The 2nd Annual Stillwater Celtic Music Festival

>> Saturday, May 31, 2008

We missed this last year, but this year Steph and I will be there! It's being held at the Payne County Expo Center, (the Fairgrounds), on Saturday, June 21st, and Sunday, June 22nd. Below is a video of some of the festivities from last year's event.


Internal Summer

In the depths of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.

~ Albert Camus, French philosopher and writer, 1913-1960


It's a start!

>> Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Six weeks and 16 pounds lighter, I have now officially dropped a full size. I still have a ways to go, but I'm determined that I'm going to loose this extra poundage. Already I'm feeling 500% better--more energy, more stamina, and I know that my blood pressure has dropped considerably and that I'm getting stronger.


The Divine spark

Whomever you meet, remember this Truth: Each person is a unique expression of God. Even the person you consider the most vile is God's child too, and has a core self that is never lost to our Creator. We can bring to each encounter extraordinary respect, looking always for that aspect of the Divine.

~ Mary Manin Morrissey


The World's most beautiful music: Dalla sua pace from Mozart's "Don Giovanni"

>> Monday, May 26, 2008

In the scope of Mozart's vocal pieces, it seems that a small percentage of those works are for tenor. This is because Mozart composed mainly for the voices that were most readily available to him. The most famous of the Mozart tenor roles include Tamino in The Magic Flute, and Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte.

In January of 1783, a new group of singers arrived in Vienna who were to comprise the Emperor's newly-formed Italian opera company. Among this group were two English singers, (Nancy Storace and the Irish tenor Michael Kelly), with whom Mozart would later develop very close friendships. At first, Mozart seemed to regard Kelly primarily for his comedic talents and less for his vocal prowess, as the first opera that he composed for this group, (Le nozze di Figaro), didn't include a leading tenor role. However, in late 1786, after the opening of Figaro in Vienna, and it's huge success in Prague, Mozart decided to collaborate again with the Italian/Jewish librettist, Lorenzo DaPonte, on an opera based on the legends of Don Juan, entitled, Don Giovanni. The leading tenor role of Don Ottavio was most certainly intended for Kelly as well as the role of the servant girl, Zerlina for Nancy Storace, however they both suddenly announced in late 1786 that they would not be renewing their contracts with the Emperor and would be returning to England as soon as their current ones ran out. Don Giovanni was nearly completed by that time and the roles intended for Kelly and Storace would have to be given to whomever the Emperor hired to replace them.

Featured here is Don Ottavio's aria, "Dalla sua pace", sung by the late Swedish tenor, Gosta Winbergh. After hearing this, you'll wish that Mozart had more opportunity to compose for tenor.


Happy Anniversary

>> Sunday, May 25, 2008

Today Steph and I are celebrating the 7th anniversary of our Holy Union service, which was held at the College Hill Presbyterian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We publicly acknowledged and celebrated our love and commitment to one another in the presence of those who understood that love is just that--love. Family who celebrated with us were my precious Aunt Pat, who although she didn't quite understand completely, opened her heart and accepted us, and my daughter, Lauren, whose loving and open spirit rejoiced with us in our happiness. The rest were some of our close friends and the supportive members of the College Hill congregation.

One day, when this country wakes up and realizes that love isn't about one's gender,(or perceived gender), and that people should be free to share their lives with whomever they choose to share them, then we will be legally married.

I adore you, Steph. You're everything I have ever wanted or needed.


Another milestone reached

>> Saturday, May 24, 2008

Yesterday was a big day at our house. Heather graduated from high school and the whole family and a number of our friends were here to help her celebrate her accomplishments. A special thanks goes to Steph who worked hard the entire week on getting the house ready and on the wonderful food for the reception. It was really amazing! Here are a few pictures! (Taken with our brand new digital camera!)


Busy day

>> Friday, May 23, 2008

Today began with my going to the gym to get my work out done before the rest of the day's activities overtake me. Heather graduates from high school today and we have family and friends coming in from out of town to help us celebrate this milestone in Heather's life. Next I have to get out the ironing board and iron the outfit that I plan to wear this evening, as well as iron Heather's graduation gown. Then I plan to help Steph with all of the last minute cleaning--vacuuming, etc.

I'll check back in tomorrow with pictures from graduation and Heather's party...


The World's most beautiful music: Baïlèro from Canteloube's Chants d'Auvergne

>> Saturday, May 17, 2008

I first encountered this enchanting piece of music several years ago when I bought a CD of various arias and art songs sung by Kiri Te Kaniwa. The first time I listened to it I thought it to be the most heavenly music I'd ever heard.

Marie-Joseph Canteloube de Malaret (21 October 1879 - November 4, 1957), was a French composer. Canteloube was born in Annonay, Ardèche and died at Grigny, Essonne, a part of the Île-de-France region.

He is best known for his collection of orchestrated folk songs from the Auvergne region, Chants d'Auvergne ("Songs of the Auvergne"). Canteloube himself believed that "les chants paysans s’élèvent bien souvent au niveau de l’art le plus pur, par le sentiment et l’expression, sinon par la forme" ("peasant songs often rise to the level of purest art in terms of feeling and expression, if not in form").

Canteloube studied music in Paris under Amélie Daetzer, a former pupil of Chopin. He also studied composition under Vincent d'Indy. His first composition, Colloque sentimental, dates from 1903. His other works include the operas Le Mas and Vercingétorix. In 1925, he founded La Bourrée, an association whose aim was to promote the Auvergne. In 1941, during the Nazi occupation of France, Canteloube joined the Vichy government, an action that has been attributed to political naiveté.

As well as collecting and arranging traditional folk songs, Canteloube wrote extensively on the subject of music. His works include biographies of his former teacher, Vincent d'Indy, and of Déodat de Séverac.

Information source: Wikipedia

This version features Finnish soprano Karita Mattila, and has the English translation of the French text at the bottom of the screen.


The path to happiness

>> Friday, May 16, 2008

There's no way to happiness, happiness IS the way.

~ Wayne Dyer


Shame on you, Mayor McMillian

>> Thursday, May 15, 2008

Once again, I am appalled and disgusted by the sheer childishness and arrogance displayed by a public official, only this time it's Stillwater's own mayor, Roger McMillian. For those of you who don't know, Mayor McMillian, who is the current president of our branch of The Bank N.A. has been sued by three female employees, (two of them are now former employees), for sexual harassment or in their words, for creating a "sexually charged, and hostile work environment" by engaging in derogatory and sexually demeaning behavior and language directed at female employees and even bank customers.

Steph has written a great entry about it, so I'm going to direct you to her blog where you can read in more detail about this disgusting and embarrassing turn of events.

I'm completely appalled.


As you love yourself

>> Monday, May 12, 2008

If you don't have love for yourself, you are not trusting on the wisdom that created you.



I'm hooked!

>> Saturday, May 10, 2008

I'm nearly 48 years old, overweight, and in the throes of menopause. About a month ago I went to bed feeling like crap. It hit me all of the sudden, I mean menopause. One day I felt pretty good, aside from being overweight and out of shape. But considering, I felt good. Then it seemed the very next day it hit me with a vengeance--every symptom of menopause that could hit--fatigue, memory loss, irritability, debilitating hot flashes, horrible burning and tingling in my hands and feet, lack of energy or motivation, depression... You name it, I had it. It scared me and I made the decision then and there that I was too young to feel old and that I HAD to do something about it. So I immediately changed my diet, went out and bought a menopause supplement at GNC and then I went to the gym where the company where I work has a corporate membership and signed up with a trainer and started a rigorous weight training and work-out routine. Within a week the hot flashes diminished, the tingling in my hands and feet virtually disappeared, and within two weeks the fatigue and lack of energy & motivation disappeared. I went to the doctor this last Tuesday with a mild sinus/bronchial infection and when I weighed in it indicated that I have already lost nine pounds, and my blood pressure, which had been soaring out of control over the last year, (even on medication), was down to 118/82, which is ideal! This all after only THREE WEEKS! I've worked up from 10 minutes to nearly an hour on the treadmill and over doubled my pace. I've already increased my weight limits on some of my exercise machines, and what's so wonderful is that I FEEL GREAT! It's amazing how quickly the body will begin to respond and heal itself once you start treating it well and giving it what it needs.

I did it. I just quit making excuses, kicked myself in the butt, and did it. Now I'm hooked on feeling great. No more "Chicken Fat" for me!


The World's most beautiful music: Les chemins de l'amour

>> Sunday, May 4, 2008

Francis Jean Marcel Poulenc, (January 7, 1899–January 30, 1963) was a French composer and a member of the French group Les Six. He composed music in all major genres, including art song, chamber music, oratorio, opera, ballet music, and orchestral music. Critic Claude Rostand, in a July 1950 Paris-Presse article, described Poulenc as "half bad boy, half monk" ("le moine et le voyou"), a tag that was to be attached to his name for the rest of his career.

Poulenc was born in Paris in 1899. His mother, an amateur pianist, taught him to play, and music formed a part of family life. As he was a capable pianist, the keyboard dominated much of his early compositions. He also, throughout his career, borrowed from his own compositions as well as those of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Camille Saint-Saëns. Later in his life, the loss of some close friends, coupled with a pilgrimage to the Black Madonna of Rocamadour, led him to rediscovery of the Catholic faith and resulted in compositions of a more sombre, austere tone.

Some writers consider Poulenc one of the first openly gay composers. His first serious relationship was with painter Richard Chanlaire to whom he dedicated his Concert champêtre: "You have changed my life, you are the sunshine of my thirty years, a reason for living and working." He also once said, "You know that I am as sincere in my faith, without any messianic screamings, as I am in my Parisian sexuality." However, Poulenc's life was also one of inner struggle. Having been born and raised a Roman Catholic, he struggled between coming to terms with his unorthodox sexual appetites and maintaining his religious convictions.

Poulenc also had a number of relationships with women. He fathered a daughter, Marie-Ange, although he never formally admitted that he was indeed her father. He was also a very close friend of the singer Pierre Bernac for whom he wrote many songs; some sources have hinted that this long friendship had sexual undertones; however, the now-published correspondence between the two men strongly suggests that this was not the case.

(Information source: Wikipedia)

Les Chemins de l'amour is a torch song composed near the end of WWII for one of Paris' famous night club singers, Yvonne Printemps. I discovered this chanson years ago, and fell in love with it and several years later used it as the closing piece on my master's recital. Sung here by one of the world's greatest singers, Jesse Norman, you'll hear why this piece is so beloved.

The English translation of the French text is as follows:

The paths that arch of the ocean
protect our crossing,
flowers losing their leaves
and the echo under the trees,
Our two bright laughs.
Alas, from days of happiness
radiant joys take flight,
I journey without recovering your traces
In my heart.

Paths of my love
I try to find you always
lost paths, you don't exist anymore,
And your echoes have been muffled.
Paths of despair,
Paths of memory,
Paths of first love,
Divine pathways of love.

This I am duty-bound to forget one day
the way that life obliterates all things.
I want in my heart that a memory will rest
More strongly than another love.
The memory of paths
Where trembling and completely passionate,
a day I have felt above myself
to burn and be consumed by your hands.

(text by Jean Anouilh)


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