Something That Has Nothing To Do With Me

A pop star profile by Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog

What comes to mind when I say “rock star” or “pop star?”  Do you think of your favorite singers?  Do you hear their music in your head?  Can you sing along with their songs?  Have you gone to their concerts?  What if I was to say that I am not talking about stars of the past, just stars of today?  Now who do you think of?

Perhaps Justin Bieber and all the little “beliebers” come to mind.  Perhaps you think of Miley Cyrus and the strange antics that have surrounded her recent career.  Lady Gaga with all of her wild outfits might be the next image in your head.  There are plenty of stars that stand out as much for their behavior or arrests as they do for their music.

So what about qualities?  Humanitarian efforts are probably not among the list.  Self promotion might be at the top.  Self gratification might seem like a top quality of many.  Don’t you wonder how the underage Bieber takes his entourage to a night club and then gets drunk?  Who finds it OK to condone the drinking, drag racing and egg throwing?

Don’t get me wrong, I think there are plenty of good new rock and pop performers out there trying to do their best without making fools of themselves.  So what do you do when you get near the top?  Perhaps you put out You Tube “vlogs.”  Maybe you get a Tumblr, Twitter and facebook account.  You can do lots of radio interviews and public appearances.  If you’re a young guy, you can even date Taylor Swift.  She likes young guys.  Or you can stun the public and do something totally different.

As a teenager, David Archuleta made a name for himself on Season Seven of American Idol.  His pleasant personality and angelic voice captured the imagination of the viewers and the final episode went down to the battle of the two Davids, with David Cook.  While the more versatile rocker David Cook seemed the odds on favorite in the final weeks, the cute teenager from Utah was quietly impressing everyone, including the not easily impressed Simon Cowell.

If you watched the above, you saw the entire panel praise Archuleta, with Cowell saying after this performance, “You’re the one to beat.”  In the final night of singing, reviewers would tell you Archuleta was clearly the better performer.  The public, however, went with the rocker who showed great musical skills and was the best on many of the shows.  Archuleta received 44 percent of the over 97 million votes cast (an Idol record).  It was an emotional ending with Cook grabbing Archuleta and keeping him in the spotlight.  It was an Idol finish at its best.

From there Archuleta went on to make records, go on tours, make public appearances. He appeared on a PBS Christmas special, made a separate Christmas album and built a fan base like many other young stars.  He filmed a mini series in the Philippines and recorded traditional songs.  Then one night he told a sold out performance in Salt Lake City, “I would like to make a special announcement: that I have chosen to serve a full-time mission.”  It was not going to be one where he would be doing photo ops and promotional work.  He was going to really do missionary work.  So he left for Chile.

As you can imagine, it was a bit of a conflict for the popular young member of the Mormon Church.  Of course, he was encouraged to stay.  He was told he was doing a lot of good here.  He had a very positive public imagine.  His appearance with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s Christmas show was very successful.  They had more ticket requests than ever before.  He could travel the world giving performances.  Indeed he made many international appearances.  It was not enough.

“I needed to do something that has nothing to do with me,” he later explained.  While his fans (Archie’s Army) and website released whatever they could, David was doing what he wanted to do.  Occasionally, a video of David would pop up on his You Tube channel, not much more than David saying Merry Christmas or some other greeting.  Meanwhile, he walked the dusty back roads of San Vincente, praying, studying and helping strangers.  It was not the life of a pop star.

David returned home recently after two years away.  He feels blessed to have helped others.  He visited, he preached and he sang, feeling more comfortable in song than in his Spanish language skills.  He learned more about life than any pop star on tour will ever know.  When you think of pop star qualities, you would not typically think of those his vocal coach used to describe David: “purity and wholesomeness.”

“I would like to make a special announcement: that I’ve chosen to serve a full-time mission.”
Read more at http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=29350800#PH7yhsmMhFHxAfyJ.99
“I would like to make a special announcement: that I’ve chosen to serve a full-time mission.”
Read more at http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=29350800#PH7yhsmMhFHxAfyJ.99
“I would like to make a special announcement: that I’ve chosen to serve a full-time mission.”
Read more at http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=29350800#PH7yhsmMhFHxAfyJ.99

 

 

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HANGING WITH RINGO AND THE GUYS

72-Beatles-Imperial_02This was the sound of my youth. Now, The Beatles are elevator music, Paul McCartney’s first band. It’s a bit alarming to hear the rebellious music of on’s young years called “oldies” and “classics.” Age is irrelevant. It’s great music.

Hey Jude

This is a remix of “Here Comes the Sun.” I don’t usually like remixes, but this is not bad.

Help!

Obladi, Oblada (Life Goes On)

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AUTUMN RIVER REFLECTIONS NEAR A BRIDGE

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DANCING PAINTED PONIES

Daily Prompt: Let’s Dance

by Krista on February 27, 2014

Photographers, artists, poets: show us MOVEMENT … in this case, the dance of the wooden horses on the carousel. The winter carousel, with all the riders, of all ages, bundled up against the cold yet going up and down to the sound of the calliope.

The Circle Game, Joni Mitchell

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MUSIC BB (BEFORE BEATLES)

72-Beatles-Imperial_02

Once upon a time, music was very different. The Beatles hadn’t played yet. We hadn’t heard them. Sure, there was rock and roll … but not like now. Not like it became after the Beatles. They made sounds we’d never heard before, not anywhere.  Maybe sounds that had never even existed on earth.

They didn’t only play instruments and sing. They played a recording studio. They literally introduced completely new sounds, mixing guitar, Dobro, drums, vocals, synthesizers to change music forever.

Younger generations … even my son’s generation, the Gen Xers … they were born after it all changed. They don’t get it, that before the Beatles, music was different. The world was very different.

Music was much more important to us … me, my friends, my whole generation … than music is now. We lived and died with the music we loved. Maybe you had to be there.

The Beatles changed our music and music changed our world.  And we, my generation — we changed everything.

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I’VE GOT MY LOVE TO KEEP ME WARM

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Winter is long in New England. It snowed yesterday. It stopped for a while. And it is snowing again and this storm, which is pretty big will be followed by a much larger storm a few days from now. There’s no reason to be surprised. Winter is like this and February is often the month when the heaviest snow falls. The Blizzard of ’78 was just about this time in February. Just saying.

Please enjoy the vintage recording of Billie Holiday, one of the all time great blues singers.Maybe the greatest.

THEY SANG AT OUR WEDDING

Daily Prompt: The Show must go on

posted in Challenges by Pat Gerber-Relf
If you were involved in a movie, would you rather be the director, the producer, or the lead performer? (Note: you can’t be the writer!). Photographers, artists, poets: show us CELEBRITY.

Garry's Emmy -- and there are more. Celebrity? Yup.

Garry’s Emmy — and there are more. Celebrity? Yup.

When it came time for Garry and I to get married, we weren’t thinking about music. Not much, anyway.

I figured we’d do something simple, but of course, Garry’s brother is The Maestro. Dr. Anton Armstrong, internationally renowned conductor of St. Olaf’s Choir. He showed actual horror at my suggestion we go with Mendelssohn. He made it clear this was unacceptable. He was not going to stand by and let us have inferior music.

Okay, then.

Shortly thereafter, we found ourselves hiring a bagpiper, searching out music we liked and which would meet with The Professor’s approval.  Drafting vocally blessed friends — of whom it turns out I have a surprisingly large number — to sing at our wedding. It got a little complicated since one of them was my maid of honor — okay, matron of honor her being married and all. But we overcame the complexities of bouquets, microphones, speaker systems and acoustical anomalies and came up with what was deemed by all interested parties, an appropriate playbill.

Opening with Amazing Grace, starting with the bagpipe, then a segue to my friend Kit who had to keep from crying, but once she got that under control, it was all good. Fade to a duet, Kit and Anton — a folk arrangement of a bible verse and I dont’ remember the name — but I have the video.

Not the original wedding, but our second vow renewal. In the backyard, by the unfinished teepee. Seven years ago.

Not the original wedding. Our second vow renewal. In the backyard, by the unfinished teepee. Seven years ago. Taken by somebody — don’t remember who. We should have had a better camera available. Don’t know why I didn’t think of it!

Then, Mary handed off the bouquet and sang “Follow Me”, a lovely version of a favorite — and appropriate — song best known when sung by John Denver who was unable attend the wedding.

Garry and my show business roots began to show. While everyone else seems to concentrate on the reception, we really got into the “show,” that is to say The Wedding. That was our main event. For the reception, we figured if we had a DJ, dinner and a dance floor, everyone could hang out and be happy.

It seemed like a gigantic wedding to me but it was fewer than 100 people. I would have been happy with City Hall. Garry was in his prime and we could have gotten the Mayor to marry us. I would have thrown a bouquet and we’d have been on our way to Ireland. But nope. Garry wanted A Wedding. THE WEDDING. He’d waited a long time and if he was going to get married, he was going to do it right.

Which meant I was going to do it right. He was much too busy to do more than issue marching orders and tell me who I had to invite. Men and weddings. Clueless beings. That was when I realized if I could survive the wedding, the marriage was going to be a piece of cake. Wedding cake. I had to order one of those, too.

We had written vows and Garry memorized his, just like he memorized what he had to say in front of the TV camera every night. Well, he didn’t have to get his hair done, make sure everyone was where they were supposed to be, that the food showed up, the piper was piping, the flowers flowering. I forget my vows. Totally. Went completely blank. Stood there with flies coming out of my mouth.

Never mind. We moved on and got married.

Bonnie, our Scottish connection

Bonnie, our Scottish connection

Yay! Bouquets! Cheers! Confetti (raw rice makes the birds sick)! More music! Bring back the piper!Marching out to “Scotland the Brave” though neither of us is a bit Scottish. We have Bonnie, the Scottish terrier. It should count for something.

I have almost all of it on DVD. It was originally on videotape, but it disintegrated and we barely saved it onto disk. A lot of it wouldn’t play, much less transfer. I was so sorry we lost some of my favorite moments. Most of the soundtrack survived, but the visual part on  tape was badly damaged. Time ate it. A reminder for anyone who has important stuff still on tape to move it to a less fragile medium ASAP.

It was a great wedding. Sorry you weren’t there (unless you were, in which case — wasn’t it a cool wedding?). We’ve had a couple more since then, just for fun.

Maybe we’ll have one more, when year 25 years rolls around. Definitely. One more wedding to go. A year and a half from now.

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LET MUSIC FILL THE AIR!

Daily Prompt: Groupthink 

by michelle w. on February 2, 2014

Photographers, artists, poets: show us a GROUP.

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Nothing I can think of more represents “group think” in a positive way than does an orchestra and choir. Here, people coöperate, play their parts in a carefully arranged order. Anyone who plays or sings out-of-order will ruin the harmony, destroy the beauty of the whole. For me, a concert represents human society at its finest.

Working together, all focussed on the success of the group without regard for individual attention. Anyone who has ever worked in a troupe of performers, whether it be dance, music, song or drama understands that coöperation, coördination and putting the welfare of the group ahead of individual achievement is tantamount to success … and how great it feels when it all comes together.

Group think doesn’t necessarily mean the loss of ones individuality, but can mean the subordination of ones talent to create something far greater than any individual could do alone. Let there be music!

Often considered the most beautiful melody ever written — there’s to my mind a good deal of competition in this category, but it is wonderful — this is the finale to Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, “Ode to Joy.” Orchestra and chorus, together to make a truly joyous noise!

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PETE SEEGER – GONE BUT NEVER FORGOTTEN

PETE SEEGER

I thought Pete Seeger would live forever … or at least to 100. There was something eternal about Pete. Always on the side of right and justice for everyone. He made a difference in my world and I think the greater world too. You couldn’t silence Pete Seeger. You couldn’t scare him away.

He saved the Hudson River, virtually single-handed and probably kept folk music alive in the world. Pete Seeger was there when I was a little kid, always singing — all the way into my senior citizenship. What a life! He made me want to sing, too.

He can never be replaced. A true gentleman, a patriot, a real stand up guy … and one of a kind.

LUNCH IS MOOT IF YOU DRINK ENOUGH COFFEE

Weekly Writing Challenge: Lunch Posts

Lunch hour.

Hm. When is that, anyhow? I stopped working for good and all 6 years ago, so I get up when I get up. More accurately, when the phone rings. Or the dogs howl. Or I have to go to the bathroom. Sometimes, if I’m really lucky, I go back to sleep for a couple of hours, but usually, once I’m awake, I stay awake. This morning was a little different. Garry got up to take care of the early morning stuff and afterwards, went back to sleep.

I woke when he did, but was able to go back to sleep. For an hour. Until the dogs thought it was time to sing the Hallelujah Chorus in four-part harmony. Admirable, really. They eventually finished and I drifted into a near sleep, a twilight state where I’m not awake, yet am aware of things going on. I started a dream in which I was completely naked but no one seemed to care except me. I was trying to decide if having no nipples made being naked more or less important when the phone rang.

I scrambled to get the phone, but when I answered, there was no one on the line. The phone set the dogs off and they began another chorus, longer and louder than the earlier one. I lay there, listening. They’re pretty good, for dogs. They each seem to know their part, when to sing, when to wait for the cue. It’s perfect canine harmony. Then, miraculously, I fell asleep for another hour. When I next woke up, it was a bodily function in need of immediate attention. Ten-thirty. Good enough.

Got dressed, got out of bed. Ran a comb across my head.

And then I greeted the musical canines, turned on Mr. Coffee. Proffered biscuits, then more biscuits. Coffee was almost ready. Almost, not quite. So I put the dishes away, washed a cup or two and then coffee was ready and I poured myself a cup. Carried it to the office and sat down, here, in front of the monitor where I’ve been ever since. It’s 2:30 in the afternoon and I’m nursing my second (very large) cup of coffee. I have nibbled my way through half a protein bar. Nan, the Norwich, is snoring on the floor behind my chair. She’s a heavy sleeper these days. Her age is catching up with her.

Nan in my office

It’s a shiny gray day. Not raining, though it looks like it’s thinking about it. Am I eating lunch? Have I eaten? Is this protein bar lunch? Breakfast? Does it matter?

I called the doctor’s office, but they aren’t working today. Martin Luther King day is apparently a medical holiday. I want the results of last week’s EKG. I’ve been patient, now I want to know what’s going on. Do I need open heart surgery? Is it all a horrible misunderstanding?

Nan’s snoring is getting loud. I think her hearing is going because she sometimes doesn’t answer the supper call. Even though she’s getting on in years, she remains food driven. If she misses the call to supper, she didn’t hear it. She has episodes of dementia where she doesn’t seem to know where she is or who we are. She’s 11, almost 12 and so cute. And in good physical shape, except for minor back problems that come and go … but mentally, she’s slipping. Sad because she’s only been with us a little over a year and I would have liked a few more of her good years.

I eat another bite of protein bar. Is it lunchtime yet? This is my second post of the day. I think I’ll make pasta with meat sauce for dinner. I suppose I could go and get it started. Nah, not yet. An hour or so.

I think it’s officially after lunch now. Did I miss it or eat it?

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