It’s Great to Call Columbus, Ohio, Home: Another Harmony Project post


]I am fortunate to live in Columbus. Why, because I am in a group called the Harmony Project.

Today, we gave a concert that we’ve been practicing for since February. It’s now July 18.

With a group of 200, we sounded really good. It was just fantastic. I’ve been in the group for 2 years, and this particular concert was the best ever.

Nobody in the group has to audition. I’ve listened to a lot of people in the group sing, and I haven’t heard anyone who can’t at least carry a tune. Some of the people in the group are musicians, and naturally some are better than others. Others are just ordinary people like me.

The director of the group, David Brown, is the secret ingredient. I don’t know how he does it, but this guy is loaded with charisma. Not only does he have charisma, but he has the largest heart in the world.  He knows how to motivate others, and let me tell you, he does it. You can attend a rehearsal feeling horrible, but by the time you leave you feel optimistic again. It’s like having a little shot of positivity.

He started the choir because he wants to help other people. There’s nothing more to it. He wants to raise money to help people and the city of Columbus, Ohio.  He uses the choir as a vehicle to do this. We sell tickets to the concert, but in the meantime we all have to do some kind of “sharing” project. Some people share more than others.

There are other fundraising projects and big sponsorships that are now in the mix.

One of the things, we as a group, want to do is end homelessness. We raise money for the Columbus Shelter Board, and we’re doing it. Not only that, we’re  including people who are getting second chances into the choir.

You know, all of them are really talented in their own ways. Most of the ones in this particular group, the Unison Project, had responsible jobs before they were down on their luck. You can see all their leadership skills and creative talents blossoming again. It’s a great thing to watch.

Anyway, we had a concert tonight, and it was beautiful. The crowd loved it. We loved the crowd. It was great!

It doesn’t hurt that there are some professional musicians in town who are in the band that accompanies us. They are all fantastic!

There’s one more concert on Thursday. Then it will be over, but only for a little while. We’ll have another concert in September.

I’m glad David Brown decided to make Columbus his home.

Addition: Tonight there was another concert! I had the most fun I’ve ever had. What an enthusiastic audience. It was great!

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10 reasons I don’t like it 104


Lillies

Lillies (Photo credit: firexbrat)

1. It’s scary, it’s never even been 100 in Ohio! It’s been 104 for a couple of days.

2. I can’t take my 3 mile walk. Too steamy hot.

3. The electricity went off for 24 hours. Living life without TV and the internet is Hell.

4. I am hot, and I never get hot! It’s hotter than Hell! If Hell is like this, I am going to be very very good!

5. People are grumpy.

6. I don’t like to sweat. It’s messy.

7. My air conditioning never has gone all the way to my upstairs, and I like to sleep covered with blankets. I also am a big cuddler, but not in the heat!

8. I can’t ride my bike, cause I’ll get dizzy and pass out. (Almost did! )

9. My flowers aren’t happy. (They refuse to bloom like usual…my Day Lillie are pretty upset. They’re all closed up.

10. There are little noisy creatures swimming in the indoor pool at my Health club. I think they refer to them as children.

Creative Giving: Another Harmony Project Post


Here’s another post about the versatile Harmony Project in Columbus, Ohio. It’s the organization that can do and does! We get to sing in a harmonious choir, give performances and make all kinds of new friends. There is commitment involved, but nobody minds. Sing, serve, and share is the motto.

Today was a spa day for the Unison Project, an essential part of the choir.  The people who belong to the Unison Project live in housing, especially sponsored by the Columbus Shelter Board http://www.csb.org.  There are people who have been homeless, but have the courage to take the opportunity to improve their lives. (Not all have been homeless, some have disabilities and other problems that qualify them to live in the facilities.)

Today, a generous spa, the  Ericka Taylor Salon and Spa donated their  services to members of The Unison Project.

They received manicures, facials, hair treatments —color, cuts, blowouts, highlights —and were photographed when it was all over. All the professionals in the spa donated their services. They worked their magic, and brought out the beauty of each person. People left the salon with a glow and a new look.

The pros at the spa did their work with joy. It was inspirational. They were even kind enough to throw in a few manicures to some of the other members of the Harmony Project.

First, we all had a delicious meal “The Little Palace” located on S. Fourth Street.  I would highly recommend that eatery . It was simply delicious.

David Brown, of The Harmony Project planned the whole outing. He did it with great style.

You can still buy tickets for The Harmony Project on July 18, and 19th!  Go to CAPA. It will be a great concert, and you can catch the joy!

It will bounce off the walls of the Southern Theater!

Pictures generously provided by Michelle Herman and Jan Leibovitz Alloy

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Saying goodbye to a friend, Barbara Perrin


I got the news of my friend’s death through an email. That is now life in the 21st century. In case you may have known her, her name was Barbara Perrin. Maybe you ran across her in the writing community.

My friend wasn’t my closest friend. We didn’t call each other on a regular basis, or go many places together. But, the relationship was getting warmer. She had a subtle sense of humor.

We attended a 3 day writers group together several months ago. We talked and talked in the hotel room. She was really proud of her son.  I felt like I could tell her anything. How many people can you trust like that?

I met her at a  casual writer’s group several years ago. She’d come every week, all the way from Westerville, Ohio to Reynoldsburg, Ohio. I could depend on her walking in every Thursday, getting some coffee, and sitting down at the table in the back of the room.

She was an editor by trade, and edited some things I wrote. It was something you’d expect someone to charge for, but she generously did it for free. I learned more than a few things from her.

She was a kind and gentle person, one who knew how to be tactful and get along with others. She seemed to have all the patience in the world.

Her stories were really different, and she had a wonderful way with words.  Her stories were about different types of things from an angle you wouldn’t expect. They were quite artistic. One of her stories was published in the last Columbus Creative Cooperative, and she was so excited about it. The editors were looking forward to the one she was writing for the Bicentennial edition.

When they didn’t receive it, they kept trying to contact her. Her only son called them, and gave them the news. That’s why I found out about it through email. The editor sent out the news to everyone who belongs to the group.

There was no obituary in the newspaper. She died like she lived, quietly.

Today, I went to the writer’s group where I met her.  Only one other person who knew her was there.  I missed her so much, especially her kind blue eyes. The group, like all things, changes with time. Both of us felt so  sad about her death.

She was missing. And the fact is she’s not coming back. We both kept hoping maybe she’d show up, although we knew it wasn’t logical or possible.

That is what happens when someone dies  They are missing.

Barbara Perrin is in the top row on the right. She’s wearing denim and a scarf.

Rest in peace.

Bill Mahr—Love him or hate him?


I put a blurb on Facebook saying I was going to usher at a Bill Mahr appearance in Columbus, Ohio.  I was putting it there to notify my daughter that the concert didn’t conflict with a birthday party she was throwing.

I couldn’t believe the reaction I got to that little comment. People either hate this guy or they love him. I find him very funny. He cracks me up. In these times, we all need a little humor.

Personally, I just loved his movie on religion, Religulous (2008) – IMDb. It made sense to me. But, I know it offended a lot of people. I guess it all depends on where you stand on religion. If you are a  very religious person, and don’t want to question your faith, don’t see this movie.

It just typifies what is going on in this country now. How is this constant quarreling ever going to end?

What mystifies me is how people can listen to the same speeches, be in the same circumstances and have such different reactions.

If you believe in freedom of speech it shouldn’t matter who says what. And I have to say I’m really intolerant to the Fox Station. I feel it’s nothing but an anti-Obama propaganda machine. I’ve felt that way since he’s taken office on the first day. They never gave him a chance.

Cover of "Religulous"

Cover of Religulous

I don’t remember a time when people differed so much in their political views.

I thought it would all end when Barack Obama got elected. But, now it’s worse than ever.

Do you think it will ever end?.

The only thing I can do is not watch TV, listen to the radio, or talk to people who don’t share my point of view.

This could prove to be very tricky in my situation. I do have friends and relatives that do not share my point of view. But, I love them just the same.

I, for one, do not believe in censorship. Everyone has the right to see, hear or watch whatever they want. Then, they can make up their own minds.

I guess it all makes life more interesting.

Post Script: I don’t get to go because my aunt is celebrating her 90th birthday, a much more important event.

The Harmony Project gives me joy! Stay tuned…


This a wonderful project in Columbus, Ohio. I’ve been involved with it for two years. I get to sing on stages like The Southern Theater, Lincoln Theater, and all over Columbus. The ticket sales raise money for different philanthropic endeavors in the city. It’s great fun, and it definitely brings me joy!

Next, we get to sing with The Columbus Jazz Orchestra.

The person narrating the video is David Brown, the leader of this whole project. It’s been a terrific experience. He is like the Pied Piper!

Watch the video. It’ll tell something about this project. This is a series of videos. This is the first one. Please share!

Marc Levison ALS Race Sunday, Sept 2, 2012 at Jeffrey Mansion in Bexley, Ohio


Marc & Eileen Levison

English: Lou Gehrig Monument in Yankee Stadium

Lou Gehrig had ALS  like Marc Levison

My friend Marc Levison died October 8, 2009. I can’t believe it’s been so long. He fought a long hard battle against a terrible disease, ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He would want you to know that he didn’t die of ALS, he died of cancer.

Here is an excerpt from a story  I wrote about him several weeks before his death.

Marc was one of the most inspirational person I’ve ever met. When the little things in life get me down, I think about him, and the battle he courageously fought. In the end he couldn’t move, talk so you could understand him, but he wanted to be around people and they wanted to be around him. He wrote, via email to hundreds, maybe thousands of people

His family established a race, in his honor, that takes place every labor day. I wrote this profile about him several weeks before his death. I was documenting his life, and the race that was so important to him. The race, the Marc Levison Race still takes place every labor day.

Marc Levison―Local Hero

Marc Levison was excited. He maneuvered his wheelchair up and down the sidewalk in front of Jeffrey mansion, a park in Bexley, Ohio.

He surveyed the early morning crowd. He was gratified that so many people were registering for his 5K race on Labor day weekend.

The Marc Levison 7th annual ALS race would be underway soon. Levison couldn’t walk or run in the race, but others would honor him by taking his place and donating to his cause―finding a cure for ALS.

ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Lou Gehrig was a New York Yankee baseball player in the 1930’s who contracted and died from this disease. It attacks brain cells in the spinal cord and brain.

Eventually, the muscles of the body weaken and waste away. People usually live 3 to 5 years after being diagnosed.

ALS began attacking Levison’s muscles 21 years ago.

People who knew Levison when he was younger, remember a tall lanky guy with a great sense of humor and a gift of gab. Muscles are necessary for speech; fortunately, Levison found another way to communicate.

Luckily, the personal computer became popular and more accessible when he was losing some of his physical abilities. He’s used it to reach hundreds of people. His goal was to influence people to value the important things in life: love, charity and friendship. Sitting in a wheelchair gave him a unique perspective.

You can’t mention Levison without thinking about Eileen, his devoted wife of 42 years. She stood by him and did what she could to make his life easier. They met when they were in high school.

Levison joined the navy and went to fight the war in Vietnam. When he came home on leave, they got married. After a few years they had a home in Bexley, and two sons, Brent and Kevin. Both Levisons worked for Plaza properties; he was an electrician and she managed apartments.

Life took an unexpected turn when Levison started having difficulty walking. The family was devastated when they heard the diagnosis: ALS.

Levison lived for 21 years with a disease that was supposed to his him in 3 to 5 . From the beginning Levison was determined to approach things in a positive way.

Judaism is the foundation of Levison’s life, and his faith sustained him. He was continually inspiring others by his good deeds and attitude. In typical Levison style, he visited people at Heritage House and  Sunrise Senior Living―faciilities for older people in Columbus, Ohio. His goal was to cheer them up, and he did.

Levison was proud of all the money he raised to fight ALS. The money wet to the Neuromuscular Research Center at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Quitting was not in Levison’s vocabulary. He fought the cancer with chemotherapy

The evening before the race, Levison was at Starbucks in Bexley, Ohio. He was listening to Soul Kitch’n, the band that was kicking off the start of the race. He was greeting everyone who came to the crowded outdoor patio. Nothing could keep him away, not even the first chemotherapy treatment he received the previous day.

Update: the money raised at the race bought a very important microscope for research. Although Marc is gone, you can still help fight the fight. Money raised at the race is going for research.

The 10th Marc Levison race is on Sunday, September 2,  at Jeffrey Mansion. Pre-registration is at 7:30. The race is at 8:30.  

You can get information at http://www.premiereraces.com