5 Ways you know your days are Numbered: An analysis of old TV shows, and deceased guests who are more relatable than the current generation of “stars”.  



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1. You are watching Me TV. You feel young when watching these shows. You are the exact same age as Jerry Mathers who played “The Beaver.” Your father reminded you of Beavers father, and your mother had the same values. (Except she didn’t wear heels and pearls. She also had a job  outside the house, and wasn’t excited about cooking.

2.. Although you can appreciate Jimmy Fallon’s talent, you  prefer the guests on old Dick Cavett shows like: the late Marlon Brando, and Charles Heston (before he was president of the NRA, but maybe that’s when his Alzheimers had already started. You hope so because you loved him as Moses.)

3.   It does still hurt to watch old Johnny Carson shows because he was a big part of your life for so many years. Even before he was on the Tonight show you remember him on “Who do you Trust.” You remember the very first ” Tonight Show”. He kept you company from the time you were a teenager until you were solidly middle-aged.

4.  You go to a concert featuring Paul Anka. He shows old videos of Sammy Davis Jr. smoking a cigarette and singing. It’s hard to imagine a time when it was cool and sexy to smoke a cigarette. Paul Anka was “the kid” amongst the Rat Pack. People like Frank Sinatra,  Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin. The good thing is he puts on a dynamic show and sings with a strong, good, familiar voice. So, what happened to music? Really?

5. It bothers you when you realize you’ve spent more time with people on TV than you did with real live people. You wish you had videos of your mom and dad you could play, but you don’t because they weren’t famous. You remember a time when you thought they were really “old” and couldn’t appreciate my good music. Just like my kids think about me.

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Columbus Arts and Music Festival Debuts September 18 


                                  

Arkadiy Gips, well known Columbus violinist, envisioned sharing Jewish music, identity, and culture with the Columbus community. 

” It’s the first Jewish music festival in Columbus. We want to showcase talented musicians who play music in Columbus. We have a lot of different heritage festivals and now we’re bringing a Jewish art and music festival to Columbus.” said Gips. 

 This vision will become a reality on September 18, 2016 at the JCC, 1125 College Avenue. The Columbus Jewish Foundation, JCC, and Jewish Family services is supporting this great arts event. 

Children’s musician, Marc Rossio, will kick off the festivities at 1:00 P.M. Children and adults will enjoy Marc’s creative songs and great showmanship. 

Arkadiy and Friends includes Cheri Papier, Lucy Smirnov, and Lucas Holmes. They have played traditional Jewish music with an original music arrangement for over twenty years. 

American Gypsy includes Arkadiy, Neil Jacobs, and Steven Fox. “American Gypsy’s debut CD was nominated for the American Independent Music Award’s, “Album of the Year”! It will be a real treat to listen to them. 

Sveltlana Portnyansky, a well-known Jewish singer and California Cantor, will sing and narrate the documentary, “Terezin,The Code to Life.” Terezin was the concentration camp in Czechoslovakia that imprisoned talented children and adults from the arts during World War II. The documentary earned second prize in the Toronto Documentary Film Festival. 

Laeli is a Jewish music project made up of husband and wife, Eli and Lael Palnik. Elijah composes original songs, and they perform contemporary and Israeli songs. 

Cantor Max Axelrod, representing the JCC book fair will be discussing his book, “Your Guide to the Jewish Holdays: From Shofar to Seder.”

Columbus area Jewish community choirs including Koleinu, Temple Israel and Temple Beth Shalom will perform. 

Free performances will take place every 45 minutes. 

The final performance, a showcase gala, takes place from 6:00 to 7:00 P.M. at the JCC Roth-Resler theater. All the musicians will collaborate and play together. It will be amazing! 

Tickets for the showcase gala concert will be $20.00 for the general public and $15.00 for JCC members and Senior citizens. 

“It’s a time to celebrate our Jewish identity together. This is a time to have fun, listen to great music, and eat wonderful food. We want this day to express the heart and soul of the entire Jewish community in Columbus,” said Gips.  

To get exact times of performances, and more information about the artists, consult the festival’s website. 

http:/www.columbusjewisharts.com

A Baby Boomer sings her way to 65


“Sugar Time”

I just received my Medicare card in the mail. I can’t use it until June 1, but it still “freaked” me out. It’s made me face my mortality. On June 24, I will turn the dreaded 65.  I’ve never been one to care about approaching age,  but this year I’ve thought about it a lot.

A few years ago I started looking in the mirror and my older mother and grandmother were staring back at me. Yikes!

Walking into a Senior Center for the first time

I got up the nerve and joined a senior center. When I walked in, I felt really sheepish. I went up to the lady who runs the place and blurted out, “Could you tell me about this senior center. I feel like I’m not old enough to join .” By the knowing look on her face, I think other people have said the same thing to her.

‘You won’t be the youngest one here, our starting age is 55,” she replied. (I later found out she only has a year to go.)

At the center, they play card games, majong, do crafts, and exercise.  I lose at cards, am not crafty,  and still do outdoorsy stuff and attend a health club where i am on the old side.

I do enjoy singing in choirs. I am not a solo singer, but I can carry a tune. Even in the worst of times, I’ve managed to keep singing.

The Golden Clefs

I had a friend tell me about a Senior choir called “The Golden Clefs” that meets in the center. I decided to check it out. Not only was I late, but I tripped into the room after mishandling the lock on the folding door that led into the rehearsal space. The director gave me a big smile and said,  Come on in!”

The leader is one energetic, upbeat senior citizen. The piano player for the choir is a former professional pianist and music teacher. When she tickles those ivories, you can tell she’s not the typical choir accompanist.  She smiles a lot too. The members range in age from the late 60’s to probably the 90’s.

The songs we sing are really old, but I know them all.  My mother loved music,  and I think of her every time we sing some of her favorites.

Serving the community

Twice a month The Golden Clefs go to some kind of nursing home or senior residence center and perform.   I felt a little silly wearing my sparkly golden clef vest for the first time. I kept thinking, what would my adult children say if they saw me wearing this get up?  (Would they start adjusting my seatbelt for me in the car?)

After we arrived at the nursing home, I was pleased to see chairs set up for us. I was a little surprised when I found out we had to stand up for each song. One of the choir members mentioned she graduated high school  in 1946 when one of our  songs, “Cement Mixer” was popular. I wondered how she was going to make it for an hour.

Once we started singing, my uneasiness vanished. Audience members knew some of the songs, and many were softly singing along. People who looked somber began to smile.  A lady, bent over with some malady, got up and started moving to the music.  One of the aides got up and started dancing with her. It was one of those moments you don’t forget.

Suddenly, I heard an alarm go off. It took me a minute to realize it signaled that someone was trying to get out of their wheelchair. The director ignored it, and we just continued singing.

I found out how the director had tackled the standing problem. I was relieved to sit down between some of the numbers. That’s when some choir members got up and did little solos or quartets.  I  hadn’t heard some of these songs in decades. They brought  back cherished memories.

One lady sang “Que Cera Cera” (whatever will be will be). Doris Day sang this song, and it was popular when I was a little girl. I loved it, and remembered singing it with my mother. A quartet sang the 1958 Maguire Sisters hit, “Sugar Time”.  Another group sang “Love Me Tender” by Elvis. The audience really liked that one!

After the performance  was about over, the director asked the audience and choir members if they celebrated their birthday that month. Everyone got to sing “Happy Birthday” and we incorporated those names into the song. This was a big crowd pleaser. Even the most disabled audience members participated. (Who hasn’t had at least one happy birthday?)

After our concert was over, we went into the audience to talk to the residents. A chorus member mentioned to me that touch is so important to these people because when they’re in a facility, they  don’t get much human physical contact.  So, I made it a point to touch people’s hands and give them hugs. A lady , slumped in a wheelchair, grabbed my hand and smiled after I hugged her.

Many people told us how much they enjoyed the show.

So I guess I’ll continue with this for a while, and I’m certain the time will come when I’m not one of the youngest singers. I’m hopeful I can pick up on the happy and energetic attitudes of the members of the choir. I’m betting that when I’m 90, I’ll still want to get up and sing out.

Remembering Whitney Houston a year later


One of my favorite songs in the whole world.

I thought it good to revisit this song a year after Whitney Houston’s tragic death.

 

What happens at a Harmony Project rehearsal? Another Harmony Project post


October 29
Tonight was another night with The Harmony Project It was also a night when storms were blowing a little stronger than usual, but nothing was going to stop me from going to that rehearsal. Good things transpire at Harmony Project Rehearsals.  I wasn’t going to miss out!

The Harmony Project is a volunteer choir that sings and shares.  Sharing is simple. You just do a volunteer project. It doesn’t require a lot of time.  At the end of a “semester,” you get to appear in a show at a great venue  in the downtown Columbus, Ohio, area.  Another bonus of being in this choir is appearing with a first class professional band with great musicians

Members of the choir love doing those shows!   It’s usually a love fest between the choir and the audience. Everyone seems to have a good time.

Tonight’s Rehearsal
I was really feeling down in the dumps when I walked in the door tonight.  I was going to sit in the back of the room. After I walked in, someone I barely knew invited me to sit down next to them.  Right away, I started feeling a little bit better.  The Idea about sitting in the back of the room was gone.  (After the rehearsal starts, we usually introduce ourselves to three people we don’t know. It takes time to know 200 people. ) After I did that, I was feeling even more upbeat.

We all started singing our first song. By the time I was done singing that song, I felt downright happy. Singing is good for the soul. There’s nothing better than singing the same words with over 200 people.

The Pied Piper of the Harmony Project
I guess you could say another one of the reasons the Harmony Project is such a success  is the Musical Director, David Brown. He is energetic and  knows how to make rehearsing fun,  and sometimes inspiring.

Tonight, one highlight was when we sang a Beth Neilson Chapman song we’re going to sing in the December show. It’s all about finding the light. The lights went out, and I thought the high winds had knocked out the power, but it was David trying to get us to concentrate on the meaning of the song.  Not only that, he pulled a member of the choir out front to share a personal experience about what it means to really see the light. She is blind, so she talked about what it means to see with your heart.

A little boy inspires me

Next thing I knew, one of the members of the choir asked, “ Is there an age limit on who can sing in the choir? We’ve got someone giving it all they got.”   I looked up and saw the most adorable little boy sitting  in an area that is above our rehearsal room.   As I watched him, I noticed how enthusiastically he was singing along. I knew he must be a choir member’s child .

Finally, the rehearsal was over. I saw the little boy out in the lobby with his mom and sister.  “How do you know all the words?” I asked.  He broke out in the biggest smile, dimples and all. “We practice the CD  in the car,” he said.  I told him he inspired me, and it was the honest truth.

All of this transpired in an hour and a half. It was worth the trip!

See the Harmony Project perform on December 19 or December 20th at The Southern Theater! Get tickets through CAPA

A few members of The Harmony Project 200 member choir.

I’m Watching “This is It” Missing Weird Michael Jackson (MJ)


Cover of "Michael Jackson: This Is It"

Cover of Michael Jackson: This Is It

I’ve seen the movie, “This is it” a couple of times, but I don’t get tired of it.  Michael Jackson in rehearsal is the closest I’ll ever get to a MJ concert.

After all, I watched MJ grow up. I remember him as a little kid, singing and dancing. What poise, what stage presence, and what promise.

I remember watching The Jackson 5  on Johnny Carson. I thought it was weird MJ wasn’t doing any talking. He said he was “shy and quiet.”  That wasn’t the half of it.

I remember how excited my 5th grade class was after he did that Apollo Theater special. He  moon-walked for the first time on TV, and his performance was riveting.

The next day my fifth grade students came to class wearing one glove. I knew the young adult heart-throb Michael Jackson,was going to be a big deal to them.

But then the weirdness really started about 5  years later.
Monkey’s, horrible accusations, sad trials, and all the rest of it. I’d like to think he was innocent of the accusations. I’d like to think he was just weird.

Then, the different way he died. Whoever heard of anyone dying from an anesthetic. I’m glad they convicted that doctor. I guess money can buy anyone or anything.

It’s insane how we get to know the celebrities, and they never know us. It’s insane how we demand so much from them, and they don’t even ever know who we are. It’s ironic that this cute kid with all that talent came to a sad end

Still, I can appreciate watching “This is It.” If’s entertaining.

Thanks MJ wherever you are.

Am I wrong? What do you think?

Harmony Project: #2 Watch this video. I guarantee you will feel inspired!


If you met Fred, you would really like him. He’s got a great personality, a great smile, and is appreciative about his life. He’s not a complainer. His joy of life rubs off on all of us who visit the Commons of Buckingham every week. It’s a place that gives people second chances.

He had some bad years, years when he was homeless, and out on the streets. He remembers feeling invisible. He doesn’t feel that way now.

I’ve gotten to know him through the Harmony Project. We are going to be in a show together in July. He’s a great singer too. Through the Harmony project, I’ve gotten an opportunity to spend time with a group of people who have the courage to change their lives.

I like spending time with these people. It keeps me inspired. Watch this video, and you will be inspired too!