Thursday, March 22, 2007

It's official....I've moved. Change your links and keep reading Songbird's posts at Quarter Notes . Hope to see you at my new place soon!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I'm back!! Hope I haven't lost all my readers during my long absence. I'm trying out a new blog site at Quarter Notes . Check it out and tell me what you think!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Just a quick post tonight with a picture of my pretty spring flowers. I took my middle school choir to contest last Friday. They did such a great job! They received three excellent ratings on their prepared music and they earned a superior in sight reading.

For those of you who are clueless about sight reading, it works like this. The choir and their director enter the sight reading room where a judge is waiting. A student assistant gives the director a piece of music to study while the same piece of music is being handed out to the students. The students must keep their copies of the music face down until the judge tells them they may look at it. The judge begins a timer when he tells the students they may look at their music. The students and their director now have three minutes to work the music (which they have never seen before). During the three minute period, the choir must learn the rhythm of the music, establish the key that the music is in and attempt to sing the music correctly without accompaniment. When the timer goes off, the choir can sing through the music once with piano accompaniment. The choir is then given one more minute to work through any problems and make any corrections necessary. All the work done during this one minute period is without accompaniment. When the timer goes off again, the pianist gives the starting note or chord only and the choir must sing the music a cappella for final adjudication. Needless to say, sight reading is not an easy task!

The next day I took two high school auditioned ensembles to contest. Both of the ensembles received three excellent ratings on their prepared music. The high school groups also earned excellent ratings in sight reading. All in all, it was a great weekend for my choral program.

I am leaving this Thursday to judge sight reading at another choral contest in Jonesboro which is almost six hours away from where I live. I will be judging Thursday afternoon and evening, all day Friday and all day Saturday.

In the meantime, I am doing research and polling for a report that I will eventually submit to my school administrators. I have to prepare lesson plans for my substitute on Thursday and Friday. I have list of about twenty-five other things that must be done before I leave early Thursday morning. So, I will not be posting or commenting for a while. I hope to catch up with blogging activities next week!


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Eagle Watching

Last Sunday, while my nieces were visiting, Mom and I took them on one of our many expeditions to Lake Wilhelmina to watch the eagles. Eagles winter in this area and they are such an exciting bird to spy in the wild. It was a brisk Sunday afternoon with strong wind gusts. We bundled up and armed with cameras and binoculars we traveled to our favorite viewing spot on the northeast end of the lake. It was an amazing day!! We saw six eagles soaring above the lake all at once. Two of the birds eventually flew to a pine tree across the lake where they sat side by side and viewed the shenanigans of the remaining four. Suddenly, one of the airborne eagles paused in mid-air, suspended for several seconds with talons extended before dropping to the water so fast I could barely keep tracking it with my binoculars. The eagle hit the water with an audible whop then rose with a glint of silver in his talons. The four of us watched in awed silence. What a fantastic event to witness!

Can you see the eagle? It is at the very top of the tree closest to the center of the picture. I crept closer and closer trying to get a good shot with my limited photographic equipment. To be honest, the bird made me a bit nervous. It was really keeping a close watch on me and it kept ruffling its wings. Still, I crept closer until I got this shot.

I felt like I was standing right beneath the tree and I was closer than I've ever been to an eagle in the wild. My nieces were waiting for the eagle to attack. I was pretty much thinking along those same lines myself.

We saw quite a few ducks, cormorants and other water fowl including a kingfisher. We were lucky enough to observe the kingfisher diving for a tasty morsel several times. He completely immersed himself in the water before flying up to a stump to chow down. It truly was a wonderful day. I wish I had taken more pictures, but I was too busy watching. The picture below is from a Christmas card that my brother sent me. Beautiful, isn't it?


Sunday, February 18, 2007

What They Mean To Me

I knew this Fun Monday assignment would prove very difficult. I am a collector...antiques, heirlooms, memorabilia, junk...whatever you want to call it....I collect it. Narrowing the assignment to just one object was impossible. The bulk of what I own is old, used, somewhat battered and most of it has a memory dear to my heart somewhere in its provenance. From my dad's last pair of cowboy boots that sit on a bench in my living room to my Granny W.'s complete set of "company" dishes that she bought from a peddler...and let's not forget my Grandpa T.'s garden hoe that is worn so thin and sharp that it is like a horizontal knife with an extra long many items full of sentiment reside in and around my home. And while the objects themselves are dear, the memories they evoke are even more precious.

All the quilts in this picture were hand pieced and quilted by either my Granny W. or my Granny T. My baby quilts are hanging on the back of the rack. The two predominantly green quilts were high school graduation gifts. The quilt on the bed was made by Granny W. and holds an extra special place in my heart. Every print quilt piece was cut from a dress I wore as a little girl. I'll have to take a better picture of it to post in the future because it truly is a work of the heart. The little black lamb on the window sill was a gift from my godmother when I was born. And the two cats on the bed are dear feline friends who have moved on to kitty heaven. This picture was taken in the late 80's in my apartment in Salisbury, Maryland.

This is a corner of my current bedroom. My dad made the benches out of wood from our old barn. The birdhouses are hand-made. I found the sewing notions and thread chest in a local antique store. I keep jewelry in it. I got the chest of drawers at an auction for $65.00. I stripped two awful layers of paint from it to arrive at its lovely natural finish.

It was a sad time when my uncle began to tear down my grandparent's fine old farmhouse. My dad salvaged a lot of wood from the old house. He made several of these little benches from Granny's yellow painted kitchen cabinets. It means so much to have many things that my dad made from wood. He was an exacting craftsman. It is like icing on the cake to know the wood is from structures in which I spent countless hours of my childhood.

A shrub may not actually be an object, but this forsythia has special meaning because it grew from a root of my Granny W.'s forsythia. I am so thankful that I dug that root. The original shrub was destroyed when Granny's house was torn down and a new home was built in its place. I now have three more forsythias in my yard taken from roots of this shrub. I love that continuity; that something my Granny planted and cared for thrives in my own piece of the earth.

I got this old rattan chair at an auction. You may see it as a piece of junk, but I saw it as a nice addition to my herb garden. My parents and I used to go to auctions every weekend. Dad just loved to "wheel and deal." The garlic chives blooming so nicely in front of the chair came from the herb garden of my mom's friend. In fact, the beginnings of my whole garden came from that same woman. Continuity.

These are just a few of the many 'objects' that hold special meaning for me. I have a deep love and appreciation for all things old. We discard and and replace things too easily in our modern world. Sadly enough, we tend to treat old people that way too. There is a line from the movie Seabiscuit that sums up how I feel. It goes something like don't throw something away just because it is a little beat up. It still has some use to it and besides it's just nice to look at.

Visit Karmyn for more Fun Monday posts!


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Musical aficionados have long been enamoured with the purity of boy's unchanged voices. I recently discovered a vocal ensemble that takes my appreciation of the unchanged voice to a new level. 'Libera' is a group of young male performers who meet together at a church in South London to produce some of the most hauntingly beautiful vocal works I have ever heard. Their range and vocal flexibility is nothing but phenomenal. "With shimmering mystical chords and ecstatic harmonies, their voices provide a truly liberating and uplifting experience. At times chillingly plaintive, at others climactic and transcendent."

'Libera's' most recent recording, Angel Voices, is truly not to be missed. A variety of songs are offered all sung in a style that can only be described as ethereal. "They are boys, and they sing, but don't call them choirboys. 'Libera' prefer to be called a vocal group--a real boy band, if you like. And from the first soaring atmospheric moments of this CD you know that they are unlike any vocal group--or choirboys--you've ever heard."

You can view a complete listing of the songs from Angel Voices and hear sound clips at Libera:Angel Voices

On the 'lighter' side......

A perfect Valentine greeting for those of us who have run into trouble with matters of the heart ;)


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Why I Love Where I Live

I love where I live because this is where my story began. This county in Arkansas has been home to my family for over one hundred years. This is my home. This is my history. This is my heritage.

My part of Arkansas has hills, mountains, rivers and lakes. This land has a visceral pull that reaches to the very core of my soul. It strengthens. It sustains. In this land, I find peace.

I love the feel and smell of spring in the Arkansas air.......

I love the lush greenness of an Arkansas summer.....

The blaze of autumn-dressed trees and the frosty breath of an Arkansas winter.

I love where I live because I belong. I know my neighbors. We share past, present and future. We are a community. We are self-sufficient yet we share deep concern for each other. There is security. There is safety.

I've lived in five different states in large metropolitan areas that have populations of more than the entire county where I currently reside. Each place had its own beauty and its own good people. But the urban landscape no longer holds much appeal for me.

I am Southern born and bred. I was raised on God, greens and gracious living. I love where I live because I can spend an entire day sitting on a porch, sipping iced tea and visiting. And that day is considered an accomplishment of great merit rather than a waste.

Thank ya'll for comin' by. I surely enjoyed our visit. Come back soon and in the meantime, head on over to Marnie's place to find out why some other folks love where they live.