tools to speak out for themselves for labor equality. It speaks for collective action by laborers. And then - finally - "I've got a hammer, And I've got a bell, And I've got a song to sing - All over this land.
It's the hammer of justice, It's the bell of freedom, It's the song about love between my brothers and my sistrs - All over this land.

(Political note from me: It was the right thing when the progressives advocated collective "speaking out" - but now those who collectively speak out are considered rabble-rousers by those who set the bar. Hmmmmm -)

If I Had A Hammer is several Hal Leonard EZ Play books, and some of the Fake Book both EZ Play and conventional. Even if you don't like the sentiment - personally I do - the song is fun to play on several different rhythms on the Lowrey Organs and probably on the Roland, or any number of key boards. I HAPPEN TO LOVE MY LOWREY!

Pete Seeger was a really great musician. A product of his time and dedicated to his work, his music always seemed to have a purpose other than just to entertain. It was a serious time, those days when war was terribly unpopular and the emotion was taken out on the brave armies doing what they are trained to do. I would celebrate Mr. Seeger and his talent, the times - they were shameful.

"The times, they are a changin' " - so KEEP A SONG IN YOUR HEART and KEEP THE MUSIC PLAYING.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

One Froggy Evening ~~~~

Did you ever see the cartoon of a corner stone being opened by a man who discovers a small box in which a frog is sleeping. He takes the frog to his office, opens the box and the frog begins to sing and dance "Hello, ma baby! hello, ma honey, hello ma ragtime gal ....? I believe Warner Bros. now owns it and I could not access it on the internet because of copyright claims by them. However, the story goes on - the man puts the frog back in the box and takes it to an agency where, when he gets in to have the frog audition, he carefully puts the frog on the agent's desk. The frog does what all frogs do in strange circumstances: it sits and does nothing. In spite of prodding, the frog does not perform. The disappointed "frogmaster" puts the frog back in the box and takes it away. Once back in the office, he opens the box again and the frog booms out "Hello, my baby --" etc. It really is one of the funnier cartoons, in my opinion, that was ever produced. You never hear the man speak a word, just that darned frog booming out the lyrics and dancing with his top hat and cane, like a vaudeville star.

That song was written around 1899, by a pair of vaudevillians, Joseph Howard and Ida Emerson, and became a huge hit. It was originally about a man who, every day, telephones a girl whom he has never seen and is afraid of losing to someone who lives nearer to her. He eventually learns her name is Bess. "his morning through the hone she said her name was Bess, Here pasted in the lining of my hat.
I am mighty scared 'cause if the wires get crossed,
'Twill separate me from ma baby mine.
Then some other man will win her, and my game is lost.
And so each day I shout along the line :::Hello, ma baby; hello ma honey, hello ma ragtime gal. Send me a kiss by wire,
baby my heart's on fire!
If you refuse me, Honey, you'll lose me, then you'll be left alone. Oh, baby, telephone and tell me I'm your own.
Hello! Hello! Hello! Hello there?

Get out your Hal Leonard catalog and find Hello, Ma Baby and as you play it picture a great green frog with top hat and cane dancing all around your keys. It's bound to make you feel good.

Now, wasn't this a silly topic? No great inspiration to continue your playing, keep your music circle of friends or spread the joy. Just something to help you -------

Keep a song in your heart and keep the music playing.

Jan Major

Monday, August 16, 2010


MUSIC - Well, what would expect from in a music blog???

The reason I am generalizing is that I have played for three senior groups in the past week and I am convinced MUSIC is MUSIC to them. Thursday I was a the Truslow Adult Day Care in Saco for the Tuesday/Thursday group. I took a pile fake books with me with no particular program in mind. I began with something lively, probably Ain't We Got Fun. Michel, a multiply handicapped, mentally challenged man got up as usual to dance. Michel dances to everything from God Bless America to The Hawaiian Wedding Song. (And all genres in between!) He is a showman at heart. I played a wide variety of music they could sing along with, or just listen to. Some good old hand-clapping, foot-stomping gospel, a polka or two and as usual, ended with a march. Everyone had smiles on their faces and some asked when I would be back. It doesn't really matter whether I tell them next week or next month, they say "Oh, good."

Friday I returned to Truslow for the Monday/Wednesday/Friday clients. I began with Anazing Grace, went to some sing-alongs and mixed in a little country, a few big band numbers, a polka, and eventually ended with a march. Michel is a full-week client, so again he danced to every number. I could hear some voices behind me catching a few lyrics here and there, and when I left some came to the organ and said they enjoyed the music, and some marvelled a the organ and said it is beautiful. The organ is a Lowrey Century, which when I owned one I believed it to be the beall endall of organs, but is now outdated and less than joyous to play. But the joy is in the response to the music, however limited my ability or the organ's.

Sunday, after a lovely family reunion, I played at the Maine Veterans' HOme in Scarborough.
I go in and set up and begin to play, and as the sounds of the music reach the rooms and he staff makes the rounds to remind clients I am there, the room begins to fill. Usually eight or ten people come in regularly, but others come and go. They are restless. It is referred to as the "residential wing." I think of it as assisted living. I started out with a quiet Swing - I think it was I Left My Heart In SanFrancisco, but moved on into sing-alongs like Mary's A Grand Old Name, Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree - you get the idea. Several of the people there do sing along, especially if I play the song twice. I played Anchors Aweigh for Celia who is a Navy Veteran, and kept the music going until supper time.

Now this sounds like a lot of "I trouble" as I scan through it. I (there I go again) didn't mean it to be about me. This is about the music - any music - all music - which when playing for a group has to appeal to everyone in some way. Toe-tapping, hand-clapping, memory jogging, mirthful, religious, moving emotionally or physically - music is good. I asked John, "Do you like country?" and he replied in his deep solemn voice, "Not especially." But I played Make the World Go Away and he sang most of it. When I left as something mouthwatering was being brought in from the kitchen, every person there said "Thank you. Come back soon."

But if someone else goes in my place one of these days, they will be greeted with the same welcome, and when leaving they will be thanked and urged, "Come back soon."

Music - there is something out there for everyone. Explore, enjoy, and

Keep a song in your heart and keep the music playing.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Come to the Church in the Wildwood

"CHURCH MUSIC" - hymns, psalms, gospel, - a rich and plentiful source of music in America, doesn't get a lot of attention from me. But recently two "church" events have drawn my attention.

In Medway Maine, a small community north of South Woodville, and south of East Millinocket. IF you check you map you will see that this is very far north, and very rural. The census reports there are around 600 households with a total population of less than 1500. This past Sunday Medway celebrated the restoration and reopening of a beautifully classic New England church. The whole community turned out to join in the celebration.

In Standish Village, Maine, another interesting old church opened in 1808 after the demolition of the First Standish Church. In 1848 a second floor was added which became Standish Academy, which closed after a trustee made off with Academy funds. The Old Red Church now is open for tours, baptisms, weddings, at the annual Christmas Fair.

The St. Ann's Episcopal Church in Kennebunkport is right next to the George H.W. Bush summer home. It is a beautiful stone building, open during the summer for Sunday services, and is the scene of many summer weddings and baptisms. And not far from that church, in a small village called Turbot's Creek is a tiny little church in the woods.

I'm certain every old New England community has an old church, which like old schools, are only open in the summer for services. These churches probably had, if they were well supported, an old pump organ or pipe organ with bellows behind the pipes. No doubt their parishes raised their voices in prayerful and hopeful song.

Some of the older hymns which many are familiar with:

A Mighty Fortress is Our God (Martin Luther in the late 1500's)
Abide With Me Old Time Religion
Amazing Grace Onward Christian Soldiers
Blessed Assurance Rock of Ages
Come Thou Almighty King Sweet Hour of Prayer
He Leadeth Me In The Sweet By and By
I Love To Tell The Story In The Garden
Nearer My God To Thee To God Be The Glory
Shall We Gather At The River When We All Get To Heaven

Many of these hymns listed were written/composed in the 1800's and have stood the test of time in today's church services. Of course, as in all things, some newer music is being written, only time will tell if it will endure.

You can probably think of many more. My father used to sing The Old Rugged Cross when we went on our long Sunday mystery rides. And Come To The Church in the Wildwood, which is why I chose that hymn for title today.

If you are interested in some music Hal Leonard puts out Fake Books on both Gospel and Hymn music. ALso, if you Google "Classic Christian Hymns you will find more titles and the availability at Apple Sauce Kids. I did not attempt to download anything, but I believe there are free downloads at that site.

You must have heard the joke about the preacher who, preaching on demon rum, exhorted his parishoners to "dump your liquor into the river - and then announced the next hymn to be "SHALL WE GATHER AT THE RIVER?"

PLEASE - keep a song in your heart and keep the music playing. It's good for you.


Sunday, August 1, 2010


August 1st is Naitonal Frindship Day, and also National Raspberry Cream Pie Day. I don't think there any songs written about Raspberry Cream Pie (get out your copy books and see what you can do) but there are songs about friendship:


Friendship is one of the most important parts of our lives. It is really an emotion, I think. You cannot be a friend with out feeling some emotion. Friendship can lead to love, it can provide stability in our lives and make us feel "part of" something.

I am blessed with friends; some from childhood, some from jobs I have held; some recent friends in my music hobby. I hope I am a "good friend" to all of them. I made a "new friend" at the therapy pool last month, and she is coming this afternoon with several of her friends to hear me play some music. I believe one can never have too many friends, and probably should have at least one very close "confidante".

SO, "friendship, friendship, we've a perfect friendship. When other friendships are all forgot - ours will still be hot."

Keep a song in your heart and keep the music playing.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

I've Got The Horse Right Here -----

I am not sure that is the correct title for that song, but it comes from THE STING, and it is a cleverly constructed parody of a better. If you are not familiar with The Sting I highly recommend it. The story line - you might want to watch it twice - is a race track sting, a little complicated, but very entertaining. The music - I never tire of it so sometimes I put the video in and never look at the screen. The movie stars Redford and Newman in equally important roles. But what brings this song to mind?

Well, my grandson is working at the local race track this summer. I never thought he would get hired because he is very young, but apparently as soon as a kid is old enough to step behind the betting line, he is also old enough to sell tickets.I might add, I was not delighted he got the job, although in today's economy I was pleased he was able to get work, and after all, it is only a summer job.

Anyway, back to the connection: The track gave him one jersey with the track logo on it. Now "track people" are not usually heavy drinkers - you can't get sloshed and make sensible bets - but a lot of them are chain smokers. There is an area where smokers can watch the races, but they have to come to the windows to bet, so the reek of smoke permeates the grandstand. As my grandson was pulling his 'uniform shirt' over his head the other day he commented that it smelled - of " smoke and broken dreams."
My fears that he will become a compulsive gambler after his summer at the track have been allayed. I don't know what "broken dreams" smell like, but I am sure it is not pleasant. And I loved the observation.

Another great piece from The Sting is "Easy Winners." It is a catchy tune, not difficult once you feel the rhythm. It is in Hal Leonard Book EZ-310. I am sure I have seen "I Got A Horse Right Here" somewhere, also, but do not find it listed in the Hal Leonard catalog.

This past week two of my organ friends put wheels on the organ at the Maine Veterans' HOme. Now I will be able to roll it from wing to wing (there are four of them) and share my music with more residents. THey also put wheel on the bench, and Brian commented that he hoped I would not have an accident with it. He envisioned me rolling accidentally across the room, I guess. I am not worried about that, but I do hope it doesn't roll away from me as I start to sit. The very thought of me sitting on the floor in front of the organ while the residents sit patiently by waiting for music is not amusing.

If you are an organ owner, are you exploring the buttons? You should be. Today a few of us experimented with lock system on the Holiday Classic which has only two lock features: temp and accompaniment. We discovered by adjusting the mixer to suit us and then locking both buttons, we locked everything except upper right manual. The accomp button will lock the drums which is a big plus in my book. I have a Prestige so I use the lock buttons a lot, but there are four lock buttons on that organ. You can also lock in the various adjustments by setting them where you want and then pressing both up and down buttons at the same time.

Remember when you are just playing for yourself, experiment with the buttons. You own them and you can't hurt the organ no matter how many times you change sounds. Today Brian wanted a better guitar than he could hear on the Holiday Classic Easy 4/4. By putting #2 registration on, and pressing the Latin button, a really great guitar came up. And #1 Latin has a great trumpet.

Trivia from the TOP 500 COUNTDOWN (Hamilton Ontario CKOC)

What song was #188? a. Little Darlin'
"I don't know if we're in a garden, b. In The Still of the Night
Or on a crowded avenue. c. I Only Have Eyes For You d. The Great Pretender
You are here and so am I,
Maybe millions of people go by,
But they all disappear from view ..."

Music affects every part of your brain -

Keep the music playing.


Saturday, July 17, 2010


WHEW! We are still experience a heat wave, but we exhausted that subject last week.

Interesting things have been happening with the lcoal Lowrey program. John, our new "class leader" is working with us each Thursday morning from 9:30 to 10:00. We have playing time after that. The group is more cohesive and spirits are rising. Maybe not exactly soaring yet, but definitely on the rise. You see, we have been through about three years of uncertainty and some are still skeptical that this good turn is going to last. But, I am very optimistic and look forward to seeing the program not only continue, but thrive. John has a lot he can do with us, given some time to work out the kinks.

Our group is very broad in both capability and length of time in the program. Some like myself have been there for ten plus years; some are relatively new. Not only do we differ in that respect, we also differ in our expectations and purpose. PURPOSE? A HOBBY HAS A PURPOSE? Well, in my mind it does. My "purpose" is to entertain.
I like entertaining myself and I like entertaining others. I am not a stage performer and do not have the skills to "go far" but I love playing for others. And I will play for one for as many as the room will accommodate. At the Veterans' Home there are usually from three to twenty. At the adult day care there are up to 35. Of course, they are a captive audience. Maybe I love it more than they do. I would like better organs in both places, but can still make music on the old Century (once the top of the Lowrey line) and the Premiere, a nice but limited mid-size instrument.

Hot as it was today, only three faithful people came to Stoney Creek for our usual Saturday gathering. I do not have AC and warned people they would be coming at their own heated peril. The fans are humming. We had fruit and coffee cake. There was coffee, of course, but I also made ice tea and lemonade. Thankfully, both will keep and I will enjoy their cooling FX all weekend.

As I write this there is a light breeze moving the tops of the tall pines behind my condo.
Thus, "The Breeze and I"

This song was written by Ernesto Lecuona, an exceptionally talented composer, bandleader, song writer and pioneer in Latin music. He was born in Cuba in 1895, and died in Teneriffe, Canary Is. in 1963. the song, The Breeze and I, was originally a part of "Andalucia" which was part of his "Spanish Suite." It is certainly one of the best known and loved of his compositions, although his "Malaguena (1927) is one of my favorites. A lyricist, Al Stillman, wrote the words which Bob Eberly recorded with Jimmy Dorsey. The words tell are a lament that the singer's love is known only to the breeze. But the music, in my opinion, is so enjoyable that the words don't spoil the mood. To me it is still a "love song" even if it is love unrequited.

Today's home organs bring an orchestra into our living rooms. The small organs have trios, or eight piece bands, but the larger ones have huge orchestras - dance bands, symphonic, marching and all other rhythms from Calypso to Salsa to Waltz. Marvels of modern technology. It just takes a little time and effort to learn your way around your orchestra. You are the leader of your band so you need to get acquainted with your musicians. The Latin trumpet is wonderful for some parts of the "Breeze" and the Pan Flute makes a beautiful change in the bridge. Experiment with it. It's a fun song. Recently I made a couple of very noticeable errors in a trumpet solo part of a piece. When I finished I turned to the room and said, "I am going to fire that trumpeter. She isn't practicing enough." Some people caught the joke and we shared a moment of light humor.

I have talked myself right into closing out this blog, going to my Lowrey Prestige and seeing how many different ways I can play THE BREEZE AND I.

Keep a song in your heart and keep the music playing.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Wikipedia says there is no universal definition of a HEATWAVE, but that it is generally considered one if there are several consecutive days of excessive heat and humidity.

I GOOGLED "HEATWAVE, the music" and came up with Irving Berlin's song by that title. I thought there was another newer song by that title with a lot of drum breaks and twangy guitars, but that never came up, so I think this is the one and only. Irving Berlin said:
"We're having a heat wave, a tropical heatwave.
The temperature's rising, it isn't surprising
She certainly can can-can.
She started a heatwave, by letting her seat wave
In such a way that The customers say that
She certainly can can-can.

See, her anatomy - Makes the mercury
Jump to 93.

We're having a heatwave, a tropical heatwave.
The way that she moves
The thermometer proves
That she certainly can can-can."

Irving Berlin certainly had a way with words and apparently a sense of humor.
But in this heat - don't wave your seat around too much. Pour yourself a nice tall ice tea and sit where it's cool with your CD player and a good book, your knitting , or a crossword puzzle. That is a perfect prescription for staying cool, stimulating your mind - music does wonderful things for the brain - and relaxing.

If you own a newer and larger Lowrey organ, you may have an instrument called Django. Do you know anything about it? Skip the next few lines if you do. If you don't ---read on:

Django Reinhard was one of the greatest guitarists of all time. He had only two fingers on his left hand. He was a European Gypsy, married very young to a girl who made paper flowers and decorations. At age 18, coming into their trailer after an evening of playing guitar, he knocked over a candle into her supplied and the trailer went up in flames. He was pulled to safety, but was burned over much of his body. He lost his fingers in that conflagration, as well as the use of one leg. The doctors wanted to amputate that limb but he refused. After a period of recovery his brother, also a guitarist gave him a new guitar and he proceeded to rehabilitate himself. He struggled but succeeded in becoming an outstanding guitarist with that special sound that you will find on the newer high end Lowrey Organs. I don't care much for it, but then I am not a guitarist.

Whether you strum a guitar, play a keyboard, or play a reed or brass instrument, keep a song in your heart and keep the music playing.


Saturday, July 3, 2010


I was going over the blogs from the past and discovered I had two drafts - one of which was "JUST MUSIC" . Apparently I never did post it, so I will rewrite it and post tonight.
This is Saturday, July 3, 2010. It would be my 52nd wedding anniversary if my husband were still alive. I suppose whether he is here or not, it is still my 52nd anniversary. Oh, well. no sense sitting her supposing - 1958 is a long way back in the past. One think I learned early into our marriage, getting hitched on a holiday weekend is not a good idea. You pay double for hotels if you can get into one at all, and you can't get a sitter for your kids because they all have their own holiday agenda.
I have three absolutely great kids, wonderful children-in-law, sis grand children and four great grand children. They don't care much about my music - that's o.k. I probably don't care much for theirs - I don't even know what they like. I just hope they all like some kind of music because it does provide all sorts of benefits: passes time pleasantly, keeps the mind nimble, gives us rhythm in our steps and binds us to people of like mindedness. Everything else fades when one is wrapped up in his/her music.

This past week Joanie Manero of Lowrey Organ Company, Regional Sales Manager for the east coast (including one of the Dakotas and Arizona - somebody flunked geography while they were excelling in organ!). Joanie did two workshops at the dealer, Starbird Music Mall in Portland, and then after a pot luck lunch, came to my home and did a workshop for Joyce and me. We are both Prestige owners and the dealer does not have one in stock. When you are entertained as well taught there is nothing to complain about.
It was a wonderful day in my book. I am optimistic that the organ program in Portland is alive and well and growing once again.

I purchased two new books lately. Both are fake books - easy fake books to be specific. They are written entirely in the key of C which eliminates the necessity of dealing with all those little little sharps and flats at the beginning of the pieces. The difference between fake books and the EZ-Play format is smaller notes, slightly more - and more difficult - chords and some pieces have interesting embellishments. The music is not as challenging as conventional sheet music, the traditional fake books, or the music I have purchased from O'lyn Callahan. It is pure enjoyment, turn-the-page music. I love it.

The Gospel Fake Book has a lot of good old gospel music, some I am familiar with but having been brought up in a Congregational Church, hardly the music of MY childhood.
The other recent purchase is a great Latin Fake Book. I spent nearly two hours today quite leisurely working on some of those sambas, rumbas, tangos and bossas. The nice thing about music at this age is no one is timing you or telling you what you are doing wrong. No parent reminding you you haven't been there long enough. Or telling you the notes are sour. There are benefits to being old.

A lot of Latin music was written by Antonio Carlos Jobim, aka Tom Jobim. He was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1927. He married and had children, but he moved to New York (I suppose, after all, that was where all the action was) and worked with Sinatra, Fitzgerald, Stan Getz and many other American musicians. Among his compositions - he was a key figure in the development of the bossa nova - were (American titles) Meditation, SLsilghtly Out of Tune, Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars, The Girl From Ipanema, How Insensitive, and one of my favorites, Wave. Most if not all of them are in the Latin Fake Book.

IF it weren't for composers like Jobim we might never have been exposed to the great Latin rhythms. If you watch Dancing With The Stars you know how they have become a standard in all forms of music.

Keep a song in your heart and keep the music playing.


Saturday, June 26, 2010


Welcome to MusicLIFE
I had no inspiration at all this week. And then it happened.
I went to put my dog out in the evening and the yard was full of what we always called
"lightening bugs". I had actually seen one earlier in the week. I went to put the dog out late at night. There was a bug on the screen and not wanting to let it into the house, I flicked my finger against the screen. The bug fell off and landed on it's back. AND IT FLASHED ME! Tonight I went out again, with the dog, and was admiring the moon which is somewhere near full. I saw the dog nervously looking around and realized the yard was flickering with "lightening bugs." Now, the only song I have ever heard that might apply is "Glow Worm" - but are lightening bugs glow worms? Yes, indeed they are the same. Only the female glows. Isn't Wikipedia wonderful? If you want to know more about those luminous creatures just Google them. If you're as old as I am, you will remember catching them in a mayonnaise jar. They smell awful if you touch them with your fingers. Anyway, speaking of remembering, if you want a nice video about the way things used to be go to "www.closeyoureyes.wmv" . You will get some other videos, but if you scroll down a bit you will find the one I mean. It begins with an ad for "Duck Hunt" but stay there a few seconds and some reminders will come up along with some nice music.

Back to "GLOW WORM" ~ the song we know is an adaptation of the 1908 song from the German operetta "Lysistrata", and the Broadway musical "The Girl Behind the Counter". The original words were by Lilla Carley Robinson and the modern words were by Johnny Mercer. The music adaptation is by Paul Lincke.
Several performers have used it including the Mills Brothers and Spike Jones. The Hal Leonard Publishing Co. has it in EZ-Play Bks. #32, 33,138, 183, 231, 264. Dennis Awe has also put it in some of his collections. It's a fun piece to play, and now when you play it you will know it is not a "he-bug" lighting up for his love, but a little "she-bug" just happily flitting about.

I got a fake book of Gospel songs this week. I only recognized a few of the songs, which tells you something about my religious background. We sang "Jesus Loves Me, This I Know" and "Tell Me The Stories of Jesus" and Christmas Carols. I like the Gospels. They have a lot of rhythm and a lot of joy in them for the most part. I am looking forward to playing them both at home at when I "play out." There is one piece called "Would He, Could He, Did He" which has a wonderful beat. That's my musical goal for this week. Stay tuned! If I ever get the capability of putting sound in my blog, I might just make that my first piece. Meanwhile -

Keep a song in your heart and keep the music playing.