Monday, May 30, 2011

Making the Most of the Three Day Weekend

Ok. I did Sam's grosso dishes. The ones he was supposed to do before he left for Montana. But -- and here's the big butt -- Bobo was supposed to help me make a music video since I did the dishes. MIII has been asking for more Bobo footage -- and I thought we'd get a cute little video together before he emailed home -- cause that's when he gets the chance to check out the ol' blog page.

But no. Just as I predicted, because Bobo was so joyous and helpful yesterday, there was nothing left but blah for today. So, because I am an adult -- and I have too much going on in my brain to ever get "bored",  I decided to try my hand at another song.

I did cheat a little, cause I went through my (not-emo) poem book and chose one of my poems that I like and that nobody else seems too. This little "never wins an award poem" is apparently more meaningful to me than to readers.

I keep trying to capture the time I had three little babies who were trying to tell me we were about to drive through a rainbow, and before I could finish telling them the science behind why we will never be able to drive through a rainbow, we drove through the rainbow. And, cool, it was all sparkly and stuff. (Oh, yes. A couple of my kids have been know-it-alls since they were toddlers. Luckily I don't need to be eaten by pandas before I believe them.)

I really had to rework the poem before it fit as a lyric. The original poem is as follows.

The Way a Rainbow Moves

                        The way a rainbow moves
                        From place to place,
                        More logic than magic
                        Light refracts into space.

                        Three kids in a car
                        Believe we can drive right through
                        A rainbow of light fragile, sparkling, and new.
                        A belief so innocent and pure that magic overcomes logic,

                        And we do.

Here is the video of the song. They lyrics and chords follow.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

JoJo Graduates!

Joseph (aka Jack) graduated high school tonight. He wore his pins and medals and an eagle feather. And he earned everything he wore.

He spent three wonderful years at Pine View High School wowing us with both his scientific and musical creations. (I now have a working catapult in my backyard -- thank you physics)

I think he surprised himself. This was not an easy road for him to travel.

And it was with a little sadness that we listened to the PVHS Band play "Pomp and Circumstance" without him. Guess what -- the band played on!

And now his steady second chair will finally get the chance to become first chair.

And we got one more chance to hear Joseph perform at a high school event.

As a side note, Reader MIII has indicated that he has already seen "bunches" of Joe and he would like to see more BoBo. I aim to please -- so here is a parting shot (or two)

Monday, May 23, 2011

What were you doing in the 7th Grade?

What were you doing in the 7th Grade. I may have looked like this. But I am more likely thinking "This is me in 9th Grade Baby" -- which is a great Bare Naked Ladies song (btw).

I could play the piano. Obviously, I could play the piano. I'm pretty sure I was playing the organ in church (under my mother's watchful -- very birdlike eye). But could I get up in front of the whole student body and sing -- just me and my little ukulele? I don't recall being that brave.

Bobo, on the other hand, is brave. She paints a smile on her face and nobody would ever think that she had worries or has nerves or doubts or lack of support. I sure hope she was singing this song to me -- cause I'd like to be her favorite -- her favorite mom!

Love you Bobo!

How to Write a Ukulele Tune

Yesterday, I posted a song I wrote. I've actually written dozens of songs -- or a dozen songs. But those were just lyrics. Desert Willow was the first lyric I put a tune to (that's not strictly true either) So it's the first song I've put a tune to that I share with others. But, assuredly, it is my first ukulele tune.

What differentiates a ukulele tune from a song that can be played on guitar or banjo or mandolin? Ukulele Tunes include the word "ukulele". Yep. That's the kind of people we ukulele-ists are. We like to sing the word "ukulele".

Sure, I've written serious songs. Take for example the songs Joe sang at his Native Graduate Dinner. I've included the pdf's of these songs for your reading pleasure.

Rocky Point3

Grandpa's Words

While both of these songs can be played on the ukulele. Neither, in fact is a ukulele song. A ukulele song incorporates the word "ukulele" into its lyrics, as demostrated by these two videos.

Well I've got to run now and see my own little doe-eyed baby sing and play her ukulele at the Fossil Ridge Intermediate School Talent Show. Hopefully, they'll be more video to come :) But just to get us in the mood, here is the song she'll be covering.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Putting my money where my mouth is

I didn't realize that I had a question from Reader Ver. She asked if I had any original songs. For Band Members reading this -- we could add this original song into our repertoire (if you want to). BoBo likes to sing it slower. As written it has a melodica part which is fun. I am including the PDF and a video for your consideration.

Desert Willow

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pop Culture - a stepping stone for expression

One of the interesting things I studied in college was the idea of "cultural memory". Each culture has an oral tradition that is passed on through the generations and impacts the context in which the following generations perceive events. For example, the Kennedy Assassination happened before I was old enough to be cognizant -- and yet I feel I partake of not only the loss of innocence that day, but the distrust of hope and prosperity.

Once upon a time, the oral tradition was geographically specific. It moved from person to person and from village to village with the population deciding what would be remembered and what would be shared -- but that was before technology made images and stories accessible to the world. Stories became mass media -- but the flow was controlled by distributors. Newspaper editors and motion picture standards boards decided what warranted remembrance and what deserved audience.

The internet, however, has placed distribution back in the hands of the populace. Once again any story can be shared. The only thing that remains the same is that these stories and events are building blocks -- shared cultural events -- that we as human beings use to cement relationships and expand upon in our own shared expression.

For those of you who haven't viewed Rebecca Black's YouTube video, I am providing a link here so you can fully appreciate the Pine View High School's performance of said piece. It also makes reference to a parody by Jimmy Fallon that can be found here.

On an interesting note, you can watch JoJo's face turn red as he plays this as he plays his clarinet. Apparently he usually plays his part on his Saxophone, but since he only had his clarinet on him, he had to transpose on the fly.

He was awarded Pine View's Instrumental Music Outstanding Student Award that day. He and his friend Cameron were also awarded the Louis Armstrong and John Phillip Sousa Awards -- meaning their names will be engraved on plaques that hang in the band room. It has been an awesome year for them. Cameron's grandmother remarked to me how lucky they are to have a band director who is so "bouncy" and lets the band also be "bouncy" -- but I am appreciative of even more than that. They have a band director who allows them opportunity. Thursday night's concert featured music arranged by and directed by students.

I know our family was excited to see JoJo's arrangement of The Troubadour come to fruition -- not just because we are so proud of him, but because we are so glad we won't have to listen to the hours and hours of his playing that song, playing along with that song, transcribing that song -- and then writing the arrangement.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Concert Season is Winding to a Close

I have two concerts left until the end of the school year (which is in a week). Joseph (aka Jack) has a band concert tomorrow -- which will be today in an hour. And Bobo (aka Tashiya) has a talent show on Monday. She will be singing a song and playing her ukulele -- I look forward to getting footage of that. (For those of you in the band -- No. She will NOT be wearing her steampunk goggles.)

End of year concerts are sad. I feel for the teachers. They've brought these kids soooo far. And then it's time to say goodbye and start all over again. The Pineview Orchestra has been outstanding this year. They are going on to compete at the State Level. (They play Salem, UT this Friday). I worry -- what will happen next year when all of the star seniors are gone. But then I remind myself it is time to let someone else shine.

Bobo loved the orchestra concert. Her favorite song was the Ping Pong song. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to record all of it -- but here's a taste (It's with the Middle School and High School combined orchestra)

Jojo (excuse me, Jack) got to play a clarinet concerto in the extended Saint-Saens stuff. It's always nice to see your kids featured, no matter the silliness. Although, I think if he's going to wear a tux, he should go by Joseph. Jack, Just tell your teachers, "I'm Joseph in a tux."

And then the redeeming finale to Saint-Saens ode to the animal kingdom, Carnival of the Animals. I know I've posted it before, but Joseph in a Tux totally nailed the clarinet solo. It is so cool to track the improvement of a school orchestra. Note how confident and assertive the violinists are. Majestic.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Holding Hands

When I was in elementary school, I had a very best friend. We had two things in common. Number one, we lived right next to each other; and number two, we both liked horses. Other than that we were fairly different. I found joy in practicing the piano and she found joy in running. She was fast -- she was the fastest kid at school. In a foot race, she could even beat the boys.

We walked home from school together, but a lot of the time she wanted to run. I told her I couldn't run. Even if I did run, I ran slow. One day she told me, take my hand and we'll run home together. I never ran so fast in all my life. It was as if she transferred all her powers to me through her hand.

Sometimes I think music is like that. I preach a lot that music is a skill, not a talent -- that anyone can develop a level of proficiency, if they want to. But that's not exactly the truth. That belief has two addendums. First, some people are blessed with a propensity. Some people have beautiful voices and some people have interesting voices while other people have mousey brown voices. Second, is the want clause. Not every one wants to develop a musical skill -- others are blessed with a burning desire.

The burning desire and the gifted propensity don't always coincide, but it can be magical when they do. For my part I am just grateful that I have friends who will grab my hand and pull me along at lightening speed.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Southwest Fretted Phillies

Yes, that's right. In my head I accidentally called the Southwest Fretted Philharmonic, the "Fretted Phillies" and I'm pretty sure it's because of this song.

Yeah, ok, Hurricane was fun. The audience was great and they even acted like they liked us :)

The only one who choked was me, so it's a good thing Becky has a cool head -- she pulled us through.

Jenna was in rare voice -- a total rock star.

Bobo and Tessa, our angelic sopranos, really came through for us. Especially on our Hymnal selections.

Bobo even threw in kazoo solo for us. Yep we totally psyched the listeners. They thought they were going to get some good ol' Woody Gutherie (not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Jitters + Bug = jitterbug?

Let's hope my jitters (plus whatever kind of head cold I've got going) will come out all jitterbuggy cause the jitterbug equals a real good time for the older generation. Tomorrow (Creator Willing) the Southwest Fretted Philharmonic will make its folk debut at an old folks home in the down and folky town of Hurricane, Utah.

Bobo made us a flyer so we can be a cool as the Black Eyed Susan
(not that this is a competition). 

Here's our 45 minute set

Count Your Blessings
Horsey, Horsey
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
16 Tons
Harvest Moon
When the World's on Fire
Didn't Leave Nobody but the Baby
Prickly Thorn, but Sweetly Worn
Nearer, My God, to Thee
Ring of Fire

Hey! It looks real good on paper :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Mother's Day Roller Coaster

What did you get for Mother's Day? I got Portal 2 (for the Playstation 3)  -- well not really, but kinda.

The unseasonal rain in Southern Utah reeked havoc on my yard -- because my yard is rocks. Apparently when the wind blows and and the autumn leaves fall, they can create a layer of fodder below the rocks and above the weed blocker tarp. My front yard had grown unsightly due to milk weed and dandylions, but it was nothing compared to the field of foxtails that sprung up in the back yard. I couldn't even see the rocks for the vegetation. It looked like a Kansas wheat field. After church one day, my youngest announced that my backyard was not wheat -- it was what his teacher referred to as "tares".

But how to motivate my boys to help weed something that could have been mowed if not for the landscaping rocks?

This is where music comes in. After watching the following video, I asked my boys why they didn't want the game "Portal 2'

They assured me they did. So a deal was struck. If we got the weeds taken care of, Judea would buy me Portal 2 for Mother's Day. So five Saturday morning hours and two trash bins and 10 garbage bags later, Judea sprung for Portal 2 and Pizza (bonus). Of course late that night Ben beat Portal 2.

Still it has hours of coop fun to offer -- and once the Playstation Network is back on line, the kids may be able to play online.

Of course working your kids to death and then letting them stay up all night to conquer a video game is not a good recipe for a happy and harmonious Mother's Day. But after a tense barbque'd lunch by Joe, everyone hunkered down for angry naps, and we woke to a call from Macy and a rescued Mother's Day.

I also had the best ol' lady band practice ever on Mother's Day. We went through all of the songs we intend to play at our first gig (this Thursday). It is great to see how far we have come and how many songs we actually have under our belt.

I hope everyone had a great Mother's Day!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Too Cool, or not Too Cool -- That is the Question.

Last night was the dinner celebrating the Washington County School District's Native American graduates. Of the 32 seniors that began the year, 20 completed the requirements necessary for graduation. That's a 2/3rds success rate. I guess it is higher than it has been before, I just can't help but think in this day and age it should be 100%. The seniors in attendance were amazing. It is always cool to see that much raw potential.

Our family was asked to provide the entertainment. It was an exciting opportunity for us as it was our first chance to sing powwow songs around a drum since -- well since our prior lives. We sang as Naji danced. We sang as Judea and Bobo danced. You will have to take my word for it as "Ben" is too "cool" to shoot video from a huge ol' iPad.

I am not cool, however, and so I was able to video tape Sam and Joe and Cameron singing Rocky Point.

Apparently, I am not the only one not concerned with what others think of me. Here are a couple of BoBo's self-portraits (that she took during the nicely catered event).

On the plus side, Joseph gave me a rose and told the audience how grateful he is for his mother. I guess motherhood has its perks. Happy Mother's Day everyone!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Who's Raising Who?

PhotobucketAs hard as I try to be a good mother, there are times when I am tired -- "pooped" (as Wanda would say). And I wanna stay home. maybe take a nap, read a book, or just curl up in front of a nice warm television. Photobucket Fortunately, raising a brood of musicians and performers has it's perks. I am forced to leave the house and live a little.


The last month of any semester is what I like to call concert season. I've only got four children left in public school. Next year I'll only have three. Still, this concert season did not disappoint. Photobucket

I truly love attending these activities. I am the kind of mom who tears up at performances -- tears of gratitude mostly. I am thankful for all the teachers and staff and public school volunteers who go the extra mile to give our students extraordinary experiences.

The Fossil Ridge Intermediate School put on a Fine Arts Night in which the orchestra, band and choir did a combined number!

and the Indian Parenting Action Committee hosted the Spring Powwow again this year and honored the graduating Seniors.

What can I say? It's a great year to be a Mom.