Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Red Grammer in Concert

     And it's tomorrow, Thursday the 29th!!  If there's any chance you're in the Eureka, CA area and can take a child or a group----or just yourself-----I highly recommend it.  Oct. 29, 2015, 10:00am in the new Sequoia Center at Humboldt County Office of Education.                                                             
Red Grammer
     I've had the privilege of joining Red in concert.  He's the real deal.  An enormously gifted singer/songwriter, a dynamic advocate for children and families and just a wonderful, big-hearted person.

     We're lucky to get him in our area.   Thanks to Holly Sage and her production team!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Spontaneous Family Music Video

     Our kids aren't shy about bursting into song at the drop of a hat.  They're no strangers to the song-creating process, and it didn't take much for them to be coaxed, prodded, and bamboozled into helping out with any number of steps in the recording process..
In the kitchen, doin' our thing.  To listen, click link on first line above.
      Rick and I have been immersed in the music industry since before we met and married, and when our son and daughter came along, it was a natural progression to include them in the family business.   Along the way, we've learned much more from our kids and been introduced to ear-opening new sounds and artists.

      This week when daughter Genevieve was in town, while driving around together, she launched into the chorus of a Heart song, to which Rick automatically added a harmony.  From the back seat, I said, "Do the chorus again" and added a third part.  That night while making dinner, it was decided on the spot to record this. Son Matthew, working at the stove in charge of pasta, was asked to add another part.  Claire, daughter-in-law and a professional singer herself, was put in charge of documenting this with a smart phone.   Four takes and 15 minutes later, we were all pleased, declared it a "wrap" and sat down to eat.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Felines in the Family >>> #8 in a series on Music Mentors

     I grew up with dogs, cats, horses, pet rats and snakes.  The pet rats were all snowy white fur and pink pin eyes and were just "visiting" from my dad's lab at the university.  The snakes were collected in the fields around our house by my brother who revered them and kept them briefly in cages in his room, regularly taking them out, and eventually returning them to the wild.*    My fondest memories are of the cats, though.                                                
It's really all about the cats.
     Someone asked recently if I had a dog.  It still kind of surprises me to realize that, no, I don't have a dog, and I haven't had a dog since I was a child.  I love dogs and always assumed I would inevitably have one claim me again.  But as my children grew, in the company of assorted beloved cats, our family just never did get around to a dog.   We were busy with the cats and then, for a brief period, pet rats----three sets of two females.  Domesticated rats are actually wonderful little companions and very smart and sweet----highly recommended pets, although their life span is only 3 years.

     But back to the cats.  I've catered to cats my whole life.  I've watched some being born and I've sorrowfully parted with others at the close of one of their nine lives.  We even had a cat during my childhood year living in Argentina (where having pet cats was not de rigueur) which we named Mishi, "kitty" in English .  How it found us and what became of it when we left are secrets my parents took to their graves.

     Both my own children came into this world welcomed by Minnie who, incredibly, hung around with us through eight moves, five major career changes, two human births, and a litter of her own.  Thanks to Rick, husband/dad/fellow cat-lover, we have video proof of what an intrepid character she was, standing her ground, demanding her rightful pampering and concessions.
Matthew with Minnie enjoying a good read in the company of twin bears.
     Who could've known that a feisty, no-nonsense, furry little ball-of-fire like Minnie would turn into a softie with the kids?  She'd let them haul her around, chase after her for hours, and erupt in frenzied squeals of delight at the mere sight of her.  Wily little Minnie's secret to success with handling her tiny adoring fans?  She had an uncanny ability to take all this devotion with kitty aplomb----when she was in the mood---and then to thumb her furry little nose at it all by shimmying and sashaying safely out of reach under cabinets or atop bookshelves.

     Minnie was our kid before we had kids.  Minnie was their first cat.  Minnie inspired the song "Tickles the Cat" that I wrote to humor kids and cats everywhere.  You can listen to a sample here, Track #15  I humbly thank Minnie for giving us master lessons in compassion, plus all those duck-and-cover skills.

     * except the 5' long garter snake that escaped and was "at-large" for several days, resulting in Grandpa's refusing to enter the house.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Singing is fun

     Singing is fun?  Well, yeah!  We all know that!  But, oh the benefits, the joys, the camaraderie of singing, and singing together, in multiple genres and settings----Oh, the places it takes us!

     First 5 California, an organization dedicated to supporting everyone involved in nurturing and educating children in the first 5 years of their lives, posted on their facebook page a link showing how singing develops brain development in young children.  This brain of mine has loved it for decades, so I think this holds true for all of us, no matter what our age.
     But wait----there's more!!   First 5 has a Pandora online music station of tracks especially for families with young children, in English and Spanish.  That's my kind of music.   Happy listening!