Saturday, December 24, 2011

Magical Moment 600, "Last Minute Christmas"

Stockings designed and handmade by my mother for Eddie and I. Too cute, right?

With a recent move to a new apartment, and about a million other things happening simultaneously, our box of Christmas decorations got taken to the dark, creepy basement without our realizing it. After a few weeks of unpacking, and only days until Christmas, Eddie and I made an executive Christmas decorations this year. I knew that was the easy solution, but as Christmas grew closer, I wondered if I could squeeze in the time to search through the junky basement and bring it upstairs. Finally, I let the idea go.

When I arrived home from work the other night, Eddie had retrieved the box and filled our apartment with our familiar decorations! He even concocted a Christmas tree from a large potted plant he picked up at Home Depot! It's (finally) beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Allow Eddie and I to serenade you...we recorded this simple tune a few Christmases ago. I'm singing and playing guitar and that's Eddie on the harmonica! :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Magical Moment 599, "A Nice Thing Happened At Work..."

I feel pretty confident in saying this...without youtube, I wouldn't be able to make a living as a pianist. For any job, I'm given sheet music to learn within a certain amount of time. As a ballet accompanist, often these come from famous ballets like Sleeping Beauty and Raymonda. Other times, people request specific songs for their wedding or special occasion. I'm able to simply type in the title of the song in the search box, and up pops link after link to any and all versions ever recorded of the song in question. Playing primarily by ear, all those tricky rhythms I can't figure out from the sheet music make perfect sense when I hear it. I cringe to think how much money I would be spending if I had to pay for each song I needed to listen to, or worse, live in the days when we had to BUY a whole CD for 1 song! Oh, was I ever that young?!

Just as easy and effortless, I can then open up a new tab, and search for the chords of a song. About 90% of the work has been done for me by the folks living Cyber World! Long gone are the days when I had to strain my ears, discerning intervals, tones, and chords. But something happened last night that made me miss doing all that work, and thankful that I have the capability in the first place.

I was playing my usual repertoire of standards and favorites at my weekly restaurant gig at The Bernards Inn. I watched a waitress walk from a nearby table of patrons towards my seat at the piano with a small note in her hand. I knew right away it was a song request. As she handed me the piece of paper, I braced myself, hoping I knew the song and would be able to play it for the guest. There is nothing worse than having to say, "I'm sorry I don't know that one!" Goodbye tip!!!

Sure enough, when I read the song title, my heart sank. "Music Box Dancer." I gave a puzzled look to the waitress who handed me the note, "Do you think he meant, "Tiny Dancer?" I asked hopefully. She shook her head and said she really didn't think so. I walked over to the table and gave my apologies and explained I wasn't familiar with the song. Feeling crummy, I decided to take a little break.

Being the proud new owner of a smart phone (not a brilliant phone, but smart enough), I thought I'd google the song, still skeptical that he meant "Tiny Dancer," and that "Music Box Dancer" wasn't a real song. But sure enough, there it was, written by Frank Mills. Curious, I decided to see if I happened to have the youtube application downloaded on my phone. Pleasantly surprised, I did! And I listened to the whole song with the phone pressed against my ear.

I was thrilled to discover the song was a simple melody, and only 3 chords, repeated over and over. I quickly drilled the pattern into my head and went back to the piano. I began quietly and unsure, but soon, the man who requested the song whipped around in his chair with a huge smile on his face when he recognized the piece. After I finished, he came over to thank me and said, "I thought you didn't know it!" I explained the miracle of youtube on my phone and he was fascinated. I didn't want to let him down by explaining the simple nature of the 3 chord song, so I kept that my little secret. :)

There is no better feeling for a musician than playing a song for someone that they want to hear, that affects them in some way, brings back a memory, or simply makes them smile. And certainly no tip that replace that feeling!

"Music Box Dancer" Frank Mills

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Magical Moment 598, "Show Mumumust Go Onnnn"

That's what I was thinking to myself as I sat in 35F degree weather, fighting off blustery winds. Yes, even my thoughts were stuttering from the cold. The gig was to accompany a singing group of harmonizing ladies as they serenaded the Philadelphia Christmas Village with sweet Christmas music. 

Eddie snapped this photo, as he himself froze in the audience. He bought me a cup of hot chocolate, hoping I could wrap my bare, piano playing fingers around it and feel warmth for a moment. But the "hot" chocolate lasted only a sip or 2 before it too succumbed to the cold air. The picture turned out so funny, I had to share. The only thing missing in the photo, is the violent shuddering of my shoulders!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Magical Moment 597, "A Website for Sore-Eyes"

I have to apologize to my readers for being out of the loop for a bit. But I promise I have a good reason! For the last few weeks, I've been working hard with Modern Vintage to put the final touches on my album and launch a PR campaign. I'm very excited, proud, and relieved to say that today is the beginning of that launch, starting with my brand new website! The Outlet Music did an outstanding job designing the page, and Mary Hubbard is responsible for all the amazing photography (to include the photos you see in my blog header!).

My album, "Silk in the Sky," is set to be released April 10th, 2012. Until then, you can hear a few samples on the new website. Please take a moment to glance at it, and if you feel led, you can "like" it on facebook by clicking the facebook icon just above the music samples on the lower right.

I'm so proud of this website, and so proud of the album. I can't wait for you to hear it in it's entirety! And I'm beyond grateful to everyone who has worked on this project, from the musicians, to the audio engineers and producers, and everyone at Modern Vintage and the Outlet. So without further delay, here is the link to the new website....

"A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work."
-Colin Powell

Everyone, have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Magical Moment 596, "Hand Holding"

The sign in front of the modest, industrial looking building said, "Livingston Rehabilitation and Care." I read it from the drivers seat of my car as I waited for the light to turn green. There was a row of handicap accessible vans lined up in the parking lot, and about a dozen patients waited to board them. They all sat in wheel chairs, while a handful of employees scrambled to organize the transport. 

My eyes were drawn to 2 patients, a man and a woman, adorned in typical hospital attire. He was a few feet in front of her, and when he turned his head around and saw her, he reached back his hand. I watched as she began cranking the large wheels on her chair. I glanced at the light, hoping it was still red. She drew closer to him, releasing a wheel and stretching out her arm.

The light at the cross intersection turned yellow, then red. I watched the couple with eagerness. "Oh please let me see it," I said out loud to no one. But my light turned green, and I was forced to press the gas pedal. As I drove away, I looked in the rear view mirror just in time. She had closed the distance. And they waited to board the vans, hand in hand.