Richard-Charles Hoh, one of the great inspirations in my life, is featured on Watchfire Music’s Inspirational Song of the Week today. I hope you will take a moment to listen to Richard sing his sweet, sweet version of “The Girl Next Door”: http://watchfiremusic.com/inspirationalsongoftheweek/
Richard happens to be a dear friend. We were neighbors in the same building for years — he lived on the 29th Floor (for 43 years) and I lived on the 38th (for 15 years). Our building was (is) full of NYC performers, and Richard performed both on and off Broadway during the 60 years he lived in New York City!
Richard just turned 90 this year — a mere youngin’. He is now happily living at the The Actors Fund Home (also called the Lillian Booth Actors Home). Vibrantly, he continues to sing concerts there and has returned to his passionate, lifelong pursuit of painting portraits, while participating in a whirlwind of activities at the Home.
I’ve loved to hike since I was a kid. I’ve hiked mostly in the West, the Southwest and in the California Sierras. When I moved east, I became a true urban hiker.
For a time, I alternated between Urban Hiking in New York City and Wilderness Hiking in Colorado where we had a home up in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. It was hiking heaven there in the Sangres. Though I could rarely convince husband or son to join me, I pretty quickly found a group of new friends with whom to hike and mountain climb.
Do you know about Solo Thoughts?
It’s a great research tool to help church soloists, musical directors and music committees to find music appropriate to church services — particularly songs for the soloist. It’s called Solo Thoughts and Watchfire Music publishes this quarterly and monthly. We’ve been doing this now for about 8 years.
If you are new to Solo Thoughts, here are more specifics: Solo Thoughts matches 12 to 24 solos per week to each Christian Science Weekly Bible Lesson. It also provides a purchase link to buy in-print sheet music for your church service. This is a very detailed document that cuts your own research time down as well as introducing you to new sacred solo repertoire.
Christmas came gently this year through many exquisite moments. Here are just a few of them:
1. Subway Brother
Peter and I were going through a subway turnstile a few days ago. As I went through first, our shared metro card ran out. Peter searched through his wallet. A bedraggled man who had observed us, stepped up to Peter, took out several metro cards from his pocket and said, “Man, I just want to help you. Here.” And he swiped one of his cards for Peter to pass through. Peter thanked him and offered to pay, but the man just laughed and said, “No, man, I just want to help.”
They looked each other straight in the eyes, shook hands and grabbed each others’ shoulders. A hearty thank you from Peter, and they said goodbye. We smiled and said, “Ah, New Yorkers.” But what we really felt and acknowledged was “There goes the child of God!” It was a Christmas moment.
Florence, Italy —
I’ve been to Florence, Italy three times in my life. In fact, I am here in Florence at this very moment as I write. Each time I come to Firenze, three essentials always require my attention: Music, Art and Love.
Firenze: La Prima Volta (The First Time)
Having declared my major in music, I was just out of my freshman year of college and touring eight countries in two months with my university chamber choir, The Choraliers. We spent four unforgettable, and absolutely life-changing days in this Renaissance city singing Latin motets in Florentine churches including Il Duomo and Santa Croce.
I was constantly running after the bus, having stayed too long at the museums and in the cathedral and churches. I had just completed a semester of Art History and every time I turned a corner, there was some painting or statue that I had studied. It was mind-blowing.
I fell in love with a boy in Firenze. He was American and was traveling on his own. One of his friends was in our choral group, so when they arranged to meet up, I was swept off of my feet. (more…)