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Yo-Yo Ma & J. S. Bach

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It rained earlier that day, cleansing the earth, or should I say, preparing the earth for our evening activities. It was my first time at the Blossom Music Center in Ohio, and the first time to, finally, see Yo-Yo Ma in concert. J. S. Bach was there too, through the music, as Yo-Yo Ma performed all six Bach Cello Suites for two and a half hours. The stage was huge for one man and his musical companion, but Yo-Yo Ma took charge and owned it. He walked out on stage to rapturous applause. Even before the crowed settled in, Bach’s famous Prelude in G Major echoed throughout the pavilion and out to the grassy lawn to over 5,000 listening ears in the pavilion and probably over 5,000 more in the lawn area behind us (Blossom can fit up to 20,000 people).  About 15 minutes into the first suite, a bird began to compete with Yo-Yo and Bach for attention. He must have realized his song did not fit with the virtuoso work of Yo-Yo and Bach together and soon settled in to listen along with us.  As the night progressed and the sun went down, the crickets came out to add their own soothing commentary.

Yo-Yo Ma knows all six suites by heart and these cello suites have brought him through troubled times, giving him, “sustenance, comfort, and joy during times of stress, celebration, and loss.” Yo- Yo Ma felt the music and mirrored the music’s expression through his facial gestures and movement. It was a delight to watch him up close on the screens provided. 

In the program Yo-Yo Ma states, “I share this music, which has helped shape the evolution of my life, with the hope that it might spark a conversation about how culture can be a source of the solutions we need. It is one more experiment, this time in search for answers to the question: What can we do together, that we cannot do alone? I invite you to join me on this adventure, to listen and be inspired by helpers in your own life.”

Throughout the evening I felt alert and at the same time, such peace. A night I will never forget.

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You can listen to the Bach Suites by Yo-Yo Ma on Spotify. His new recording of the Bach: Cello Suites comes out this Friday, August 17.

Loreena McKennitt: A Year Ago Today...

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A year ago today, my friend Angie and I got to see Loreena McKennitt in concert. This was my second time seeing her live, the first being back in 2007 while in college and studying vocal performance. Loreena has been one of my favorites since I was in high school. Her voice was so unique to me the first time I heard it – it was nothing like I had heard before. Her beautiful and raw covers of traditional music, and even her own compositions just captivated me. I love songs that tell stories and express our rich history as humans. But at the same time, her music takes us to another world, full of contemplation. The concert was peaceful - just a trio instead of the full band. When she started to play her famous arrangement of The Lady of Shallot, it was a magical moment. I sang a few of her traditional Christmas arrangements for the Winter Light concert I produced this past winter and also sang her own composition, Snow (No one, not even myself, can do it better than her). She will always be an inspiration to me and I thank her for that. 

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Winter Light Concert Video Now Available

Hi there,

I am excited and humbled to share with you the video of my Winter Light Concert that happened this past January. 

Winter can be a beautiful, but a rough time of year for many of us. It ended up being that for my family. Five days before my concert my 90-year-old grandma passed away. As you can see, I went ahead with the concert, despite her passing, and staving a cold. But I did this concert because I wanted to present music that would bring some light to people’s dreary days. The songs I selected celebrate and meditate on the winter months along with their old and new traditions, and allow for us to take the time to pause and reflect as the snow falls, as we are curled up inside our homes, warm and cozy. May one or all of these songs bring a little light to your wintery days now and in the coming years. 

I want to thank so many people, who I could not have done this without them: 

Val Lemon, www.coolemonjazz.com,  for your friendship and support over the years. We finally get to perform together for a full concert!

Julie Meyer, amazing vocal teacher

 Natalie Lodico Bond: hwww.photolodico.com

Phil Walenga: www.philsimaging.com

Dan Tuma Media: www.dantumamedia.com

Creative 360 Family: www.becreative360.org

Midland Reformed Church: www.midlandreformed.org

Mike Mullis, Timbrel and Harp Productions

My parents for the food, love & support

Sarah Smith - my sanity! 

The rest of my family and friends! Thank you for your love and support and for being at my concert!