Cherry Blossoms for Piano

My radio alarm is set to my local classical station every day at 7:30 a.m. Last Monday, I heard a composition called “Cherry Blossoms.” I thought it was really pretty, so I went to find a version on YouTube. This is the best I could find of the folk tune “Sakura” (from Classic, but I’m not sure it is the same composition. Anyhow, I like both:

And of course, I always recall our own cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin every spring. My aunt and I were very lucky to see them in person once. Of course, that didn’t work out for anyone this year, sadly. Our local PBS station has a very nice special on their history. I’ve seen it a couple of times.

During my search, I discovered a pianist by the name of Michael Ortega. This is his original and lovely work called “Cherry Blossoms.” I find it very contemplative. I also like the animation, but I wish the girl pictured didn’t look so sad.




Cherry Blossom / Sakura on Clipart library | 273 Pins

In Praise of Hummingbirds

I was shopping recently for greeting cards when I saw one I liked from the Papyrus Company. Its symbol is the hummingbird. For the first time, I actually took time to read the description inserted with every card. I like it so much that I want to remember it. Here it is:

“Legends say that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and celebration. The hummingbird’s delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning and that laughter is life’s sweetest creation.”

I have always liked hummingbirds, but I’ve only seen a real one once. We were visiting family in West Virginia, and my cousin had a bird feeder hanging in a small tree near her garden. As I was sitting outside relaxing, a hummingbird came by for nourishment. I enjoyed watching it for a few minutes. Its coloring wasn’t spectacular, but it was cute.

The sentences above also made me think of the Seals and Crofts song “Hummingbird,” from 1972. I heard it as a kid, from a favorite album. Here it is:

I Hope You Dance

One of our helpers has always loved this song. It’s currently on her playlist, and she’s been listening to it a lot lately. I am reminded yet again what good advice it is. Aside from its literal meaning, dance means to live, to love, and to try–to participate in life.

Here’s the video:

Here are the lyrics:

I Hope You Dance
I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance
I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin’ might mean takin’ chances, but they’re worth takin’
Lovin’ might be a mistake, but it’s worth makin’
Don’t let some Hellbent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to sellin’ out, reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance (Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along)
I hope you dance
I hope you dance (Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder)
I hope you dance (Where those years have gone?)
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance (Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along)
I hope you dance (Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder?)
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Tia Sillers / Mark Sanders
I Hope You Dance lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

Happy 2019!

Today is New Year’s. So begins another year of doing the best I can, living life, looking ahead, and just being glad to be alive. Every day is a gift–even though, on the surface, it may not seem that exciting or special.










Lions are another of my themes for the year. In them, I see strength and fighting spirits.














I never miss the Tournament of Roses Parade. This year’s theme is music. Today, I watched it twice. Each year, the floats get more beautiful. When I think of all the work and effort that people put in, it’s just amazing! I also like the marching bands and the horses. Heck. I love everything about it! My favorites (if I had to pick one or two) were the carousel float and the float of elephants on vacation. The white peacock on another float was also very pretty.

I love all flowers. For a time, though, I couldn’t look at a flower without crying. My aunt was troubled by this. She didn’t want me to give up on flowers, growing things, and learning flowers’ names. For her, I didn’t. Now I have two ficos, a philodendron-like plant, and a window box of fall mums. I also take pictures of flowers when I see a arrangement somewhere. I took these impatiens this past summer.


The thing about flowers is that they are only around for a short time, so appreciate and really look at them while they are here.

For some reason, the other day I kept thinking of favorite songs. I learned “Wildflower” by Skylark when I was eight. The words and music made a big impression on me at the time, and they still do. Unfortunately, they don’t play it much on the radio anymore.

To me, the lady in the song has been through very hard times. Yet, she is still surviving; she won’t give up. Even so, it’s still okay to cry sometimes.


Music from “The Glass Slipper” (1955)

I always was a movie geek; lately I have become more so. Last night I watched a movie I recorded–a retelling of Cinderella called “The Glass Slipper.” I had never heard of it, but I found this version very touching. I liked the friendship between the prince and Ella, which is not present in other versions of the story.

I also got hooked on the theme song, shown in the clip and lyrics below. I rewound just so I could hear it again.  I’m surprised that the song isn’t featured in more music boxes. Such a beautiful melody!


From the film "The Glass Slipper" (1955)
(Lyrics: Helen Deutsch / Music: Bronislau Kaper)

Gilbert Russell (Film Soundtrack) - 1955
Eddie Fisher - 1955
Mantovani & His Orch. (Instr.) - 1955
David Rose & His Orch. (Instr.) - 1955
John Gary - 1964

Climbing rose on the wall
Take it now before the petals fall
Apple ripe on the bough
Take it for the time to take is now

Happy day, sun or rain
Live it for it never comes again
Lads have died, young and gay
Pretty maids can fade away

Nothing is forever, always is a lie
I can only love you till the day I die

So my love, oh, my love
Dream no more my love, awake my love
Oh, my love, wake my love
Come to me and take my love

Nothing is forever, always is a lie
I can only love you till the day I die

So my love, oh, my love
Dream no more my love, awake my love
Oh, my love, wake my love
Come to me and take my love

Image result for free clipart rose                                      Image result for free clipart rose

A Musical Way to Deal with Disappointment

I was looking forward to getting together with friends tomorrow, but for various reasons the gathering was canceled.  I’m disappointed, certainly. However, I’ll see them all again soon.

Anyway, the Gershwin tune “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” came immediately to mind and helped me to smile inwardly on a day that only got more hectic as it went on.

The song is from the film Shall We Dance, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. I’ve never seen it, but one day soon I will. The first version is from two favorites–Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. The second is a scene from the film.



A Childhood Favorite and Beyond: “Lavender’s Blue”

Lavender Flower Clip Art

Lavender Flower Clip Art

I grew up hearing “Lavender’s Blue” into adulthood because my aunt sang or hummed it all the time. Even now, she remembers the title or the melody, depending on the day. I thought of it as only a pop song, because Dinah Shore and other artists recorded it.

The song came back to me month or so ago, when I heard it in connection with a TV movie I was looking forward to watching. (The film was actually pretty good.) Afterward, I decided to research the song. Turns out it’s an English folk song dating back to the seventeenth century. It’s mostly considered a lullaby today. A few years ago, a film version of Cinderella used “Lavender’s Blue” as a theme.

A YouTube search for a favorite version (in addition to my aunt’s) lead me to the English folksinger and fiddler Jackie Oates. I’d like to hear more from her. A new mom, her latest recording is a collection of lullabies, but I think the song below is on a different album. Enjoy!



Music for the New Year–Happy 2017!!

Once again, I’m better late than never. The year 2017 is just three weeks old. I was searching for some music that reflected the new year to me in a different way. I chose Haydn’s “The Clock Symphony” because it reminded me of the passage of time, and how that isn’t necessarily a sad thing. Besides, I enjoy the melody.

I have not listened to Beethoven’s 7th Symphony in a long time. They played it on the radio the other morning. I forgot how beautiful it is.

Favorite Carols for 2016

Merry belated Christmas 2016!  Once again, my plans to play all of my Christmas CDs and tapes didn’t work out that well. Usually I play them until Epiphany, January 12. I put them away neatly yesterday. I’ll wait ’til next year. But I have been known to play The Nutcracker in July.

have always loved so many carols. I have good memories of singing them with family, even though I am not a good singer.

I learned Oh, How Lovely Is the Evening in fourth grade. I was so impressed that I came home and taught it to my aunt, and we started singing it with our other Christmas records and carols for many years. The tune appears on one of my Christmas recordings. My class performed it for the Christmas recital that year–a lot of fun!  I had so wanted to hold and move the cardboard silver bell our teacher had made, but alas, I was too short. She ended up moving it in time with us as we sang….high up over our heads. My mom and uncle attended, and I think they both enjoyed it. I remember my uncle catching my eye and smiling. I don’t recall feeling nervous at all.

Here are the lyrics:

Oh, how lovely is the evening, is the evening,
When the bells are sweetly ringing, sweetly ringing!
Ding, dong, ding, dong, ding, dong.

I found many different versions on YouTube. This is my favorite, by Jennifer Ross, aka Harp Heart Dreams. She plays a 34-string clarsach. Not knowing much about this Scottish harp, I looked it up here.  I also love her photos of Caithness, Scotland.


While I’m on the subject of clarsachs, I found “The Chanter’s Tune.”  So pretty! Not a typical Christmas tune, but I like it.


Every time I turned on the radio in the Christmas season of 2016, “The First Noel” was always playing. It has always been a favorite. Here’s some background and a performance by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir:


“The Holly and the Ivy” is another favorite. I love this arrangement. It also makes me think of Rumor Godden’s children’s story, and the holly trees in the back yard of our old home. I guess subsequent owners cut them down.

This one was new to me. I heard it in a recent production of A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre. It’s called “Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day”: 

A favorite Christmas recording is Patrick Ball’s Christmas Rose.  He plays celtic harp, and it’s just gorgeous. I have a couple of his other recordings as well.

My Intro to Opera–Bizet’s “Carmen”

In the fall of 2015, I saw my first professional production of Bizet’s opera, Carmen, by the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center. It was wonderful! I went all-out, buying a video, soundtrack album, and libretto. Sometimes you just have to listen at home as well. I was completely captivated by the costumes, set, the singing, and the lighting. The ending, though expected, left me feeling as though I had been punched in the gut.

It was my very first opera anywhere. I also thoroughly enjoyed the pre-opera presentation. Had I known about the discussion afterward, I would have stayed for that as well. Before the performance, I went over the background material in my opera reference book and listened to the info on the Kennedy Center website

I have known the music since I was a child. Sesame Street long ago featured an animation of one of the famous arias. I’ve encountered it since through music appreciation classes and other recordings. It is, arguably, one of the most performed and accessible operas. The Met is launching a new production of it in January 2017.

Classical WETA 90.9 often plays Sarasate’s  “Carmen Fantasy.” I always enjoy listing to that, Here is Sarah Chang’s interpretation:


Image result for carmen free clipart opera

Previous Older Entries