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Showing posts from November 7, 2010

Magical Moment 282, "A Dose of Song"

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived at the orthopedic wing of a New York City hospital. I volunteered, with an organization called Sing for Hope, to spend about 2 hours going from hospital room to hospital room, serenading patients. Two other girls volunteered as well, and we took turns choosing a song to sing to an audience of one.
We were told that the average age for the orthopedic wing was about 65 or older…my specialty as it happens, from years of playing for retirement communities and nursing homes. I brought my guitar so I wouldn’t have to drag a keyboard around and found that most patients were extremely pleased with the impromptu concert. Some clapped along, some dozed off, but most simply smiled with sincere appreciation and delight. I prepared titles such as “Pennies from Heaven,” “Tennessee Waltz,” and “Walkin After Midnight.” But I saved the best song until I found that one person who would appreciate and love it the most. And soon I found her.
She was an older, fr…

Magical Moment 281, "The Double Bass!"

We recorded something double special for a few songs on my album with Modern Vintage Recordings. Not just an electric bass, but the double bass. That acoustically wonderful instrument was just what we needed for about 5 of my tracks. Good double bass players are hard to come by, but we got lucky with musician, Chris Morrison and his expertise. He played each song without ever having heard them before and managed to read through my scribbled, unorganized lead sheets with style.

From the first pluck of those thick, deep strings, I knew we had the right sound. I was thrilled at the end of the session and still can't believe how well everything is coming together. Here is a short video of the session. no attention to the voice singing or piano playing, as those sessions are still far ahead! But please enjoy the video!

"Dimples and Brown Eyes" and "Mary's Lullaby" written by Elizabeth Grimes, Copyright 2009

Here are my blogs in order, as I chronic…

Magical Moment 280, "The Eleventh Hour"

The Veterans Day Parade, NYC
On July 29, 2001, five exceptional men were honored by the President of the United States for their remarkable military service. They were involved in a top secret mission that required unfathomable intelligence and as a result, literally won a battle which was instrumental in winning the war. Not the war that was happening in 2001, not even the Gulf War. It was World War II, and they were the Navajo Code Talkers who were largely responsible for winning the bloody battle of Okinawa. The only problem with the ceremony was that just 5 remained of the original 29. Our country was too late in thanking the other 24, and nearly too late in thanking those 5 men.

On March 10, 2010, three hundred women won the Congressional Gold medal for their outstanding war service. Unfortunately, 800 received the award posthumously. These were the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) of World War II, who devoted themselves to flying military aircraft like the B-26 and B-29 Bomber…

Magical Moment 279, "Où Sont les Bananes?"

They say the best way to learn a new language is to be completely submerged in the culture. Be forced to hear and speak only that language. And before you know it, you'll be asking where the bananas are in that foreign tongue!
I was shocked to learn this is true for the world of ballet as well. After almost 2 months of playing for ballet rehearsals, I'm finally catching on to what in the world they're talking about. As an accompanist, I have to pay very close attention to the words (mostly French) and demonstrations of the instructor in order to choose an appropriate song to play for the combination. There have been several times when I've played an introduction and the instructor stopped me, "Nope, wrong kind of rhythm for tendu..."
Yesterday, I walked down the hall to my living room and suddenly had the urge jump up onto one tip-toe with my arms rounded in front of me and finger tips touching. Eddie looked up from the computer, puzzled at the abrupt motion. I…

Magical Moment 278, "That's All"

I love to write. I love to creatively put together words that tell a story or describe a vivid moment in time. Today as I practiced guitar (something I rarely do), I came across this old song and it made me so happy I wanted to share it. There are no words for me to come up with or type, only music. That's All.

Written by Bob Haymes and Alan E. Brandt

Magical Moment 277, "Play it by Ear"

There is a small theatre in lower Manhattan with all the charm and character of a dying breed of New York City theatres. The 13th Street Repertory Company was founded 38 years ago by Edith O’Hara and has remained a firm off-off Broadway venue through its constantly changing and updating surroundings. These small, underfunded theatres are where future Broadway plays are born. Now 94 years old, Edith O’Hara proudly continues to run plays and musicals in her theatre.
I’m proud to be a pianist in a new, old musical called “Touch.” It ran years ago under the same director and is making its second debut in January. The director explained to me that there is no sheet music, no lead sheets, just an old recording of the 14 songs. I would have to come up with all the music 100% by ear.
I play by ear, but the internet has made me lazy. It’s too easy to google chord charts and lead sheets for nearly every song fathomable, saving time and work. However, that’s impossible with this musical. Today I s…

Magical Moment 276, "An American Girl"

When I was a little girl, the only thing I wanted for my 10th birthday was Samantha, the American Girl doll. Back then, the dolls were relatively new and all the rage for girls my age. The only problem was, they were $80 each and that was more than I could possibly hope for in our middle class family. So I saved all my birthday money that year, $40, and my mom agreed to pay the other half for the doll. Finally, Samantha arrived in the mail and I remember brushing her silky dark hair and dressing her up in white pinafore dress with all the excitement and delight that a young girl could possibly possess.  
Today as I dusted my house, I thought about the few childhood knick knacks, books, clothes, and stuffed animals that have made it with me through 3 out of state moves, and a severe space down grade from a 4 bedroom house with attic and garage, to a 2 bedroom apartment with barely a front closet.  Samantha was one of the lucky few that made it all this way. 
She actually sits in my music…