Tag Archives: music

There Was Someone Named Rachel

A month or so ago, Jean Cassidy of Sheville.org told us about the musical composition she had written in honor of the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson‘s “Silent Spring“, and she promised to share with us a video of the work, when it became available.  She sent it to me a few weeks ago, so here it is.  This is a wonderful video, with the piece performed by  members of the singing group “Womansong” from Asheville, NC.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

A song “There Was Someone Named Rachel” to celebrate  the 50th anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring”, written by Jean Cassidy, arranged by Catherine Riley and sung by a small group of Womansong members, with Lytingale on keyboard.  Singers are  Winnie Barrett, Va Boyle, Jean Cassidy, Terri Crosby, Cathy Riley, Susan Taylor, Ellen Winner and Claudette Wren.

Why A Nice Jewish Girl From Brooklyn Joined a Gospel Choir


Meet my friend Marjorie. I met her in Washington, D.C. back in 1982 or 1983 at our local gym on M St.  We were sitting in the steam room, and she remarked how she hadn’t see me with my friend lately and wondered what happened.   I told her she moved to Boston to go to back to school, and how much I missed her.  She immediately reached out, and we became best friends after that.  Neither Marjorie nor I are in D.C. anymore, and I wish we were closer.  She has always inspired me to look for joy wherever it is.  Here she is singing in a gospel choir, and here is her story.


I have always wanted to sing in a gospel choir.  The energy and music is so uplifting.  You can be in the biggest funk…tired, depressed, or overwhelmed with your day and your life, but when you start singing it’s as though you’ve been totally transported to another place and time.

When I lived in San Francisco I sang in two choruses.  I never had a great voice, but good enough to be part of the choral group.  One of my “gigs” was in the San Francisco Gay Men and Women’s Chorus.  My next door neighbor at the time knocked on my door one evening and asked me if I liked to sing.  Well, “yes” I said, but I’m not good.  He said not to worry that it was just a fun group and they sang show tunes.  It turned out to be a little more professional than I was, but I still enjoyed it, and realized what a high I got from singing.  Then my “voice” went downhill (literally).  I was really distressed over it, but the ENT guy I went to said it “wasn’t cancer,” but I would have to give up my operatic career.  I fell over laughing.

So years went by without a song in my heart and last December, right before Christmas, my friend Nancy and I went to a local cafe here in Petaluma, (CA) for breakfast and the Wings of Glory was singing.  I checked it out and low and behold they are here practically right in my backyard!  The best things about this group are 1) you don’t have to audition 2) you don’t have to have a great voice and 3) there is no commitment to show up for rehearsals every week or attend the performances.

Wings of Glory

I haven’t missed a rehearsal yet!  The members are some of the most welcoming people I’ve ever met.  Last weekend we sang with the Oakland Interfaith Choir.  You want to hear great voices….that’s the ticket.  Any one of them could go on American Idol and win!  There was also a Jewish A Capella group there called Vocolat and they were singing Hebrew and Yiddish songs…I  felt more at home.

We are the token white gospel choir, but we have the spirit and the “moves.”  We are invited to perform at a number of different venues.  Churches, of course, but also wineries and other events around the area.

So, how is it, you ask, to be singing about Jesus for a nice Jewish girl from Brooklyn?  Well after all, Jesus was a nice Jewish boy from Bethlehem.  And at least they both start with a “B”, right!?  And, if you’re ever in my neck of the woods please come and hear us sing.  You will be looking for a gospel choir in your area instead of a therapist!

Great Sites for Women Over 50!


Just a quick post to bring to our attention a wonderful site for women over 50.  It’s called “Music After 50” and it’s all about “people learning, and playing music in their 50’s, 60’s and beyond.”  Here is the link:  


I highly recommend it to anyone who has 1) always wanted to learn to play the tuba but never had the time or nerve to learn 2) wishes they had not quit those piano lessons in college 3) wants to sing! 

The site offers articles such as “The Health Benefits of Playing an Instrument after 50,” “Starting an Instrument after 50,” “Finding a Music Teacher,”  “Returning to an Instrument,” etc.  And they have an online store for instructional DVD’s! 

I urge our readers to check it out!

And while I’m talking about music, visit Paradise Music (see the ad on our site), where you can buy all kinds of c.d.’s of inspirational music, including ones that help you through guided meditation, heal your pets with meditation, etc.  It’s also a great place to buy cards with c.d.’s of music enclosed–and it’s where you can get c.d.’s of natural sounds, such as wolf calls or rain or the ocean.  Check it out at Paradise Music!  Thanks.

Father’s Day: Significant Family Memories


For Father’s Day, I asked my friend, Judy King-Calnek to share some of her memories about her father, who was one of the few African Americans to go to Harvard University in 1941.  Toward the end of her piece, you will find a link detailing his experience at Harvard told by the Boston Globe entitled, Southern Discomfort: With quiet grace, two black men change the heart of Harvard in 1941.   

While driving down the FDR Drive in Manhattan, I was still savoring the excitement of Brazil’s first victory in the World Cup, which I had watched and celebrated with friends in a cute little Brazilian bistro in Brooklyn that could’ve easily been in Copacabana.  I was on my way to work that morning, and even though it was only 7:45 a.m., the sun was shining brightly and it was so warm that I drove with my car windows and sunroof wide open, not to mention the radio cranked up.  

Dr. Judith King-Calnek

As I surfed the pre-selected buttons to find some music, preferably something I could sing along to as it was one of those kind of days, I was grabbed by a voice I had known since my childhood growing up in Cleveland.  It was Louis Armstrong on his tribute album to Fats Waller, singing “All That Meat and No Potatoes” – one of my father’s favorites.  I sang along at the top of my lungs, not like the 50 year old teacher getting ready to talk to her anthropology students as they prepare for a summer of fieldwork, but like the little girl who used to dance frenetically about the living room, with no clue of the double entendre of the lyrics, laughing as my father laughed at my glee and excitement when Satchmo wailed, and Daddy and I both sang out, “Give that food to the alligators!”.



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Sadhvi Asks: Is Mick Jagger still Rockin’?


When I was growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, music was so much a part of my life.  I think this was true for us all.  There was the weekly countdown to the #1 song.  And everyone in our house listened to it.  There were weeks when The Beatles had a number one hit.  Then The Rolling Stones would take over.   Then The Beatles again.  There also seemed to be those that liked one group over the other.  Not me.  I loved them both.  The unusual  harmonies and lyrics of The Beatles made me feel good and slightly out-of-my-mind.  But then I got excited and turned on with the drum beat and guitar and the image of The Rolling Stones.  There was something so sexy about Mick Jagger; the way he moved and his clothes and his voice!

Here’s a new release (for me!), along with Lenny Kravitz. As I watched it I found myself asking, “Is Mick Jagger still Rockin’?”  I think the answer is yes.