Category Archives: Music

Valentine Blues

A man who has taken to drinking and smoking since his girlfriend left him, a fellow who murdered a two timing partner and someone bidding their lover good-bye. Sounds pretty sad and it was.  Those were themes of songs we heard at a concert at the Higley Performance Centre here in Arizona. We listened to three different folk groups. Each sang at least one blues song that talked about just how sad love can be.

linda-bilqueLinda Bilque and the musicians who accompained her sang The No Account Blues.  

You left me oh my darling
And now I have to live with me
So I’m smoking and drinking darling
I’ve got a case of those no account blues
I toss and I turn in my teardrops
Like a fool whose got nothing to lose. 


j-c-and-laneyJ.C. and Laney a talented duo performed Don’t Need a Good Reason. 

Don’t need a good reason for things to change
When you’re not looking time steals what you arrange
We’re on borrowed time and our love was over
Long before you said the word good-bye. 

three-legged-dogThree Legged Dog a group of three amazing musicians who each played so many different instruments it left you dizzy did a number called Three Quarter Time. 

One verse talks about how a man catches his girlfriend cheating on him and says she “trod upon my heart in three quarter time.”
The following verse describes how he killed that girlfriend and threw her in the pond where “the bullfrogs sang in three quarter time.”
The song ends with the man being hung for his crime and “doing the gallows dance in three quarter time.” 

On Valentine’s Day we celebrate the beauty of love but the folk concert we attended reminded us that sometimes love can have a pretty dark side too. 

james-sallis-musician-and-authorThe most interesting performer of the evening was James Sallis, referred to as the “irascible banjo player” who we discovered is an American crime writer best known for his novel Drive which was adapted into a movie  in 2011 starring Ryan Gosling.

Other posts……..

The Arizona Opry

Burton Cummings in Arizona

Organ Music With Your Pizza Anyone? 

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Filed under Arizona, Music

A Whole Lot of Organ Music With Your Pizza

dave-and-marylou-organ-stopWould you like to eat too much mediocre pizza at picnic style tables while an organ with 6000 pipes serenades you?  Then Organ Stop Pizza is for you!  Yesterday we had another one of those unique kitchy experiences that comes with the territory when you are an Arizona snowbird.  organ-stop-pizza-mesaThe Organ Stop Pizza Place in Mesa has two massive rooms upstairs and down squished full of long tables and benches, a salad bar, icecream bar, and a walk up counter where you can order pizza.  It also features the Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre organ built in 1927 in Denver Colorado and rebuilt in the 1970s to provide entertainment for pizza patrons in Arizona.  organ-stopThe organ rises up above the audience on a rotating hyrdraulic elevator and all kinds of added instruments spread around the venue are manipulated from the organ console including dozens of different drums, bird whistles, cymbals, tambourines, wood blocks, bells, chimes and even an accordian. o-canada-organ-stopThe music on our visit was mostly show tunes from movies like Star Wars, Frozen and Sound of Music but also included stirring renditions of the American anthem and God Bless America during which most of the patrons jumped to their feet with mouths full of pizza and beer and put their hands over their hearts. They even played the Canadian anthem in acknowledgment of the many snowbirds in the audience. No one stood. Shows how patriotic we Canuks are. Check out the Canadian flag in the photo. There is a light show of sorts as you are entertained and the organist Charlie Balogh, who was very talented, took a break from the music to announce birthdays and other special occasions being celebrated by patrons. dave-ball-team-organ-stopWe were at Organ Stop with some of Dave’s slow pitch teammates from Manitoba and it was very hard to talk to each other with that organ music exploding all around you. So we skipped the ice-cream bar and retired to Eric and Joyce’s home in Gold Canyon for Schwann’s ice-cream, chocolate chip cookies and chance to really visit.  There was lots of laughter and interesting conversation. When we left the Organ Stop there was a very long line of people waiting at the walk up pizza counter. Our early arrival meant we’d avoided that.  It was an experience to visit the Organ Stop, but one I’m glad I didn’t have to wait in line for and something I only need to do once. I had a sore throat the next morning from trying to talk over the music.  I should have just closed my mouth and listened. 

Other posts…….

Hi Ho Tonto!

Funky Asheville 

MaryLou’s Castle

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Filed under Arizona, Food, Music

Connecting with Burton Cummings

800px-burton_cummingsWhat a great show!  We went to hear Burton Cummings, star of Winnipeg’s own Guess Who last night.  He was playing at the Mesa Regal Resort and thanks to our friends Ric and Helen we were able to get tickets.  For two hours Burton played hit after hit.  I thought I would know a few of the songs he performed but I recognized every one and could sing along with many.  He did American Woman, Break It To Them Gently, These Eyes, Share the Land, Stand Tall, Running Back to Saskatoon, Hand Me Down World, No Sugar, Clap for the Wolfman and Laughing to name a few.  Burton played the keyboard, flute, harmonica and guitar. And he can still sing pretty darn well for someone who is 69. My brother who was at the concert with me and is a little more music savvy than I am said Burton’s accomplished band was able to recreate many of the songs so they sounded exactly as they were originally recorded. 

burton-cummings-ticketBurton was surprised to discover just how many of his hometown fans were in attendance when he asked for a show of hands of Canadians and then Winnipegers who were in the crowd. He began talking about his childhood in Winnipeg’s northend and mentioned that he went to Luxton School which was built in 1907. 

luxton-school-wsd

Luxton School- photo Winnipeg School Division

In my work as a university faculty advisor I often visit Luxton School and when I was in university myself Luxton was where I did my student teaching placement for the Early Childhood Education program which involved a classmate and I setting up and running a nursery school in the basement of Luxton School. My brother said his 98-year-old mother-in-law was a former Luxton student.  the-family-at-royal-canoe

I was reminded too during the concert of this fall’s new CD debut for my son’s band Royal Canoe which took place in none other than the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg.  royal-canoe-burton-cummings

Talk about connections!

Other posts…….

Showing Off Our City

A Little Shameless Family Promotion

Arizona Opry

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You Could See It For the Music Alone But You Don’t Have To

“I’d like to find out who was responsible for the music,”  said my friend Caroline.  She wanted to stay and watch the credits roll after we had seen the movie Manchester by the Sea.  I could understand why she was interested in discovering who had compiled the pitch perfect score for this beautifully acted film. 

As I watched Manchester by the Sea I was impressed by the variety of music from a haunting a capella chorale written expressly for the movie by Lesley Barber to jazz tunes like I’m Beginning to See the Light by the Ink Spots to sacred music like Handel’s He Shall Feed His Flock from the Messiah to rhythm and blues pieces like Let The Good Times Roll to Bob Dylan’s folky rock tune Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts.  I was so taken with the music that the first thing I did when I got home from the theatre was to look for a list of song credits for Manchester by the Sea.  I’ve already downloaded the soundtrack into my I-Tunes library.  

manchester-2There’s a complex variety of music in the film and sometimes you wonder for a moment why a certain piece might accompany a particular scene, but as the scene rolls out you come to understand why the music was chosen. The music in Manchester by the Sea definitely makes it even more profoundly moving and that’s saying a lot because there are scenes in this movie so deeply sad and poignant you can hardly bear to keep your eyes on the screen. 

In some of the reviews of Manchester by the Sea  there is already Oscar buzz around the performance of star Casey Affleck. There’s no doubt that his portrayal of Lee Chandler is stellar. Affleck draws in the audience ever so slowly and surprisingly as Lee reveals his story.  But I hope the soundtrack for this movie gets nominated for an Academy Award too. It’s truly something special. 

Other posts……

Loving

Hacksaw Ridge

What’s the Best Way to Raise Children

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Filed under Movies, Music

A Little Shameless Family Promotion

If you are looking for some great entertainment in the next few days you need look no further than our family.
men-of-songTomorrow night the male choir my husband Dave sings in will be presenting an evening of wonderful music at Bethel Mennonite Church. Dave will be playing his harmonica for one of the numbers and I’ve been invited to be the narrator sharing personal family stories and readings from the Biblical narrative. It is the last performance by the choir with their current director the amazing Shirley Bestvater. She is retiring after tomorrow night and so the choir will be pulling out all the stops in her honor. You don’t want to miss it.
swingle-bellsThen on Sunday afternoon our talented daughter-in-law Alisa will be performing with the Winnipeg Singers at Westminster Church. They will be reviving the music from their very popular CD Swingle Bells. The choir along with our daughter-in-law traveled to Europe this summer where they were the first place winners in a prestigious international choir competition in Florence, Italy. We will be at their Sunday Christmas concert with bells on. Why don’t you join us?
am-i-not-kingLast night we attended the Winnipeg performance of Shakespeare’s Richard II called Am I Not King?  at the West End Cultural Centre. What a moving piece of musical theatre that was! You can read more about it here. And yes here is another shameless bit of family promotion…. our son Bucky and his band Royal Canoe are performing all the original music in this production. They are just terrific. The show runs till Sunday and you want to be sure to take in this unique production.

So there it is. The Driedger family is providing plenty of options for your entertainment pleasure this coming weekend. Hope to see you!

Other posts……..

Music to Soothe the Soul

Fun Evening in Toronto

The Daily Bonnet Just Made Us Famous

A Handel Meat Pie

 

 

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Music to Soothe the Soul

choir-programI always appreciate the Garden City Collegiate choir programs but the one on Thursday night was especially fine. So many of the song lyrics evoked a real sense of peace. Seeing all those beautiful young people enjoying their chance to sing and hearing them perform pieces of music with such meaningful texts was very inspiring. 

garden-city-choirThe lyrics of Eleanor Daley’s beautiful piece In Remembrance reminded me how blessed I am to be surrounded by people who love me and whom I love. It also made me think about how their influence can continue on in my life even after death. 

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am the thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight-ripened grain,
I am the gentle morning rain.

And when you wake in the morning’s hush,
I am the sweet uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die.

garden city choirThe lyrics of the piece Ubi Caritas by Ola Gjeilo reminded me that wherever and whenever people show love and care for one another God is present. 

Listening to the voices of three talented soloists soar on The Storm is Passing Over by C.A. Tindley was inspiring.  The words of this song evoke such a sense of hope. 

Courage, my soul, and let us journey on,
Tho’ the night is dark, it won’t be very long.
Thanks be to God, the morning light appears,
And the storm is passing over, Hallelujah!

choir-from-garden-cityI had to look up the lyrics to O Lux Beatissima. At the concert I just closed my eyes and reveled in the lovely sound of the music. Knowing the English translation of the words made the song even more meaningful. 

O light most blessed,

Fill the inmost heart
Of all thy faithful


Enkindle your light in our minds

Infuse your love into our hearts

img_3981My  gifted daughter-in-law is one of the teachers at Garden City and marveling at the beautiful sounds she and her colleagues elicted from hundreds of talented young people added to my sense of enjoyment and peace at the concert.  It was a great way to begin advent. 

Other posts………..

That’s How Light Gets In

How Diverse!

Flunky Jim and Gopher Tails with Grandpa

 

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A Christmas Carol Saved Our Lives- Christmas Question #1

For a Christmas party I hosted last week I had printed out holiday questions.  Guests took turns taking them out of the bag and answering them.  I thought it might be fun to write about my own responses to the questions and hopefully some of you will reply with yours.

Question #1

What is your favorite Christmas carol?

Singing Lo How A Rose with our family in 2002

Singing Lo How A Rose with our family in 2002 at my parents’ home

My favorite Christmas carol is Lo How a Rose e’er Blooming.  That carol may have saved our family’s life.  Our children came to Hong Kong to visit us for Christmas in 2004.  We planned to spend part of the kids’ time in Asia in Phuket, Thailand holidaying at a resort there.  Initially Dave booked us to fly out to Phuket on Christmas Eve.  We would check into our resort on Christmas Day and we planned a snorkeling excursion for the 26th.  When the pastor of our Hong Kong church heard our children were coming for Christmas he asked if our family would sing at an international carol service on the 24th in the evening.  We thought that would be a nice thing to do, so Dave moved all our bookings up a day, changing our flights to the 25th and our snorkeling trip to the 27th . That probably saved our lives since the tsunami struck on the 26th and we had initially planned to be out on the ocean snorkeling that day. Luckily the resort we checked into on the 25th was high on a cliff so we only felt some trembling from the tsunami and were safe. christmas singing tao fong shanThe carol we sang at our Hong Kong church Tao Fong Shan at the Christmas Eve service was Lo How a Rose e’er Blooming. We chose it because we had sung it together before.   We still sing it together every Christmas as a reminder of just how fortunate we were during the Christmas season of 2004 .

Other posts……

Christmas in Hong Kong

Christmas Carol Inspiration

The Nun’s Christmas

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