Posts tagged ‘music’

September 5, 2010

September Listography | Day Five


music that feeds my soul
Agnus Dei — I love Amy Grant’s version with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Hallelujahs by Chris Rice
Carried Me: The Worship Project by Jeremy Camp
December by Kenny Loggins
Vienna Boys Choir performing Christmas carols
the music of Enya
The Answer by Shane & Shane
How Great Thou Art — my grandmother’s favorite hymn
The Lord of the Rings soundtrack trilogy
Phantom of the Opera motion picture soundtrack
Longing (Abraham’s Song) by Travis Cottrell, from Beth Moore’s The Patriarchs
Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) by Chris Tomlin
Linda Eder singing standards and classics
Wicked: The Musical soundtrack

this particular topic was taken from List Your Self while My Listography was inspired by the site of the same name and by list-maker extraordinaire Andrea at hulaseventy


June 27, 2010

a celebration throughout OZ

June 6th was a day of firsts for the girl. Her first train ride into the city, the first visit to Hard Rock Café (for me, too!), and her first Broadway musical. I’ve been patiently waiting for Wicked to make its way to Dallas since first hearing the soundtrack almost 3 years ago, and when the show was finally announced for this summer I knew there could be no greater birthday gift for the girl. She has dreams of Broadway, herself, and I always want to encourage whatever she has in mind, so I couldn’t think of anything more memorable for her.
We headed into Dallas via the light rail and went straight to the Hard Rock for an early dinner. Kiwi and I share a love of music, and her familiarity with 80s rock could easily rival those of us who actually lived that decade. We spent more than half of our time exploring the memorabilia and the Rock Shop, taking photos and picking up gifts for family members, and then we took some time for dinner while watching music videos that played on the monitors around the room. It’s so much fun for me to hear this not-quite 16-year-old singing along with songs from my high school years and to name the bands before the titles pop up on screen. It’s like hanging out with an old school buddy, which is how it seems to feel, more and more, as she grows up. She’s matured into such an incredible young woman and, whether she believes it or not, she exudes a beauty and a confidence and a true zest for life that draws people to her. At dinner she chatted up the waitress about the many pins she had acquired in her time with the Hard Rock, and when our check arrived the waitress had written a little note to her. My intent for the entire evening was to make Kiwi believe every single moment was designed just for her, and this provided a wonderful beginning.
dinner and a birthday wish
I had the most divine barbecued chicken quesadillas with chili sauce and handmade salsa, and Kiwi chose the Twisted Mac and Cheese, loaded with bacon and chives and sprinkled with toasted breadcrumbs. I think I’ll have to try her dish on my next visit!     click image to enlarge
She knew nothing at all about Wicked — and I chose not to fill her in beyond the basic fact of it being a sort of prequel story to The Wizard of Oz — so the fun for me was in watching everything come alive before her eyes, watching each element of the story register with her in relation to the film that we know so well. She spoke very little throughout the entire production, and I don’t even remember much audible laughter, though I do know that she found it very funny, just like the rest of the audience. But she didn’t say much. And after a while I began to see that she was simply letting the entire experience wash over her. She was taking every detail to heart and soaking it up. This we shared, as my emotional attachment to this musical runs very, very deep, as well. When the production ended and I looked at her for a final analysis, all she said was, “I don’t know why, but I can see myself doing that one day.” And that was the entire reason I wanted to give her this gift.

'Wicked' curtain scene from 'Wicked'
There are no photos allowed inside the Music Hall, so naturally I tried to sneak a couple. I mean, seriously… I’ve been aching to see this production for years. Of course I tried to document it! I managed to get a semi-decent shot before the curtain was raised during the overture, and then I attempted one more during the final duet of the show’s main characters. Those in the know will recognize the blue dress of G(a)linda the Good and the green visage of Elphaba, “Wicked Witch” of the West. Had I not been trying to conceal the camera so stealthily it might have actually taken focus and left me with a truly beautiful shot. Alas, this is the best I could do without risking eviction from the theatre. I still love the visual, though, and have a great memory of being sneaky and trying not to embarass the girl.
a night at 'Wicked'
I really wanted to get a photo of us next to a poster for the show, a singular visual of the night. Kiwi offered to take one of me.
a night at 'Wicked
And a young couple offered to take one of the both of us in exchange for reciprocation with their own camera. (I’m afraid we all failed each other miserably with blurry snaps.)

By the time we reached this point of the evening, she was ready for me to put my camera away. Note the forced smile that says, “Can this be the last photo, please?” Ha!
a night at 'Wicked'
clockwise from top left: Bonnie Raitt, Bon Jovi, The Beatles, Madonna, Elton John, Keith Richards, Bryan Ferry, The Smithereens, The B-52s, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Blondie, Willie Nelson, and Pantera.
The exhibit from The Beatles is actually a note written by George Harrison:
Dear Christine, Thanks for your letter. I’m sorry to hear that you lost your book at [unreadable] Park. I hope this may make up for it a little. The other autograph is for your friend. Love and best wishes from George Harrison xxx
Alongside the note is a piece of paper autographed by all four members of the band, beginning with an inscription from Harrison that says: To Christine     Love from Les Beatles
DART station
It seems that all of my trips to the downtown area somehow take me to the West End. Not that I’m complaining!
watching the city go by
She debated all day whether she would be happy living in the city. And then she decided.
House of Blues
We decided our next trip would include the House of Blues, and then I learned that this does not actually belong to that establishment. Doesn’t change our minds though!
Apparently, I have a sixth sense for planning trips on the weekend of comics and animé conventions. Remember last year? Kiwi saw a few costumed participants walking the downtown sidewalks before I noticed anyone, and when she began describing girls with pink wigs and boys with samurai swords I knew exactly what we were headed into. I tried to take a few inconspicuous photos from our train stop but finally decided that anyone who was walking around in an elaborate costume probably wouldn’t mind posing for photos. These girls were really awesome!
souvenirs   souvenirs
I’m a sucker for souvenirs and the ones I chose this night were just perfect for me! A bright, shiny thing (hi Mom!) and a new addition for my accidental collection. They make me smile every time I notice them! The nifty little coin purse was actually a sweet find. I’ve been searching for something like this with just enough space for a driver’s license and debit card plus a ring for a couple of keys — something I could carry in a pocket and eliminate the need to carry my 20-lb purse on long days of shopping or fun. That this little guy has a cute fleur-de-lis charm just made it all the more cool.
Kiwi found more souvenirs at Hard Rock Café than at the show, but what she found was truly cool. We also made sure the older boys got a little something, as well. The pictures are dark but if you look closely you’ll see a keyring with a spinning guitar (for the newest driver among us) and a metal guitar pick on a chain (for Kiwi’s brother). Thankfully, both went over very well.
souvenirs  souvenirs
And I picked up the coolest little stuffed bear for the last boy, in honor of his recent fashion decision to begin sporting a faux-hawk, but by far, the best souvenir of the evening came as an afterthought. Kiwi got herself a flying monkey. We both agreed that those monkeys were terrifying to us as children when watching the original film, but the stage show changed all perceptions. We have an empathy we never expected, and… honestly, isn’t this guy the most adorable little thing? My only regret is not picking one up for myself!

As usual, I found beauty and art at every turn. From the super-cool fixtures at the Hard Rock and incredible chandelier at the Music Hall to a city apartment with a balcony that spoke to me at an almost primal level. From the extravagant to beautiful simplicity. I have as much fun dreaming of living downtown as I do experiencing the activities of the day.
city balcony
Dallas Music Hall
Our day was everything I’d hoped it would be and more. My happiness came from fulfilling a dream to see Wicked, but the joy was found in sharing the experience with the girl, celebrating her upcoming birthday, and seeing the world through her eyes. These are the moments I treasure the most. Happy 16th, Kiwi Chelle!

June 5, 2010


Today I’m unplugging, as much as I ever unplug, in order to spend the day with my niece in celebration of her upcoming 16th birthday. For me, this is an event I’ve been longing to attend for several years. For Kiwi, it will be her first introduction to the untold story of Oz. She’s gonna love it! And that’s worth every penny.

December 6, 2009

the music

My Christmas Experience relies heavily on the music of the season. For years I have chosen one new Christmas album to purchase for my collection, and each year I look for exactly the right one to signify that particular year and reflect that year’s interests. As such, the genres are eclectic, like my taste in music, and previous years’ purchases have included Contemporary Christian, Worship, Pop, R&B, Broadway performers, and many, many compilation CDs featuring various artists. My happiness comes from pulling out my library and revisiting those moments in my life. As with practically everything related to me, all the albums have memories attached. And though some of the music has become dated, you will find me smiling constantly while the music plays. The albums are reflective of my life and my journey, so listening to the songs is truly nostalgic. And adding a new CD to the collection each year is one of my greatest Christmas joys.
The collection shown below lists my all-time favorites. These are the CDs that I play first and most throughout the season. The Amy Grant CD is actually a compilation that I put together years ago from her first three Christmas albums, with a little John Tesh thrown into the mix. It was inspired by Grant’s Christmas concerts with the Nashville Symphony, which I saw on television one year. This compilation remains in my top 3 favorites for the holidays. No matter what else Amy Grant has done, it is her Christmas music that I love the most. And by combining the best tracks into one list, I created for myself an imaginary concert for my own enjoyment. Very few CDs rival this in my affections.
Christmas favorites

Michael W. Smith – Christmastime / Amy Grant collection / Vince Guaraldi Trio – A Charlie Brown Christmas / Diana Krall – Christmas Songs / Christina Aguilera – My Kind of Christmas / Kenny Loggins – December / Sarah McLachlan – Wintersong / James Taylor – A Christmas Album / Linda Eder – Christmas Stays the Same / SheDAISY – Brand New Year / Mariah Carey – Merry Christmas / MercyME – The Christmas Sessions

For this year’s selections I have chosen two albums and a single track as my new additions. You’ll notice that they are very reflective of my taste in music during 2009. The Sugarland CD represents my country music phase, while the remake of Wham’s “Last Christmas” was an absolute must to mark this year of GLEE. And Chris Tomlin just couldn’t be passed up, as his music is the epitome of worship.
Gold and Green by Sugarland   Glory in the Highest by Chris Tomlin   Last Christmas by the cast of GLEE
Along with all of my CDs, I have collected a library of single tracks by various artists that I’ve loved at one time or another. There are also some classics mixed in and some that were simply free downloads I chose to try out. I love that I can now shuffle up these tracks every day and hear them in a different order on the iPod, allowing each song to feel new. Do I have an all-time favorite Christmas song? This very question was asked by my cousin Patti Lacy on her blog. My answer reiterated some of what I’m writing here: As a child I never realized the importance of the Christmas season to my overall well-being, but as I’ve become older I can pinpoint the exact moments that my heart begins to swell and my spirit soars — the first glimpse of a street lined with lighted homes and the playing of Christmas music. I’m in agreement that none of it should happen before Thanksgiving, if only for preserving the anticipation that the holidays incite, but once December arrives I am ready to fully engage in Tinseltown.
My favorite carols as a child were often those fun little jingles attached to any number of stop-motion television specials (Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Rudolph, The Year Without a Santa Claus). But as I came to understand the depth of celebrating our Savior’s birth, I have come to love the classic hymns just as deeply. My favorite traditional carols are probably “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and “Joy to the World,” although I’m much more partial to modern tunes. Michael W. Smith’s “Christmastime” evokes all my favorite emotions, and Amy Grant’s “Breath of Heaven” is a particular favorite that puts me into Mary’s mind in a way I could never imagine. I love MercyME’s original “Gloria” and can never get enough of Kenny Loggins’s CD December. But above all others, my sentimental favorite came from the unique pairing of Bing Crosby and David Bowie. My holidays are not complete until I listen to Peace on Earth / Little Drummer Boy. In my mind, there was never anything greater.

I can also add to those titles the song Do They Know It’s Christmas?, which was recorded by all of my favorite artists in 1984 under the moniker Band Aid. It was a recording made to benefit efforts to provide food to the starving children of Ethiopia, which had only just been reported through news media around the world. The song is still powerful, even today, and hearing the voices of those artists I loved as a teenager immediately brings me back to the first time I saw the music video. I never tire of hearing the song, and I’m still thankful for the efforts of Bob Geldof in bringing the project to fruition. This was my first true understanding of what the world was like outside my small town, and to say that it shaped my thinking is an understatement. Seeing celebrities come together to raise money for an African country was so unusual and so new at the time. And watching it, then reading stories of Africa, changed my heart forever. And at Christmas, that’s the emotion I always want to feel.
click image to enlarge my Christmas playlist
Christmas favorites

Documenting the days of Christmas was inspired by Ali Edwards’s December Daily project and the Holidays in Hand class by Jessica Sprague.

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