Posts Tagged ‘Music’

There is a dance that is new to me and maybe to you too.  It is a dance that is “as old as the hills.”

My good friend, Amy, who is always trying new things, filled me in on this enchanting activity that is good clean fun, great exercise, and a place to meet friends and smile.

 Have you ever heard of Contra Dancing?

Well, one site describes it like this: “If Swing Dancing and Square Dancing met in a bar, you’d get Contra.”

  • It is similar to square dancing but not the same.
  • It is considered a social dance that you can attend without a partner, but is danced in pairs.
  • It is danced in long lines and couples progress up and down the lines dancing with each other and other couples in the line.
  • There is a caller who teaches the sequence of figures before the music starts.
  • The music can be Irish, Scottish, old-time, or French Canadian folk tunes.
  • It is impossible not to smile at the music.
  • The fiddle is the core instrument, but can also feature the guitar, banjo, bass and mandolin.

 Contra is a folk dance with mixed origins from English country, Scottish,  and French dance styles in the 17th century and African influence from Appalachia.  Sometimes described as New England folk dance or Appalachian folk dance, Contra Dances can be found around the world as well as in most US states.

Check out Contra Dancing in your state or community.  Guaranteed to make you smile!


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Hearing the Zither Once MoreAlpine_Zither_001

It began with a zither player named Tomy Temerson who came aboard our river boat in Germany to provide an evening of surprise entertainment.

His “zithermusik” was fabulous as we listened to tunes like Edelweiss, La vie en Rose, Maria Elena, and the theme from the Third Man.

The zither, according to Tomy, originated in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (the German speaking countries of Europe).  And although it is an ancient musical instrument, its heyday was in the 1920’s. If you could not afford a piano you would buy a zither.  Tomy played for us on an instrument made in 1928.

Tomy Temerson, Zither Player

Tomy Temerson, Zither Player

Bill was especially excited to hear this music since he listened to his mother play when he was a young boy.  And we were so moved by the beautiful music and the unexpected surprise of the evening that we were both on the verge of tears.

From: http://musicofyesterday.com

A zither is a stringed instrument that is plucked with a “plectrum” and could be one of the most ancient musical instruments.  It consists of a flat box which lies on the table, strung with five metal strings passing over the frets, and from 27 to 40 strings of various kinds played as open strings plucked with the fingers to form the accompaniment to the melody which was played with a plectrum, on the strings nearest the performer.

Hungarian Gypsy Music

Silver Duo 2

On another evening two violinists came aboard, accompanied by a guitar player.

They played classical music that was so heart rending we were literally struck dumb.

And then they veered off to Hungarian gypsy music!

When I was a young girl, my Hungarian father extolled the beauty of such music.  He told me how it went from deeply tragic and sad to extremely lively and joyful, and that it inevitably would bring the listener to tears.

I was stunned to hear the music of my father’s origins played by a wonderful trio of beautiful  talented young people.

And yes, I was brought to tears.

As you might imagine, we purchased both CD’s!

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Peter DelVecchio 1

There is a man in Rockbridge Baths, Virginia named Peter Del Vecchio.  When he was only eighteen, all his worldly possessions were struck by lightning and lost in a fire, but that was not an ending.  It was only the beginning of Peter’s life pursuit.

I silently call him “Mr. Talent” because his musical talent is so overwhelming it has been a guiding light through his entire life and because well, I have heard him play.

“Music creates bridges,” he said when we met yesterday.  Peter Del Vecchio is a professional trumpet player who definitely creates bridges.

Perhaps the vision of a trumpet player conjures up marching bands, jazz and taps, but the truth is that a trumpet (and the man behind it), either solo, or in combination with other instruments, can create unexpected magic in unexpected ways.  And at the risk of sounding too “poetic,” I know that to listen to Peter play is to be transported onto lilting wings of pure joy.

That’s why I recently asked to meet him in person.

Sharing something about Peter here on my blog was the ultimate goal.  It seems as though I am leaning in the direction of introducing remarkable people in my little area of Virginia and how lucky we are that Peter and his family live here now.

Peter D 2

With a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education (Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey) and a Master of Arts degree in Music Performance (trumpet), cum laude Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, New Jersey), Peter did not stop there but went on “creating bridges” in the field of music education and beyond.

He has a long history of associations with schools and universities, community outreach programs, band associations. As teacher, lecturer, composer, director, and adviser, Peter has done it all.  And his greatest satisfaction is in the friends he has accumulated  over the years who say, “You have changed my life.”

The biography of a man like Mr. Talent is endless and pointless unless you can hear him play.

Peter D WeddingAnd play he does.  Peter is still performing for weddings and ceremonies of all kinds, is often invited to play at church services too, and is still available as an instructor for brass and other wind and percussion instruments.   His ever popular Trio Festivo includes two horns and a piano and is amazingly moving at any special event.

It was a pleasure to meet Mr. Talent and I am happy to introduce:

Peter DelVecchio

Email: phdelvecchio@aol.com

Telephone:  540 460-2440.

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Drizzly Hotel ViewIt rained when we left Virginia on Saturday morning and rained for our drive to Durham, North Carolina.

Bill and I were heading off to see Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons!

It was raining when we got there and raining for our  walk to the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), and again for our drippy walk back to the hotel after the concert, but we didn’t care.Durham Performing Arts Center

The drive was delightful with virtually no traffic and we never even got lost once!  The only things missing were Burma Shave signs.  Does anyone remember them?Easy Driving

But the best part of the trek was the “senior citizens happening” in Durham.

We joined 2,698 other devoted old fans all drifting in and out of musical reveries.  Bill and I were seated in the “best available” seats (high balcony left!) since “DPAC” was sold out.  Many of us climbed interminable heights and stairs to get to our seating. Stage Set for Frankie Valli

It was an impressively huge audience.  Our heydays were in the 60’s , 70’s, and 80’s and we waved and swayed and tapped and clapped and hollered as we all forged a mutual link to a never-forgotten musical past.

Frankie Valli  is now 80 years old!  Imagine?  And he sang on August 9th  almost non-stop in his characteristically high voice for an hour and 45 minutes.  With each announced song we could hear voices yelling, “Yeahhhhh” and  “All Righttttt.”

He covered the musical renditions from when he began in 1962 and onward through the generations and we all recognized our earlier selves.

 And for just those fleeting moments we were once again who we were then –

fresh and young and dreaming of things to come.

It was  over so fast no one wanted to leave.  There was a standing ovation with yelling and whistling that went on and on.

Yes, it was a drizzly drive to Durham but happiness was tripping back through time.

Wet?  Who cares?  We would do it all over again.

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons began filling the air with love and romance way back in the 60s.  They scored 29 Top 40 hits, one Top 40 hit under The Four Seasons’ alias ‘The Wonder Who?’, and nine Top 40 hits for Frankie Valli as a solo artist.  They marked the seasons with their biggest hits like ”Sherry” (1962), “Big Girls Don’t Cry” (1962), “Walk Like a Man” (1963), “Rag Doll” (1964) and “December 1963 (Oh, What A Night)” (1975).   “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, which reached number two in 1967, is one of their best-loved hits.    As a solo artist, Frankie Valli released his number one hit — “My Eyes Adored You” (1974) and “Grease” (1978).

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It was a busy weekend for this imported country girl.  Bill and I went back to “the big city” to visit son and grandgirls for a sort of summer reunion.  The family are all hale and hearty with one girl waitressing at a local pizza spot, another baby sitting, and another looking for gainful summer employment.  They are all beautiful and funny and sweet.

After lots of catch-up conversation and dining out to torment the grandgirl at her pizza spot, we decided to go to the movies.  The film of choice for this ancient grandma was “Jersey Boys” and everyone (in an effort to be kind to their elders) agreed.

The Jersey Boys

The music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons still haunts me.  They were a popular group in our halcyon days of youth – the “in sound” playing on the radio while I dealt with diapers and dishes.  I am all grown up now (though still dealing with dishes) and thought I had moved on from those lilting lyrics and tunes.

That was until the story of the boys from New Jersey was resurrected as a biographical take on their music and their lives.   The show was  Jersey Boys!  It was playing in San Diego several years ago and Steve and Viv (my brother and sister-in-law) got tickets.  The performance was complete with look-alike musicians and fabulous singing, and the group sounded just like the originals.

Bill lapsed into what I call one of his “Bronx Reactions,” yelling and whistling for encores.  Thank goodness everyone else in the audience was yelling and whistling too although I must admit he was louder.

Turns out Bill knew what he was whistling for because the same show became so popular it went to Broadway in 2005 amid predictions it would flop.  It just got more wildly popular and became an award winning Broadway musical. We saw it again in Las Vegas.  

More whistling of course.

Jersey Boys is now a movie and we just saw it with the grandgirls.   The shocker for the uninitiated is always that high pitched falsetto voice of Frankie Valli’s.  His music is still haunting and keeps running through your head long after you hear it.  Now four days later, I am still mentally humming Sherreeee!


Now lo and behold Bill and I are going once again to see Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in person, for real,  this summer!  I have the tickets!

Valli is 80 years old and still performing!  Imagine?  People With Money reported that he is the highest-paid singer in the world, pulling in an astonishing $82 million between May 2013 and May 2014, a nearly $50 million lead over his closest competition.

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons began filling the air with love and romance way back in the 60s.  They scored 29 Top 40 hits, one Top 40 hit under The Four Seasons’ alias ‘The Wonder Who?’, and nine Top 40 hits for Frankie Valli as a solo artist.  They marked the seasons with their biggest hits like ”Sherry” (1962), “Big Girls Don’t Cry” (1962), “Walk Like a Man” (1963), “Rag Doll” (1964) and “December 1963 (Oh, What A Night)” (1975).   “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, which reached number two in 1967, is one of their best-loved hits.    As a solo artist, Frankie Valli released his number one hit — “My Eyes Adored You” (1974) and “Grease” (1978).



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Daily Prompt:  The Transporter

Tell us about a sensation — a taste, a smell, a piece of music — that transports you back to childhood.


palm leav

A sound.

Soft wind whistling by my window,

the rustling of a gentle breeze

like sweet music.

A sound.

Palm leaves chattering near my window

along with the murmur of adult voices

like a child’s symphony.

A sound.

The wind’s crooning caress

to drift me off to dreams

in a perpetual Florida spring.

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