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.

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Bringing Fulfillment to Life

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The greatest discoveries have come from people who have looked at a standard situation and seen it differently.” ~ Ira Erwin

What does fulfillment mean to you? Which medium of art do you like to explore the most to find a satisfying experience? Do  you like discovering the works of new musicians, a debut author or watching a new film release?

People who love books, LOVE books! Some individuals can not get enough music in their lives, and for others – there is nothing more personally fulfilling than watching an inspiring film, whether it is on the big silver screen or not.

What is your choice of entertainment? Take our quick survey, and we will let you know the result at a later date.

Take time this summer to explore whatever it is that floats your boat in your life!

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Common Community Through Art and Culture

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“In art, the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can imagine.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have you ever noticed how artists flock together and build common community?

People find kinship in their writing, painting, poetry, music, filmmaking, knitting,the performing arts and so forth. You know how it goes. Everyone in the group speaks the same language. 

The Colorado Creative Industries has worked to identify communities where art contributes greatly to the overall culture,  enhancing the lives of local citizens and tourists.  

Telluride has been designated as a one of five prospective Creative Districts in Colorado. Forty-four towns and cities were under consideration. The goal of the Colorado Creative Industries is to bolster the artistic community by providing consulting and technical assistance and an $8,000 grant to help grow the community as an economic driver through art. 

During the winter, outstanding skiing is the impetus behind visiting this “box canyon” with stunning and dramatic scenery, but in summer it is all about art festivals. Each weekend from May to September people flock to the area for two film festivals, music concerts and gatherings of playwrite/screenwriters. There is also a Cajun weekend, chamber music, yoga and bike races,  and more. 

There is even a Compassion Festival held in Telluride, which I was not aware of until I picked up some tourist literature. This event brings in academia from different parts of the country who lecture on the benefits that compassion brings to overall health, well-being and stress reduction. Cultural differences in compassion is also part of the discussion. It is held in collaboration between the Telluride Institute and Stanford University’s Center for Compassion & Altruism Research & Education (CCARE). Interesting! Please visit this link to read more about it.

Congratulations, Telluride! When I was in the area recently I was impressed with your charming Victorian homes, art galleries, retail spaces, historic hotels, the amazing scenery and the emcompassing flavor of the artistic community. It was fun visiting. I’ll be back!

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Different Methods of Delivery

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Life is the sum of all your choices.” ~ Albert Camus

Book-lovers often get disturbed when they hear the word e-books. All they can envision is the disappearance of books in print. I can not see this happening in my lifetime.

Many people love digital readers. They are another instrument of delivering media – electronically.  Our choices for receiving news and entertainment has been expanded to film, music, radio, television, newpapers, magazines, audio books, books in print and e-books. As each form of media has arrived on the scene, it has not negated the need for the other. It has only provided new choices.

For instance, movies became available on-demand on televisions, and  DVD rentals stores opened up.  Netflix demonstrated movies could efficiently be distributed through the mail. Now a full range of movies are at our dispose by downloading them onto  personal computers and digital devices. It did not stop scores of people from going to the cinema each and every year! There is no substitute for the sights and sounds of the BIG SCREEN! Let’s be frank – visual effects are not nearly as stunning when viewed on a computer screen as when they are projected onto the big silver screen, where they are ideally meant to be.

People ask me whether I have a Kindle, a Sony or a Nook digital reader? I have a downloaded Kindle on my computer. I spend every working hour reading and writing on a computer.  At the end of the day I am not done reading but I want to switch gears. I like reading the news and books for pleasure on paper.

I want to clutch the book in my hands, smell the slight scent of ink or the hand cream left on the pages from where I left off.  I want to turn real paper pages. I don’t want to touch one more digital device.  It is as basic as that! In my opinion, there is not a fulfilling substitute for having a real book in hand.

If I asked you “What is your favorite way of having media delivered to you?” The reply would probably be “sometimes I like to listen to music, sometimes I like to read the paper, sometimes I  go to my computer…..It all depends on my mood.”

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Fabulous and Fulfilling!

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The artist does not see things as they are, but as he is.  ~Alfred Tonnelle 

Now that’s what I call a talented artist and that’s what I call making it all worthwhile! I spent a few hours of my evening, last night, volunteering as an usher at Strings in the Mountains – a beautiful venue set high in the mountains of Steamboat Springs, CO. We were treated to a fabulous concert of jazz trumpeter Chris Botti and his extarodinarily talented company of musicians.  

It is no mystery why Chris Botti has become such a successful artist at the young age of 47!  What a charmer he is! And so too, is his music. Three of his albums have reached #1 position on the Billboard of jazz album charts. He holds Gold and Platinum  and Grammy Awards and travels the world entertaining audiences 300 days a year. Just last week, he played to a sold out audience at Carnegie Hall and his August tour schedule includes stops in Victoria, Australia and Johannesburg, South Africa. Now that’s one busy artist!  

 Kudos to Strings in the Mountains for attracting an artist of this quality to Steamboat Springs, CO. Thanks to Mary Brown and John Tomasini for sponsoring this evening of art and entertainment.  

Can’t wait till Sunday when “Classical Meets Jazz” in a free community concert – available to all!  

For more information on jazz musician Chris Botti, and to listen to a sample of his music, please go to

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The Arts – Enriching Lives!


Over the weekend, I attended two cultural events – both musical in nature. One was a concert in “plein air” – out of doors on a beautiful Colorado evening in Steamboat Springs. It had been a long time since I had been to a concert of that kind – a stand up and dance kind of an affair! I enjoyed it because it was family friendly! Grandparents to toddlers could join in the fun, and they did!

The next evening, the setting was entirely different. I am a volunteer usher at Strings in the Mountains this summer. The new Strings Music Pavilion is gorgeous and even while inside, you can still see the great out-of-doors. The Strings Music Festival is host to Grammy award winning artists all summer long. Last night, I laughed till I cried at  “Four Bitchin’ Babes! ” Don’t let the name of the group offend you. There was nothing offensive about it – just pure fun and reflection on my own gender – women! The group gave a fun-lovin’  musical review of women’s quirks, frustrations and lives.

Even the men in the audience seemed to enjoy every moment.

I think more fun is in store for me this summer at Strings in the Mountains.

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