Sunday, November 2, 2008

circular thinking... or how I came to hate the bomb...

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“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

~ Albert Einstein
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I spent an evening last week listening to young voices. Voices singing in harmony... and my daughter was one of those voices as Willamette HS hosted the 2008 Metropolitan Choral Festival on Tuesday, October 28th.



What a treat. I had forgotten the power singing presented in the form of choir...

I had the rare opportunity when I was going to college to travel with the Allan Hancock College Acapella Choir on a tour that took us from Central California to British Columbia with stops at high schools, state capitol buildings and churches throughout California, Oregon, Washington and ending up in Vancouver, BC. My musical experience up until that time had centered around popular music. Rock and Roll. I was after all a child of the '60s.

But that trip (I travelled as the group's photographer, documenting their performances and life on a long bus trip) opened my eyes to worlds I never knew existed. But it was the choir that blew my mind. I had never had music bring me to tears. And some nights those voices were so in tune, so vibrant and emotionally poignant that tears came, drawn out only by the magic that such harmonious vibrations can create. Surely our voices were our first music, our first expression and sensing of the harmony of life, the vibrations that all of life is tuned to...

Both my kids are into music, my daughter Robin plays piano and my son Alex plays guitar and electric bass.

But I didn't know Robin had kept at her singing. She always sang as a litle girl, a sweet lilting sing-song that was, I believe, her joy bubbling out... raised as she was her first 2 years in some of Oregon's most beautiful landscapes, surrounded by people who loved her. That and she was born under a full moon, along a river that was that morning covered in mist, surrounded by her aunties and then taken and raised in seclusion in the beauty of Opal Creek's rainforest by cranky miners. So when she and her piano moved back in to my house I found out she was playing piano and singing. And I found she has a beautiful, husky voice that can hold a tune and stay in pitch. And this... she has done all on her own. Her only voice training coming when she sang last year with the Cleveland HS (in Portland, OR) choir (where she had a couple of solos that went well, according to an objective observer, her mother).

So I was forced by the sheer weight of parental duty to attend this concert of area high school choirs (Junction City HS, Creswell HS, Pleasant Hill HS, Sheldon HS, Thurston HS, Churchhill HS, South Eugene HS, Springfield HS and two songs with Mass Choir).





It was my pleasure to be there and a thanks to WHS choir director Mike McCornack, the kids in the WHS choir (and all the other HS as well!) and to the local Kiwanis and the Springfield Utility Board (SUB) for their sponsoring of this event.

The Mass choir (the evening's last two songs) was conducted by Dr. Wallace Long, the Director of Choral Activities at Willamette University (in Salem):



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Only 3 days left to cancel the election!

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And speaking of voices...

Studs Terkel's will no longer be with us. A writer for the reg'lar folks, I was introduced to Studs back in college. RIP Studs...




“Perhaps it is this specter that most haunts working men and women: the planned obsolescence of people that is of a piece with the planned obsolescence of the things they make. Or sell.”

~ Studs Terkel

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