Category Archives: Music

I Don’t Want to Outlive the Trees

On Sunday afternoon I went to hear the boys choir my daughter-in-law conducts perform in a concert called Autumn Kaleidoscope. One of the pieces they sang was The Sun is Mine by Laura Hawley.  The words come from a poem by Robert Hogg and Robert Priest.  It is a lovely piece of poetry but it has a sad message.  Children are acknowledging their worry that the trees of the forest may die before they do. They are hoping the trees will go on for generations but they aren’t sure they will.  They sing, “I don’t want to outlive the trees.”

The song reminded me that in the last few weeks it has been teenagers and children who have been protesting and demanding our attention about the need for climate change in the world. We need to listen to their voices.

The Sun is Mine by Robert Hogg and Robert Priest

The sun is mine
and the trees are mine
the light breeze is mine
and the birds that inhabit the air are mine
their voices on the wind are in my ear
I am young and I want to live to be old
and I don’t want to outlive these trees – this forest

When my last song is gone
I want these same trees to be singing on – newer green songs
for generations to come
So let me be old, grow to be ancient
to come as an elder before these same temple-green sentinels
with my aged limbs
and still, know a wonder
that will outlast me.

Other posts………..

The Religion of Trees


Imitating Emily

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A Good Night At the Movies

It was quirky, funny, charming, a tad suspenseful and I thoroughly enjoyed the music. We saw the movie Yesterday on Sunday night with long-time friends. The premise of the movie is that during a 12-second worldwide power outage certain things are erased from the global memory including Harry Potter, cigarettes, Coke and………. The Beatles.

The movie’s hero is a struggling British singer/songwriter named Jack Malik whose music career is being managed by Ellie a school teacher who is his loyal and lovely best friend from childhood. Jack is hit by a bus during the global blackout and survives. He seems to be the only person in the world who remembers The Beatles. He uses their now unknown songs to become an international music star.

Lily James plays Ellie and Himesh Patel plays Jack in the movie

Yes, the whole thing is completely unrealistic but that didn’t stop me from being charmed by the love story at the film’s heart. I laughed out loud in lots of places especially during a scene where Jack is trying to sing Paul McCartney’s and John Lennon’s song Yesterday to his mother and father. I felt a strange affection for Jack’s down to earth parents and decidedly eccentric friends. I was a little on edge waiting to find out what would happen when Jack discovers a pair of music lovers who also remember The Beatles.  Will they blackmail him or expose him as a fraud? I loved hearing all the covers of well-known Beatles tunes.  My very favorite is when our hero sings Obladi Oblada with an auditorium full of kids.

Maybe I was just in the right mood, or with the right company, or the weather was right( it had been a balmy beautiful day) or it was the right occasion(we were celebrating our friends’ wedding anniversary) but whatever it was I had a delightful couple of entertaining hours in the theatre watching Yesterday. 

I looked later and although 40% of critics have panned the film 90% of viewers enjoyed it thoroughly just like I did.

Other posts……….

Crossing Abbey Road

The Fab Four Learning More

Words of Wisdom on a Wine Bottle

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Dad’s Treasures (Well Really Mom’s) – Part 3

One of the things my Dad and I found on his bookshelf during our downsizing efforts in his apartment was this old Mennonite Hymnal that belonged to my mother. My mother was a talented pianist and I don’t think I am exaggerating to say that in her lifetime she played for literally hundreds of funerals, weddings, church services and music performances starting when she was a young girl and she would accompany her parents when they sang duets in church. The cover and spine of my Mom’s hymnal were tattered and threadbare, a testament to its frequent use. On the flyleafs of the hymnal were long lists of hymns. Mom referred to these lists while playing a succession of pieces during preludes and postludes before and after weddings, funerals and church services and during the serving of communion.  Mom had an amazing musical ear and will have played most of these from memory. One of the hymns she has listed is In the Bulb There is A Flower. It was one of Mom’s very favorite hymns and we sang it at her funeral.  It talks about how nature teaches us there is new life just waiting to burst forth from seeds, cocoons, and bulbs and how in our own lives there is always the opportunity to explore, to hope, to believe in new and better things to come.   I used Mom’s hymnal this week as I was picking the songs for the worship service I will lead this coming Sunday morning and at the page, for In the Bulb There is a Flower I found a leaf with a beautiful pattern of veins, that Mom must have placed there to press at some point. It was a lovely reminder of my mother’s appreciation for the lessons nature has to teach us.  

In the bulb, there is a flower, in the seed an apple tree

In cocoons a hidden promise, butterflies will soon be free

In the cold and snow of winter, there’s a spring that waits to be

Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see. – by Natalie Sleeth

Other posts……..

Dad’s Treasures- Part 1

Dad’s Treasures- Part 2

God of Eve and God of Mary


Filed under Family, Music, Nature, Religion

Choir Connections

Last week I attended a wine tasting fundraising event to support my daughter-in-law who is a member of the Winnipeg Singers. It was held in a lovely backyard on a beautiful evening and besides the great wines included some delicious appetizers and first-class entertainment.  One of the unexpected pleasures of the evening was chatting with two women with whom I share choir connections. 

The Steinbach Treble Teens participate in A Mosiac of Music at the Centennial Concert Hall in April of 1970- I’m the very furthest to the right standing and leaning on the door and Brenda is just in front of me wearing glasses

Brenda and I used to sing in the Treble Teens together when we were in high school.  The  Treble Teens was a choir for young women based in Steinbach. We practiced weekly with our director Shirley Penner and did many performances throughout the year.  Brenda and I talked about all the positive things we had learned as members of the choir. We also caught up on our lives chatting about our careers and families.  I found out that Brenda had become a grandmother to a little girl just days before I had at the beginning of April.  

Our college chamber choir. I believe Lynette is second from the left in the first row. I am second from the left in the third row.

Lynette and I sang in the soprano section of a chamber choir together at what is now Canadian Mennonite University in 1972. We practiced several times a week with our director Henry Engbrecht and traveled to many different places to give performances. Lynette also sang at our wedding.  During our chat, Lynette and I caught up on our lives and families. She was just about to leave for Europe and would visit a college friend we both knew in England. I found out that Lynette had also become a grandmother to a little girl within days of when I had. 

instagram shot fundraiser winnipeg singers

Winnipeg Singers publicity photo of their fundraiser

I guess it maybe shouldn’t be strange that at a choir event I met two women I had sung in choirs with in the past. My conversations with them brought back some good memories and enriched an already lovely evening. 

Other posts……………………………

I Was A Treble Teen

See You At The Concert Hall

Doc Schroeder

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What Happens When A Woman Takes Power?

A trio of Quebec suffragettes who fought for 22 years to get women the right to vote in their province.

What happens when a woman takes power?

What happens when she won’t back down?

What happens when a woman takes power?

What happens? What happens? 

Last night I attended a choir concert at Garden City Collegiate. There was lots of terrific music on the program but one of the evening’s truly memorable moments for me was when the senior women’s choir conducted by my talented daughter-in-law formed an arc across the stage and sang in bold brave voices What Happens When A Woman Takes Power?

What happens when she rules her own body?

What happens when she sets the beat?

What happens when she bows to nobody?

What happens when she stands on her own two feet? 

The song was written by a Chicago women’s trio called Artemisia. You can hear them singing What Happens When A Woman Takes Power here.

Self- portrait by Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi

The singing trio Artemisia, whose members wrote and arranged What Happens When A Woman Takes Power are named after three strong women in history- a queen of ancient Greece who led her city state to a resounding naval victory- an Italian painter who was the first female member of Florence’s Academy of The Arts and a Greek goddess who was an accomplished hunter as well as an accomplished mid wife.

Jacinda Arden the Prime Minister of New Zealand and mother of a one year old daughter who led her country with love after a terrorist attack on a mosque

We rise above

We lead with love  

We have won  

We are one

We’ve just began

Seeing all those teenage women from Garden City Collegiate singing boldly about powerful women ,who lead with love, who don’t let men decide what happens to their bodies, and who don’t back down in the face of injustice was just so incredibly hope inspiring.  I dream of living long enough to see women serve in all the major positions of power in the world, leading with love and setting a progressive beat for our world!

Note:  You can check out another version of this powerful song sung by both men and women here. 

Other posts…………

Women Were Honored?  Think Again!

Proud of the New Words For Canada’s National Anthem

International Day of the Girl



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Waver – A New Album From Royal Canoe

My favorite Winnipeg band is celebrating the release of a new album called Waver this weekend at the West End Cultural Centre.  Although I’ve always been a big fan of Royal Canoe’s music their current album strikes a special chord with me.  As this feature by Ashley Hampson on the Exclaim website suggests, Waver can be viewed as Royal Canoe’s way of addressing the anxious political climate of the last several years.  The music helps listeners ultimately visualize the world as a more hopeful place. Three pieces on Waver inspire that kind of hope for me. Of course I have no idea what the talented Royal Canoe musicians were thinking when they wrote these songs, but good music evokes a meaning and message for each listener in a unique way.  Here’s what three of the songs say to me.

RAYZ which has already been released in a thought-provoking and moving video format describes people who are feeling lonely, confused and hopeless.  The song compares them to flowers growing higher and higher each day, reaching for the sun and longing to find some light to nurture them and let them flourish . “Pull me up Lord, I’m dying. Time to let the light in.”   

In 77-76, the lyrics describe a challenging scenario for our world- night is approaching, strong winds are blowing, a storm is coming, people are blinded. But we can persevere. We can refuse to be divided.  We can stay afloat, keep hanging on, stand up for what is right and call out to others. ” Oh we’re going to pull through.”

When I listen to Peep This I am encouraged to do what I can to be there for other people, my family, my friends and those in my community and world who need support. People may wear masks and disguises but we can get past those to truly see one another. “Don’t let me cry -Hold me up, hold me up- Look in my eyes- Stay by my side”

If you’d like to hear Royal Canoe perform their new album in person you can check them out at the West End Cultural Centre this weekend.  There will be shows tonight as well as on Saturday and Sunday. 

Other posts………

My Husband is Famous




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The Symphony Mexican Style

Yesterday we went to the grand and palatial Teatro Peon Contreras in Merida to hear a performance by the Yucatan Symphony. It was worth going just to see the gorgeous theatre built in 1907 with its huge promenadeinteresting ceiling detailsand grand marble staircases. We arrived a little early to soak up the beauty of our surroundings. We weren’t able to get tickets with my sister and her husband but they were seated directly across the hall from us in the third balcony, second loge from the right. The Yucatan Symphony Orchestra treated us to an overture by Brahms, a concerto for two violins by Malcolm Arnold and Schumann’s Symphony No. 4.  My favorite was the concerto which I thought could easily have served as the soundtrack for a scary movie. There was a guest conductor from Austin named Robert Carter.  I was struck by the  wide variety of ages in the symphony musicians and if their names in the program were any indication they were almost all of Spanish or Mexican origin. 

After the concert which started at 12 noon we went out for a late lunch and then my sister and I posed on the concert hall steps which by then were free of the crowds that had packed them before. 

We often attend performances of the Winnipeg Symphony in their concert hall which is just across the street from our home in Winnipeg.  It was interesting to go to the symphony in another country where the surroundings and audience members and musicians may have been different but the beauty and pleasure derived from good music was not. 

Other posts……….

Come From Away- A Musical For Our Time

An Artist’s Date For My Mom

Prague – A City of Music

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