I watched my son’s middle school music concert with tears streaming down my face. I know what you’re thinking. Really? But it’s a middle school music concert.
I know, I know. But I also that know that my dad would have really loved this. He was a huge jazz fan. My dad played the clarinet and I grew up listening to him play and all different types of music, including jazz.
The funny thing is, my son was not a big jazz lover until recently after my father passed. Now he listens to jazz all the time with his earbuds in and attached to his iPhone, snapping his fingers and tapping his toes. Now it feels almost as if my dad is living through my son somehow or maybe it’s just in the genes.
There’s also another huge factor. My son’s middle school jazz band is top-notch. One of the best in the country, in fact, as rated by Downbeat Magazine. His music teacher John A. Zimny (his initials are JAZ!) teaches at both middle schools in the city of Folsom, close to Sacramento.
My son wants to play in the jazz band next year. His instrument is the baritone horn. This past year, he was in the Advanced Band. He plans to practice all summer and audition in the fall. I sure hope he gets in. I was absolutely blown away by the talent of these musicians at this concert.
Most of all, I was touched by their devotion to their band teacher and to each other, and to their high level of commitment. If you ever have an opportunity to support music in the schools, please do! It’s worth every penny and they need many more pennies.
Many of the students spoke during the concert to thank Mr. Zimny for giving them the best year of their lives. One even said she loved her jazz band more than her family. Sorry family! Kids from both of these middle schools traveled together by bus, competed against each other and, for the final concert, were on stage playing together. It was grand and what a sound!
Music has such a unifying power. Mr. Zimny told the audience that when you set the bar a little higher, you would be surprised what these kids can do. They surpassed expectations and took things further than he ever thought they could.
During the concert, my son watched in awe, snapping his fingers as he does and typing in the names of the pieces he heard into his phone.
The next day, my son gave a presentation of a poem he wrote for his English class. I was such in awe, I wanted to share it here.
The Rhythm in My Head
As I walk through the world I see a rhythm to things like a way of life while with the snap of my fingers and the blow of my horn I form a picture of the world around me, A picture full of sound and beauty where the rhythm just won’t stop. Then I open my eyes and realize the world is just too quiet.
If you want to take a listen, here’s a bit of the jazz band with Mr. Zimny conducting.
Share your vision of our magnificent Earth through your lens.
Since the Earth is 75% water, I choose a photo of our beautiful Pacific ocean. It amazes me that only 5% of this vast liquid space has been explored. It makes me wonder what’s out there for us to discover.
In the meantime, I hope we can respect our oceans so we can continue to enjoy them as only oceans can be enjoyed.
for whatever we lose (like a you or a me) it’s always our self we find in the sea.
Are you ready for spring? Are you cleaning your closets and getting organized? I just read this poem “Today” today by American poet Billy Collins and thought his lovely words would be a wonderful way to welcome spring.
Certainly, we have those days when we need to leave the chores behind and get outside. I hope you have many days like that to look forward to. Happy spring!
In my Yin Yoga class today, the teacher read a passage from Paulo Coelho’s book The Alchemist. The words inspired me and I left the class with these thoughts. Maybe you could use them, too. I’m really loving my yoga class.
****************** Stay with your breath
Come back if you lose it
In the space between
Listen for the pulse of your heart
and be open to its wisdom
“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering
is worse than the suffering itself.
And that no heart has ever suffered when
it goes in search of its dreams….”
Let your breath be a guide
Your senses a map
Let your heart soften and
absorb the sounds around you
Like individual grains of sand
We are separate
Let the earth take your weight
Together, we are one, all the same
You don’t have to understand the desert: all you have to do is contemplate a simple grain of sand, and you will see in it all the marvels of creation.