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Gospel Choir Newbie and other reflections on music (Spiritual Journey Thursday)

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Watoto Children’s Choir in Canada – 2013 (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

I cannot remember a time when music wasn’t part of my life. The steel-backed Heintzman that I grew up with— that my mom played with flowing chords and that I attacked at 6 a.m. to practice scales, arpeggios and four-note chords in my Royal Conservatory days—still lives with me.

One of my earliest memories is of Dad, up early to do laundry with Mom. He helped her by pinning the loads of diapers to the clothesline. Between loads, he put on records of rousing gospel music with voices and brass ensembles that drifted into my bedroom.

Singing was an integral part of my Mennonite church and community—rich singing in harmony. From childhood on I sang in choruses and chorales, small groups, and mass choirs. Early in life I learned the pleasure of harmonizing with my alto-range voice, using it cooperatively as part of a many-voiced instrument.

Music is still a huge part of my life. Perhaps it’s no wonder that my Spotify app is a close second behind photos for space used on my iPad. It is also testimony to how music’s delivery has changed—many times over in my lifetime—from records, to 8-tracks, to cassette tapes, to CDs. That Spotify business is evidence of the latest change—one I adopted by necessity.

We listen to music a lot when we travel. So when I discovered, just after we had sealed the deal on a new car in 2016, that it had no CD player, I all but panicked. What would we do for music?

A few days later, through our music savvy son, we discovered the music-sharing behemoth, Spotify and the Bluetooth capability of my iPad and our new Honda. I’ve hardly bought a CD since.

Music is the sound track to many hours of my life, especially those spent in the kitchen. Some of my favourite artists are Matt Maher, Shane and Shane, Audrey Assad, Don Moen, Fenando Ortega, and Andrew Peterson, to begin the naming.

The poem, below, is one I wrote a few years ago, after we joined our church choir which, at the time, was very into singing Black Gospel.

Gospel Choir Newbie

You sing coffee
dark, strong, edgy
your bodies a caffeine choreography
with the Hallelujah beat
and the Praise the Lord bop
and the vamp
and the vamp
and the vamp
Amen!

In me the notes are Sweet Jesus
honey flow over vocal cords
wrap themselves around arms
legs, trunk, hold spellbound
mesmerized, forget
to clap, do those little two-steps
and dips to make
our robes sway
as one.

© 2009 by Violet Nesdoly (first published on VerseWrights)

Now, here’s some Black Gospel that really moves—no out-of-sync forgetting in sight! The Watoto Children’s Choir, is an arm of the Watoto Mission of Uganda.

Beat of Your Love – Watoto Children’s Choir

spiritualjourneyfirst-thursday-copyThis post is linked to Spiritual Journey First Thursday, hosted today by Karen Eastlund at Irene Latham’s blog, Live Your Poem.

Thanks Karen & Irene!

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Nourished by music (Spiritual Journey Thursday)

sjt-2017-graphicToday is the first Thursday of September and time for the monthly Spiritual Journey Thursday post. This month we’re hosted by Ramona, who is discussing her one-little-word for 2017 – NOURISH (what a fabulous word!).

One of the first things that comes to mind as soul and spirit nourishment for me is music. Though its delivery has changed over the years (from records, to eight tracks, to  cassette tapes, to CDs to, now, a streaming service), my appetite for and enjoyment of it hasn’t diminished. If anything it has increased.

When I joined Spotify (a music streaming service) a vast array of music was suddenly available to me at a tap of an app. Wow! In browsing around this huge resource, I stumbled on some ready-made playlists of worship music that introduced me to songs and artists I had never heard before. One such was Audrey Assad.

The first song of hers that snagged my attention was “Even Unto Death.” Her beautiful clear voice and the haunting melody begged to be replayed. Then the lyrics of this love song to Jesus captured my heart.

I found the song on YouTube (Audrey’s own channel), sung against the stark but stunning visuals of a snowy landscape. Even more moving, though, is Audrey’s own explanation of her inspiration to write this song—an ISIS video no less!

You can hear the song and Audrey’s explanation of why she wrote it below:

This song, along with others, is now part of my own worship playlist which is growing regularly as I discover more songs that nourish my soul and spirit.

 

 

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Tambourine

HE IS RISEN
HE IS RISEN INDEED!

tambourine-628021_640

Image: Pixabay

Tambourine

(Inspired by “THE DANCE” a painting by Donna Smallenberg)

Strike me with your hand
beat me on your hip
join harp and lyre band
rejoice with voice and lip

Jingle glad hello
Celebrate goodbye
Let the worship flow
Praises vault the sky

Hear approaching song
of tambourine and flute
castanets and harp
prophets no longer mute

Instrument of war
timbrel marks the blow
in battle of Yahweh
that conquers deadly foe

See our mighty God
in victory parades
singers, harps, a band
joined by the timbrel maids

Dulcet moons of grace
in city from above
joy dances in the hands
of faith, hope and love

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Prompt – Inspiration
One of Diane Lockward’s newsletters challenged:
Let’s do an ekphrastic poem. First find a painting or photograph that captures your imagination…. Let your imagination be stimulated by the artwork.

The piece of artwork I chose was “The Dance” by Donna Smallenberg.

~*~*~*~*~

VintagePADThis April I’m celebrating National Poetry Month by posting some not-as-yet published poems from my files, along with what inspired them. If the prompt inspires you to write a poem of your own, you’re welcome to share it in comments. Whether you write or not, thanks so much for dropping by!

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Posted by on April 16, 2017 in Ekphrastic, Objects, Religious

 

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Christmas Snapshots #haikuforhealing

Though I haven’t joined in on Poetry Friday for a couple of weeks, I’ve enjoyed reading the #haikuforhealing (Mary Lee Hahn’s idea)  that keep popping up in my Twitter feed and various blogs this December.

Today I’m  bringing my little haiku side-dish to the potluck.

village-2

Image scanned from an old Christmas card

Christmas Snapshots #haikuforhealing

Road choked with cars.
She signals merge—let her in…
That’s the spirit!

Smell of poppycock
on my early morning walk—
only at Christmas.

🎼 Chestnuts roasting…
O come all ye faithful 🎹
I’ll be home. 🎶

Christmas Eve—all here,
lists ticked off, fridge full, feet hurt.
Soak in candlelight.

Trash bins overflow
tissue, Santa wrap, packing…
We are so blessed!

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

Now, a Merry Christmas,  Happy Hanukkah (or whatever winter, or summer [if you’re down-under] holiday you celebrate) to all!

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Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Buffy Silverman at Buffy’s Blog.

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Posted by on December 23, 2016 in Christmas, Haiku, Poetry Friday

 

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pulse

Music-Mural

You’ll find this lively musical mural in downtown Langley, B.C. (Photo © 2013 by V. Nesdoly)

pulse

“Music to me is like breathing—
I don’t get tired of breathing,
I don’t get tired of music” – Ray Charles

music is the moon-pull of the blood
it snares the heartbeat
in hypnotic rhythms
of smoky blue jazz

it snares the heartbeat
with swaying taproots
of smokin’ hot jazz
while husky voices croon

swaying taproots
of sashaying saxophones
those husky voices croon
a pan flute of echoes

and sashaying saxophones
fingers snap, feet tap
a spoon band of echoes
and triple-tonguing trumpets

hands clap, toes tap
voice hums, whistle parrots
those triple-tonguing trumpets
circulating in the bell tower of my head

voice hums, whistle parrots
the hypnotic rhythms
circulating in the bell tower of my head
for music is the moon-pull of the blood

© 2012 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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June is African-American Music Appreciation Month in the U.S. I discovered that fact on the Brownilocks website (my go-to place when I want to find out what’s being celebrated when).

When I read that, I thought immediately of the poem, above, that I wrote in 2012. I was part of Tabatha Yeatts’ poem swap that summer and she gave the quote above the poem as a prompt for us.

I sent the poem to my swap partner, and later entered it in a contest, where it garnered an “Editor’s Pick”  and was published in the Summer 2014 issue of Time of Singing.

Music of all kinds has opened up for me in the last few weeks. That’s because the car we recently bought has no CD player. In my search for what to do for music especially on long trips (can’t travel without lots of music!), my son suggested we subscribe to Spotify. I did and find I can download tunes to play offline and the Bluetooth receiver in the car cordlessly picks up what’s on my iPad. Woot! We’re groovin again.

Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by MsMac at Check It Out.

 
 

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