Friday, September 4, 2009

Pioneer Valley shape note singing in Leyden, MA

Aidan's song

Oh the Sun Rises
sung by my 6 and 7's at Pinewoods Family Week

puppets in paradise

Festival tomorrow in Westminster West 10-4 p.m. Here are photos from last spring.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cheyenne Wyoming

Stayed at the Hitching Post with this out front at our Orff workshop this weekend with 30 great music teachers. Ate at the Luxury Diner, highly recommended.

my friend

Marian and I have a ball.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Family Week 2009

parade day at Family Week at Pinewoods Camp in Plymouth Mass.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Village Harmony

We just finished leading a ten day adult Village Harmony camp with Stefan and Luke Hofffman as our fellow instructors. It was held in the beautiful northeast kingdom of Vermont and our concerts were held in St. Johnsbury and Randolph. Wonderful campers, great American gospel and shape note songs, my own original composition debut and lots of fun dancing each day. Swam in the pond and walked the roads. A lovely retreat for rehearsing:

Rick and Chloe's wedding

Peter officiated at the wedding of Rick Mohr and Chloe Maher in Philadelphia this summer. I led a shape note song Turman and there was much singing, dancing and a processional with fiddles and accordions. Morris dancing, swing, contra and a beautiful quilt adorned the day.

Bread and Puppet 2009

Back to our old stomping grounds where we once lived for a season and participated in the shows. Had missed going for a few years and absolutely loved it. Go Peter Shumann!!! This year it was called Dirt Cheap Money with circus and pagent and side shows, in the paper mache cathedral.

The awesome Stefan Amidon

Sweetback Sisters drummer extraordinaire!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

june greenery and the view from our backyard

Thanks to landscaping by our neighbor David Manning who has a business there we get a great view and have a peony in our garden with all the greenery too. Also here the lovely garden of our friend in Westminster (last photo) and the view from our hotel room in PA

Vt. Welcome Center

Loved seeing our friend and painter Susan Bull Riley's show at the VT Welcome Center just south of Brattleboro on Rte. 91.

Beatiful writing and the stars

1.When I read the NY Times editorial page and come to writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg I know it by reading the first sentence that its his writing. Here's a quote from the most recent one, but check him out (you can find about 500 of them on NYTimes/org) and enjoy him.
He's talking here about the "geography of familiarity" and one night coming home from a restaurant getting lost:

"And as I drove, I admired not only the beauty of the night but also the pleasurable sense of being comfortably lost. At last I came to an unfamiliar intersection and made a right. The moment I did so, I knew exactly where I was, and I could feel my sense of being displaced in the night slip away. It was like looking into an unknown sky and seeing the stars suddenly whirl about until they formed the age-old, long-familiar constellations of my childhood. The surprise wasn’t just being reoriented so abruptly. It was also discovering that an unfamiliar world lay a few dozen yards off a road I drive all the time. In a way, the unfamiliarity of that world has been eroded now by driving through it once.

....home is ultimately a portable concept, something we’ve nearly all discovered for ourselves in our mobile lives. The trick, of course — and it is a hard one to master — is to think of home not as a place we go to or come from, not as something inherent in the world itself, but as a place we carry inside ourselves, a place where we welcome the unfamiliar because we know that as time passes it will become the very bedrock of our being." VERLYN KLINKENBORG


2. thanks to Pete Sutherland for recommending this graduation speech by environmental activist Paul Hawken in Portland

So I have two questions for you all: First, can you feel your body? Stop for a moment. Feel your body. One septillion activities going on simultaneously, and your body does this so well you are free to ignore it, and wonder instead when this speech will end. You can feel it. It is called life. This is who you are. Second question: who is in charge of your body? Who is managing those molecules? Hopefully not a political party. Life is creating the conditions that are conducive to life inside you, just as in all of nature. Our innate nature is to create the conditions that are conducive to life. What I want you to imagine is that collectively humanity is evincing a deep innate wisdom in coming together to heal the wounds and insults of the past.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once asked what we would do if the stars only came out once every thousand years. No one would sleep that night, of course. The world would create new religions overnight. We would be ecstatic, delirious, made rapturous by the glory of God. Instead, the stars come out every night and we watch television.

This extraordinary time when we are globally aware of each other and the multiple dangers that threaten civilization has never happened, not in a thousand years, not in ten thousand years. Each of us is as complex and beautiful as all the stars in the universe. We have done great things and we have gone way off course in terms of honoring creation. You are graduating to the most amazing, stupefying challenge ever bequested to any generation. The generations before you failed. They didn't stay up all night. They got distracted and lost sight of the fact that life is a miracle every moment of your existence. Nature beckons you to be on her side. You couldn't ask for a better boss. The most unrealistic person in the world is the cynic, not the dreamer. Hope only makes sense when it doesn't make sense to be hopeful. This is your century. Take it and run as if your life depends on it.

Shadows on the Hudson

Took these at a wonderful dinner with our friends at Shadows on the Hudson, a fun restaurant with this view; plans for the longest pedestrian bridge over a walkway are happening for the fall opening just in view of this place which parallels the Mid Hudson bridge.

Chicken Curry, my newest fave

Thanks to my friend Eric Gidseg for making this. I've made it a few times now even leaving out some of the ingredients (fish sauce, coconut milk and cilantro and it still great)
Vietnam: Chicken Curry

"This is one of my all-time favorites. It’s real Vietnamese comfort food, mildly spiced, perfumed and rib-sticking at the same time." (Eric's friend)

4 lb. chicken, skin removed, cut into 10 pieces
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 large shallot, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 Tbs. curry powder, either Vietnamese or Madras
1 large carrot, peeled, sliced into coins
1 sweet bell pepper, seeded and diced medium
2 cups peeled, cubed potatoes
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
14 oz. can coconut milk
2 Tbs. fish sauce
2 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
Juice of one lime
1 small bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 small bunch of mint, roughly chopped
4 scallions, sliced into rounds

1. In a heavy casserole, sauté the chicken in the oil until golden, then remove and reserve.

2. Add the onions, crushed pepper, shallots, garlic, carrot, bell pepper and curry powder. Sauté, stirring, until everything is wilted and coated with curry. Add the potatoes and toss to coat.

3. Add all remaining ingredients except the herbs. Bring to a boil.

4. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook covered for 35-40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve in bowls, garnished with cilantro, mint, and scallions.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sweetback Sisters cd released!

Get their new cd on Signature Sounds and check them out!!
The Sweetback Sisters will be traveling up the country from West Virginia to Vermont (via Philly, NYC, and western MA). It's gonna be a big ol' time. I hope we see you at one of the shows!!!
June 10-- The Purple Fiddle, Thomas, WV
June 11-- M-Room, Philadelphia, PA
June 12-- Jalopy, Brooklyn, NY
June 13-- Roots on the River, Bellows Falls, MA
June 14-- Country Music Day, Ashfield, MA

And we'll be back on the road in July and August, too, at places like:
July 17-18: The Green River Fest, Greenfield, MA
August 2: One Longfellow Square, Portland, ME

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Oh it is the month of May

Morris dancers in the streets of our neighbors Andy Davis (on accordion) and son Arthur (the youth in the dance)

Gordon Hayward's garden in Westminster

My friend Mary Lea and I went to a wonderful marionette show by the Bluebird Theater in Westminster last Sunday and was captivated by the sights of Gordon Hayward's magical gardens.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

"Truth" the musical ends, Hallowell book out

The companion book to go with the cd of our hospice singing group is now out. Cover art by Terry Sylvester. (available on our website and Hallowell website.)

Easter was the last day of the New England Youth Theater performance of the original musical by Steven Stearns and Peter Amidon called "Truth", a wonderful tour de force by high school students.

Wangari Matthai in Brattleboro

So honored for our church choir to sing my setting of Great Trees for Wangari Matthai, Nobel Peace Prize winner (see earlier blog post) for her work. Artist Terry Sylvester presented her with the lyrics of Wendell Berry's beautiful poem on birchbark which she held and sang with while we sang to her, read from it during her speaking. A regal, brave and intelligent woman she is. See the movie about her by Alan Dater and Lisa Merton called Taking Root the Vision of Wahgari Maathai, "How the simple act of a woman planting trees changed a nation".