Ring in the Season

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I am thinking of Christmas bells today and how they traditionally herald in the season. There are many song lyrics sung by carolers that incorporate a story of tolling bells.
When I think of bell choirs, which are a beautiful addition to any church service, I can’t help but think of my lifelong friend Marge and her husband. Their acts of love in remembrance of their child is a lovely gesture that echos year after year in my heartstrings. Jessie suffered from a heart ailment and when she passed away as a tiny infant, the family requested that donations of kindness be given toward buying bells to build a bell choir for a church.

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On Christmas and Easter and a few other times throughout the year, Marge and her husband and their two surviving children ring the hand bells at their church in memory of Jessie and all the other children who are not here to celebrate Christmas and other holidays with their families.

Today I think of all the bell choirs who bring joy to people during the holiday season ~

“A bell’s not a bell ’til you ring it – A song’s not a song ’til you sing it – Love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay – Love isn’t love ’til you give it away!”
Oscar Hammerstein II

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, EVVY award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

 

 

Stories in Music

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conducive-to-happiness[5]Every spring and fall the Yampa Valley Choral Society holds a community concert at the United Methodist Church in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. This past weekend a group of 41 men and women and 10 young girls presented “I’ve Been Everywhere: It‘s the Journey That Counts.”

This year, the sound of young choral voices added to the concert. Ten young girls sang a few songs taken from film scores and musical theatre productions. Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head (from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) and two memorable selections from Annie – Tomorrow and It’s a Hard Knock Life (from Annie) were  included.

As usual, the arrangement of musical compositions sung by the forty-one adults were thoughtfully chosen and diverse. Spirituals included Set Me as A Seal which was paraphrased from the Song of Solomon in the Old Testament and How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place by Johannes Brahms. Words from Psalm 84 of the King James Bible were incorporated in the verses of this composition.

Karl Jenkins composition Adiemus: Songs of Sanctuary was not familiar to me, however it was sweet sounding and harmonious.  Jenkins, is a Welsh composer whose album is unintended for words, rather the voices of the chorus made instrument-like noises.

Two songs had nautical backstories to them. Over the Sea to Skye tells of Charles Stuarts escape from Scotland in 1745 via ship, along with Flora MacDonald, who traveled incognito, posing as his maid. His exile took him to France where he spent the rest of his lifetime.

Dry Your Tears, Afrika,  one of my favorite tunes of the afternoon, was taken from the 1997 movie Armistad. The story is about 53 Africans who were transported by ship from Sierra Leone to be sold as slaves. They changed their destiny when they took hold of the ship and navigated it to Long Island. The events of their journey became the subject of a Supreme Court case. If you have not seen the movie, it’s powerful.

You haven’t been anywhere unless you’ve traveled across America. Songs from past Pop Hit Charts included Homeward Bound, Surfin’ USA, I’ve Been Everywhere, and I’ll Fly Away were incorporated into the concert, as well as America from West Side Story.

I never fail to learn something from the interesting backstories of the compositions that the Yampa Valley Choral Society choses to focus the themes of their concerts around. The program notes as well as the choir Director’s commentary help tell the story of each song’s rich history and their composers.

Thank you Yampa Valley Choral Society for yet another delightful hour of music. Look forward to your fall concert.

This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

Good Friday Travels

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Easter is God’s blessing to the world. It is his way of telling us that, love and hope, still exists in the world. ~ Unknown

Today, on Good Friday a processional walk, a spiritual reenactment, will begin at the Colosseum in Rome and end in St. Peters Square for an open-air Mass on Easter Sunday. Throngs of people make their own solemn pilgrimage following the path Jesus took as he walked and prayed The 14 Stations of the Cross.

Catholics are not the only people who seek to have a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to the holy city of Rome. Every year, thousands of tourists ask travel companies to help them plan a trip to Italy during the sacred Easter week. Many special events are held in Rome this week including classical music concerts.

If you have the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to the Papal City, remember to book your trip many months in advance, especially if you plan to visit during holy week.

Today I’d like to share a few pictures of the city of Rome during Easter week. I hope you will return to All Things Fulfilling on Monday.

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No matter where you plan to go this Easter weekend travel safely. Make it a special weekend with your family as you remember the death and resurrection of Jesus.

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, the award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and Short Stories: Lessons of Heart & Soul.

 

 

Window into a Composer

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Advent – Day #11   A Window into a Composer

Art has long been associated with churches. As I sat in the Holy Name Catholic Church last Friday listening to the beautiful composition The Messiah from composer George Frederick Handel,  I was reminded of how so much music has lasted through the ages.

In “My Beloved,” chapter 16 in my award-winning memoir Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, I  kept the legacy of Frederick N. Crouch alive. This ballad was written in 1837 and the family connection is explained in the chapter.

kathleen mavorneenFor more information on ordering the award-winning memoir by Sue Batton Leonard, please go to these links.

Audio Book  http://amzn.to/1trrTl9
Paperback  http://amzn.to/1qmcEHI
e-Book  http://amzn.to/1lx7oRh

 

World Class in the Making

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It’s my belief that God gives us all gifts, special abilities that we have the privilege of developing to help us serve Him and humanity. ~ Ben Carson

unlocking the heart of an artist“Wow!” Claire  is one skilled young lady,” I thought as I sat in a pew with my husband at the United Methodist Church, http://bit.ly/1kd4g61 on Thursday evening, listening to the second senior recital of the week. She revealed her vocal talent with her ability to sing a huge range of compositions from Mozart’s De Holle Rahe to How Great Thou Art to more contemporary songs, such as Let it Go from Disney’s 2014 animated film Frozen.

But that was not all. This young lady did not hold back. Claire has much more under her belt of musical accomplishments. She demonstrated her ability to play two different types of  flutes, the piano and her latest interest – jazz on the saxophone. Through the song Whirlwinds Dancing, she exhibited what a Native American Indian taught her – how to play the Native American cedar flute.

One of Claire’s many teachers has been with her since she began playing the penny whistle at five years of age. As her teacher Mary Beth Norris said last evening “it has been a pleasure to work with Claire. She is like a sponge and to have watched her grow into a beautiful young lady with outstanding musical talent has been so special.” Claire’s  other music educators Christel Houston, Derek Hurshman, Hannah Bowers and James Knapp had to have felt the same kind of pride for their contributions to the talent they nurtured.

It is a beautiful thing to see a student who understood at a young age what she was gifted with and has had all the resources she needed to develop her special musical endowments. Claire will go on to study music at the college level.

Another delightful evening in the community of  Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Where athletes and artists work hard to become world-class.

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.Sue’s memoir

 

 

 

Film Friday: Grace Unplugged

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 “In the rhythm of life, sometimes we find ourselves out of tune.” ~ Azgraybebly Josland

grace unpluggedLet’s start the morning with a little movie trivia on this Film Friday. Alabama is the setting for Grace Unplugged, a new movie that will be released in theatres on October 4, 2013. Parts of this movie depended on a lot of extras, however, the producers found that Saturday filming made it difficult to recruit the people needed. Why? People were unusually disinterested – it seemed they didn’t care about getting their “mugs” in the shooting of a movie for cinema. That’s because the movie was filmed during football season in a state where the sport is King.

So, what is Grace Unplugged all about? A young musician who has found her audience yet outside of her community of fans, she is undiscovered. In her desire to become a top recording star Grace rejects everything she has ever known and moves to Hollywood in search for stardom. Are there elements in her previous life that will help keep her grounded?

The name of the Director, Brad Silverman, may be familiar from his other movies “No Greater Love” and It Really Happened: The Flight of Apollo 11 (TV documentary short).

Put this film produced by Lionsgate on your list for fulfilling fall movie viewing.

Click here for info & ordering Grace Unplugged
Have a good weekend, everybody.

Return on Monday to All Things Fulfilling. This blog brought to you by author Sue Batton LeonardClick for info on Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com . The space where independent thoughts, words and views are all part of the business.

Clearing the Way

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“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” ~ Pablo Picasso

Are you person who has always had an artistic calling, yet you have never pursued your passion in earnest? You are not alone. There are many people, for various reasons, who have had to travel down other career paths feeling they have not fulfilled their God-given talents.

Matt Tommey book1The book Unlocking the Heart of the Artist: Practical Guide to Fulfilling Your Creative Call as an Artist in the Kingdom speaks to this issue for the new generation of people who seek personal fulfillment as a priority in their lives. He invites others to live fully, doing what makes them happy, and to become “unstuck” by expressing themselves creatively.

The author, Matt Tommey, is a successful basket maker and art consultant from Asheville, North Carolina. His sensible messages to other artists, through his publications, helps clear the way of self-doubt by providing hope and insight to individuals who wish to thrive and become fulltime artists. His book Crafting your Brand: Simple Strategies for Cultivating a Successful Creative Career, is also a good resource for anyone who wants to pursue their calling.

A well-rounded artist, Matt Tommey,  makes a living in a combination of ways, also offering workshops on the craft of basketry. To learn more about his workshops,  how to order these publications and to see his website,  http://bit.ly/1bpQhI9 .

Do return tomorrow for Film Friday, we will be featuring a film that is soon to be released that plays well into our recent topics of writing on All Things Fulfilling. This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.