What a great afternoon! Although the clouds were billowing the rain held off and the street was FULL….full of love! We were the last band to play for the afternoon. We put together a band of people that had never all worked together before, had not rehearsed , but had enough talent to go with the flow and have fun! Phew. We called ourselves ” Rene and The Hopefuls ” because Rene Pierno has been volunteering at Hope Mission in this way for years and it was her gig. I was so glad to be a part of it ….especially when you could hear SO many people singing along with us to classic songs like ” Walking on Sunshine or Country Roads ” , etc. We had dancers too! The poor made the middle class feel rich . We all felt the blessings of community and the joy of music.
..to say that our beautiful daughter was married this weekend. So in between mixing my latest C.D. I was able to take the most wonderful break to drive to Canmore, Ab.,for another musical weekend. Emily is now married to Kurt Loewen, lead guitar player of TMO ( The Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra ) while Emma is their Sound Engineer. Music abounded at the wedding but my favourite part was the ” Love Song ” section after dinner and before the dance. The couple asked an eclectic group of people to sing love songs : everyone from a 91 year old Grandpa singing What a Wonderful World to the bridesmaids singing and playing the piano. We had fiddles, an accordion , guitars and even a harp. Music is truly the universal language !
What a wonderful place is Rosebud, Alberta. If you have never had the chance to experience it I suggest that you Google Maps your way there this summer for sure. When it was brought to my attention that the Rosebud Gallery was looking for Alberta Artists for a summer show I contacted Valerie Speer . What a talented and wonderful woman! Although they had already filled the requirement for the number of artists needed for the Gallery she suggested that I bring down some paintings ( with the ‘ Rosebud and area Theme’ ) for consideration in another building in town. This weekend we drove to Rosebud, had 6 of our paintings accepted for show and sale in the Box Office area and took in the excellent musical,Cotton Patch Gospel,that evening. We over nighted at the lovely Country Inn, shopped in town at the great artisan stores and then made our way over to Horseshoe Canyon and Drumheller. Although Rosebud is about 2 1/2 hours from Edmonton it is totally worth the hours to see the gorgeous scenery and to experience this town. We had a great weekend.
What a complete joy it is to create music with the help of talented artists….especially in my VERY OWN FAMILY! Last night my 3 sisters, Paula, Pamela and Mary along with my cousin , Lindsay joined me in a studio here in sunny( read : humid) WIndsor to sing beautiful back up harmonies for one of my songs . ( I only wish we had many many more days here to record more but time is fleeting here with visits to beloved family and old friends) . Lindsay played digital violins/strings and made 5 songs rise above the ordinary.
I can’t wait for you to hear my new 14 song C.D.. I ‘HOPE’ you will enjoy it!
Step by step I am having the joy of watching my new C.D. ” Hope Is ” take shape. My latest project was to bus down to Calgary to spend the best part of my Friday at The Station Recording Studio.
Spencer Cheyne had the studio prepared for the arrival of a bus load of grade 3,5 and 6’s that I had previously auditioned from Falconridge School. The children were SO excited and in fact one little girl told me that the night before she ” had cried because she was too excited “.
The children had been coached by their teacher, Ross Snashall, and my friend and recording artist, Marie Bridge, and because of this the children were in great form for their sessions.
We took them in groups of about 6 children at a time to sing my song, ‘ Close Your Eyes ‘ in the studio while the others had snacks in the lobby or drew/wrote on work sheets prepared about their experiences so far while they waited their turn. They were SO talented and so cute I must say. This was no professional choir but just normal children who had sung my song at their Christmas concert that year. Ross loved the song and I thought that if they knew it already (and I had envisioned children singing it anyway……)I was already ahead :)
It was so much fun to listen to their pure voices and to watch their excitement as they sang in a real studio! I can’t wait until we start mixing these songs ….but I will have to as I still have a beautiful cello player from Winnipeg to add and gorgeous strings from Ontario coming as well.
( I spent weeks putting together my very first try at a Grant Application and I could really use the financial help….FOUR studios…Yikes! ha ha)
Anyway, a BIG thank you to Falconridge School, Calgary , for their wonderful singers !
Friday night I am honoured to be able to sing for the folks at Hope Mission. There are 2 Easter Dinner sittings and I will be playing with some old friends….and some new friends! I have a dinner in a warm home or restaurant every night. It is good to remember that…..
Last night Terry Ropchan and my sister, Paula and myself sang for a nice crowd of about 50 people at the hospital.
I worried all weekend that I might have to cancel due to a wicked cold that took away my voice and left me with a nasty cough. But since our participation in this monthly concert/performance series had been booked for a month and recently confirmed I felt terrible about having to let folks down.
I did everything we singers know how to do from being quiet to drinking a ton of ‘throat coat’ . Last night I felt I might be able to get through the hour concert so I packed up our gear with Terry and away we went. Imagine my surprise to find out that Paula has the same cold!
We let the audience/patrons know about our situation ( they stayed back…ha ha) and we did our best to provide a nice sound for our set list. My voice somehow hung in there ( just a few high notes wanted to cut out) but no embarrassing coughing fit so I was happy.
The best part was that the folks ( patients, caregivers, relatives of the patients) seemed to truly enjoy the music and banter ….that’s what we volunteered for : to bring a bit of sunshine into an otherwise dark situation. It turned out to be a very warm reception and I am glad we were able to perform despite the colds. At least Terry was healthy! ( There was a lot of hand washing going on :)
What an incredible ( but exhausting !), thrilling , creative, blessing of a week this has turned out to be. I am just home and winding down from a very full week of working with some of Edmonton’s most talented musicians. I have decided to call my new C.D. ” Hope Is…” . Included are 14 of my original songs which have been made MUCH better by these talented folks ( who include Terry Bachynski, Paula Drew, Albert Felicitas, Thom Golub, Dean Pierno, John McNichol, Dominique Roy and Ray Sabourin) and they will soon be joined by other talented folks from Windsor , Montreal, Winnipeg and Calgary via sending tracks back and forth. This is turning out to be a much bigger endeavour than I planned but it is going to be an incredible project. I am very excited about including a children’s choir from Falconridge School in Calgary .
I am so thankful to God for the chance to try and create another beautiful C.D. . It is my hope that others will love it as much as I ( already!) do.