Monday, October 27, 2014

Sweet, Sweet Spirit

On Friday night, Eric and I saw an excellent performance of the play "Sweet, Sweet Spirit" presented by Manhattan Theater Works at the 14th Street Y.  Written by Carol Carpenter, it's the story of a Texas family grappling with violence, faith, sexuality, money and more.

The play briefly incorporates the hymn of the same name.  As you might expect, the tune has been in my head ever since (notably memories of the bass part that I once sang in a choral performance).

So, for some Monday morning inspiration, here is a dynamic rendition of "Sweet, Sweet Spirit" by the a cappella quartet For You:

Hat-tip: Our friend, Ann Marie Yali, who is chair of Manhattan Theater Works' board.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Smooth as Silk

One hundred years ago today, the great singer and bandleader Billy Eckstine was born in Pittsburgh.

In a segment marking the centennial, National Public Radio called him "a crooner who crossed barriers."

"Billy Eckstine was smooth as silk. He was tall and handsome, sported a pencil-thin mustache and sang in a distinctive baritone," remarked NPR's Tom Vitale.

In honor of the day, here is Eckstine with Nat King Cole performing "Rosetta":

Hat-tip: 100 Years Ago Today at Twitter (curated by yours truly)

Monday, April 21, 2014


A sunny Easter Monday calls for joyful music.  Here, compliments of Voices of Music, is the lively Bulgarian folk tune "Bučimiš"("бучиниш"):

Hat-tip: 500 Years Ago Today (new Twitter account curated by yours truly)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Good Story

I love this commercial from Thailand.  It contains a wonderful, life-affirming message:

"No one saves oneself. The community is essential." - Pope Francis

Hat-tip: Heather K.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Quis dabit oculis

For this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend," below is Costanzo Festa's beautiful and contemplative motet "Quis dabit oculis" (written in early 1514).  I think it lends itself well to the home stretch of Lent.


Hat-tip: 500 Years Ago Today (a new Twitter account curated by yours truly)

Monday, March 31, 2014

Friday, March 28, 2014

It Goes Without Saying

I recently have begun to explore the music of Nico Muhly.  His Wikipedia profile describes him as a contemporary classical music composer and arranger.  Two loaded words there: "contemporary" and "classical."  I aspire to one day have the time and talent to properly unpack them.  But, before then, let's listen to one of Muhly's works in this space.

Below is the instrumental composition "It Goes Without Saying" for this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend."  It's a clarinet piece featuring "metallic noises" (including that of a kitchen whisk) and "warm, woody sounds."  It's a stretch to call this tune "peaceful" but it's a fun ride.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Million Miles Away

I love the pacing and peacefulness of "The Moon Song" from the movie "Her."  It speaks well of the quiet and tender moments of love that can be shared by two people.

Here it is below for this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend."


Here are the tune's lyrics from the pens of Karen O and Spike Jonze:

"I'm lying on the moon
My dear, I'll be there soon
It's a quiet starry place
Time's we're swallowed up
In space we're here a million miles away

"There's things I wish I knew
There's no thing I'd keep from you
It's a dark and shiny place
But with you my dear
I'm safe and we're a million miles away

"We're lying on the moon
It's a perfect afternoon
Your shadow follows me all day
Making sure that I'm okay and
We're a million miles away"

Monday, March 17, 2014

Ever By Your Side

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

From the great John Rutter, a rather Irish-sounding blessing for the day:

Flashback: St. Paddy's 2010

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Emma Claire

Earlier today, my friends John and Allison Welch welcomed their third daughter into the world.  Emma Claire (pictured at right) weighed in at six pounds, 10 ounces.

She is a new sister for Molly and Nora.

Welcome to the party, little Emma!  I know the Holy Spirit will be your guide.

Emma is the second of four babies to be born to friends this year.  I have been remiss in noting the January 22 birth of Catherine Bridget Woods Dionisio ("Bridie"), the daughter of our church pals Nik and Katie.  In the late spring, my college buddy Alicia and her husband Mario are expecting their firstborn. My old friend Kelvin and his wife Courtney are expecting their second child this year, too.

Thanks heavens for this bumper crop!  Cue Maurice Chevalier:

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Requiem for Two

On Monday afternoon, I attended the funeral Mass of Bill Penna.  Bill died February 12 at the age of 54 following a battle with cancer.  He was a member of a political organization in which I am active.  The Mass was beautifully celebrated at St. Catherine of Siena Church on New York City's Upper East Side by Fr. Jordon Kelly, O.P. (who I know from my old gig).

Bill's funeral began with a talented schola singing the Introit and Kyrie from the Requiem Mass composed by Maurice Duruflé.  Circa 1994 - 1995, I sang this powerful piece as a member of the NYU Choral Arts Society.  It's one you never forget.  I later asked Fr. Jordan if there is an ensemble of singers at every funeral at St. Catherine's.  "No," he replied, the schola and classical selections had been requested by Bill prior to his death.

On Tuesday morning, at St. Columbkille Church in the village of Imperial in Western Pennsylvania, a funeral Mass was celebrated for Helen Kramer.  Helen, who died February 13 at the age of 86, was the mother of my Aunt Kay and grandmother of my cousins Amy, Luke, Sara, Mary Ellen and Ben.  I was sorry I was not able to be present to help celebrate the long life of this wonderful woman who was so dedicated to her family and community.

In memory of Bill and Helen, below is the Duruflé Reqieum for this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend."  We pray that they are now in God's loving embrace.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Obliteration of a Time-Stream

A good point from Ta-Nehisi Coates:

" ... I think of dying at 17, in my loudness, in my vanity, which is to say in my human youth, and I tremble. I was barely anything. I understood barely anything. When Michael Dunn killed Jordan Davis, he obliterated a time-stream, devastated an open range of changes. And somewhere on that American jury, someone thought this was justice, someone believed in the voodoo of shotguns and teleportation. Michael Dunn killed a boy, and too robbed a man of his chance to be. ... "
The photo above is from here.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Napolean of the Stump

Americans today observe "Washington's Birthday" or, colloquially, "Presidents Day."  It's a day to honor the men who have served as our nation's chief executive.

To my mind, a good tune to mark this holiday is one by the band They Might Be Giants about our efficient 11th president, James K. Polk.  Check it out:

Hat-tip: Waldie, who put this on a mixed-tape for me way back when.

Friday, February 14, 2014

804 Kilometers

For this week's St. Valentine's Day edition of the "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend," I thought I would return to the smooth sound of that young Irish trio of Glenn Murphy, Ronan Scolard and Óisín O'Callaghan. Here they are with a beautifully slow take on The Proclaimers' tune "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)."


To my husband on our first married St. Valentine's Day:

" ...  And if I grow old, well, I know I'm gonna be
I'm gonna be the man who's growing old with you ... "