Music, Observations.

American Soul

Aretha Franklin recently sang at the Kennedy Center Honors tribute to Carole King, reprising the song Carole wrote for her, A Natural Woman. The performance was glorious, and drew tears from the President, as well as from myself as I watched and listened to it later on video. Obama said of Aretha afterwords: 'Nobody embodies more fully the connection between the African-American spiritual, the blues, R. & B., rock and roll—the way that hardship and sorrow were transformed into something full of beauty and vitality and hope. American history wells up when Aretha sings.'
Family, Memoirs, Music.

Celia’s Lullaby

My mother, Celia Wiebe, has loved music for as long as I can remember. She often played music on the record player when we were growing up, mostly classical, and encouraged her children from their earliest ages to listen and to participate. She also sang around the house, and with her children; sometimes she sang solos or duets with my father in church. Her soprano voice sounded wonderful to me when she sang.
Family, Memoirs, Music.

Das echte Lied der Alpenkräuter

When I was growing up, my father taught us a little ditty from his Mennonite boyhood:

Dar war ein Mann in Tode Loch,
Und kein er sahe Mann,
Und im dem letzen Stunden,
Stunden,
Hat er das Alpenkreuter gefunden.


Play the Alpenkräuter song (vocals and piano)

It was a charming little tune, and I would sing or hum it on the off occasion during my youth. At no time did it occur to my father to translate or to explain the song, nor did it occur to me to ask. I suppose sometimes the music is captivating enough. Some time in my teens, my curiosity was finally aroused regarding its meaning and perhaps its place in Midwestern Mennonite culture, so . . .

Music, Observations.

Virtual Choir 2.0: Eric Whitacre and 2,052 singers!

If you enjoy choral music, you won't regret spending five plus minutes listening to this lush rendition of Eric Whitacre's "Sleep", performed by over 2,000 singers!  As in his first virtual choir performance, Eric collected individual parts recorded via webcam from all over the world, and combined them in a single video to produce amazing choral sound.  (The video is five and 1/2 minutes, but the credits are necessarily long, with so many artists involved.)

Eric Whitacre gave a short TED talk shortly before releasing this video, where he talks about how it came about, and focuses on a few of the performers; he comes across as a very sweet person.