Join SingPositive, JP! for our Spring Concert!
Sunday, May 19th, 4pm @ St. John’s Episcopal Church (1 Roanoke Ave.)
“Awake, My Soul” – celebrating spring, change, growth, and rebirth
with JP’s biggest intergenerational chorus and band
Songs from Mumford & Sons, Michael Jackson, The Muppets,
James Taylor, “Hair,” Peter, Paul and Mary, and more
Tickets available at the door or by emailing us:
$10/adults, $5/kids ages 2-16.
“Join” our Facebook event and invite your friends!
Spring descended on Jamaica Plain this past weekend with the annual Wake Up the Earth Festival presented by Spontaneous Celebrations. This was the 35th annual festival, an event that grew out of the “highway revolt” of the 1960s & 70s when local activists opposed the construction of highway infrastructure in Jamaica Plain & Roxbury, leading to the creation of the Southwest Corridor as a system of train lines, bike paths, and parks that we enjoy today. Ironically, some people who want to create new prioritized highway infrastructure for cars marched in this year’s parade which I guess shows that this festival takes all kinds. The festival itself was home to many tents of activists of many causes, food, games, and musical performances. My family and I sang a few songs with the intergenerational chorus SingPositive, JP in preparation for our concert on May 19th. We also danced to Maaak Pelletier’s jam band the Mystical Misfits as they played Grateful Dead classics. Finally, the potato sack slide down the hillside was great fun for everyone.
A peace sign and yin yang grow out of the hillside at Jamaica Pond’s Sugar Bowl.
Peace and flowers!
The Brendan Behan quote seems appropriate to the occassion.
Spanish banner for the festival.
Here comes the parade.
The stilt walkers always impress.
I’m pretty sure this woman participates every year.
The theme of the year is snakes and these folks won the Best Family Costume award.
Hula hooping is another big highlight of the festival.
Mobile percussion unit.
The wolf and the lamb dance in the street.
A rocking marching band and dancing stilt walker.
Scholars from my son’s school march.
The Mystical Misfits lead the dance.
More photos from the parade and festival on Universal Hub and JP Patch.
The songs in my head this week, of course, are the songs I’m rehearsing for a concert called Beck’s Song Reader Performed Live. The show is next Thursday, February 28, 2013 at Somerville Theatre in Davis Square (on the Red Line) at 8:00. Beck released his 2012 album Song Reader entirely as sheet music, and 150 of Boston’s best musicians, dancers, and performance artists will be presenting their interpretations of all 20 songs. My choir will perform an arrangement of one song a capella and provide accompaniment to four other songs.
Get your tickets now for $25/seat as this show is sure to sell out!
The choral centerpiece is a song called “The Wolf is on the Hill.” In this video, you may hear us rehearsing a couple of weeks ago. We sound even better now. At the end of this clip you can also hear a small portion of “Title of the Song” which is the grand finale of the concert.
The choir is also accompanying Sarah Ribdau and Peter Moore on their rendition of “Please Leave the Light On When You Go” and Peter Moore’s take of “Heaven’s Ladder”:
The choir is participating on a fifth song as well, “Don’t Act Like Your Heart Isn’t Hard” by Molly Zenobia. This may be my favorite of all the songs I’ve heard, but you’ll have to take my word for it and come to the concert to hear it, because there is no demo.
Some other songs you will hear at the concert include:
- “Why Did You Make Me Care” by Mary Bichner:
- “Now That Your Dollar Bills Have Sprouted Wings” by The Highland Drifters
- “Old Shanghai” by Mary Bichner
This barely scratches the surface, as there will be a dozen more songs plus choreographed dance performances for each number.
So buy your tickets now!!!
Next week, I will singing in a 50-person kick-ass choir as part of a concert called Beck’s Song Reader Performed Live. The show is next Thursday, February 28, 2013 at Somerville Theatre in Davis Square (on the Red Line) at 8:00. Beck released his 2012 album Song Reader entirely as sheet music, and 150 of Boston’s best musicians, dancers, and performance artists will be presenting their interpretations of all 20 songs. My choir will perform an arrangement of one song a capella and provide accompaniment to four other songs. Get your tickets now for $25/seat as this show is sure to sell out!
In the coming months I will be singing thrice weekly with a variety of organizations. It looks like it will be a lot of fun, although maybe a challenge for time commitments as well with rehearsals starting this week.
For the first time, I will be singing with the Mystic Chorale. The fall concert Pastures of Plenty – Woody Guthrie at 100 will take place Saturday, Nov 17, 8:00pm and (my birthday!) Sunday, Nov 18, 3:30pm at Tremont Temple in Boston. I’m looking forward to singing songs written and inspired by one of my all-time favorite persons.
My son and I will also once again be performing with SingPositive, JP. This multi-generational, family chorus will be making our sophomore outing with a concert themed on Optimism in Hard Times on Sunday, December 16th, 4pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Jamaica Plain. If you are looking for a musical, community experience, I definitely recommend looking into SingPositive which is branching out into other communities in the Boston area.
Finally, my daughter and I will be attending regular classes of Music Together at the Children’s Music Center of Jamaica Plain. There’s no performance with this one but it may be the most fun. I enjoyed singing with my son when he was little and look forward to repeating the experience and introducing my baby girl to music and rhythm.
This post is partially shameless self-promotion to get you to come out to my performances, but I also hope that anyone looking for opportunities to sing and perform music in the Boston area (with or without children) will see this post. I highly recommend all of these organizations and suggest you check them out and get involved if you’re interested. If you know of any good singing and music activities in the Boston area, let me know in the comments.
My son and I journeyed to the Ecotarium for Free Fun Fridays. The Ecotarium is a science museum surrounded by outdoor compound including nature trails, animal exhibits, a playground, and even a train ride. We had a great time with the only downside being that my parochial Bostonian view found the drive to Worcester a bit too long.
Walking on air.
A fox named Sox.
Turkeys on the prowl.
My son Peter & I participated in Boston’s citywide bike ride Hub on Wheels yesterday, our second consecutive year of participation. Participants could ride a 10-mile route on Storrow Drive or extend it to 30 and 50-mile routes around the city. We did an abridged version of the 30-mile route ending at the Arnold Arboretum since it’s near our home.
The ride started at City Hall with thousands of riders (apparently 5000 total) lined up past the Old State House. It was exciting to turn Storrow Drive into a big bicycle party. Peter enjoyed passing his day care center twice. The route then followed the Muddy River along Park Drive and the various Ways (River, Jamaica, and Arbor) to the Arboretum. Honestly the ride went by almost too quickly for me. We started at 8:08 am and arrived at the Arboretum around 9:20. I’d like to ride farther but there’s only so long one can expect an active 3-year-old to sit still in a bike seat.
The event went off without a hitch, with perhaps the one exception of the rest area at the Arboretum. The portable toilets and snack stands were set up along the road right in front of the visitor center creating a huge bottle neck as thousands of bicyclists tried to cram in. Last year the rest area was deeper in the Arboretum where Meadow Road and Forest Hills Road meet allowing a place for bikes to pull off without obstructing ongoing traffic.
Nevertheless, Peter & I had a good long snack on the hill by the visitor center. The bike traffic cleared out quickly and about fifteen minutes later it seemed that almost all the other cyclists were well on their way. We stayed in the Arboretum to play at Peter’s favorite little bridge, throwing rock and sticks in the stream.
Hub on Wheels is a great event and I love that every year Boston becomes more and more of a bicycle-friendly city. I’m going to have to figure out how to ride next year since Peter will have outgrown his child seat.
Video of thousands of cyclists at the starting line:
On Sunday June 26th, my son Peter & I rode in the fundraiser Bike-A-Thon for Bikes Not Bombs. We were able to raise $376 for this worthy cause (feel free to add to our donations). All-together 464 riders raised over $135,000 to support the work of Bikes Not Bombs!
My photos are online and some other great photographs from a professional photographer are also available.
The 15-mile riders prepare to set out.
- There were rides of 65-miles, 25-miles, and 15-miles in length. We rode the shortest of these, the longest I could expect Peter to stay still.
- Riders were sent off with a “trumpet” blast played through a modified set of handlebars.
- The PA system was powered by cyclists spinning on stationary bikes.
- There were an impressive number of children riding on their own bikes on the 15-mile ride.
- Some of the steepest hills were near the start of the ride challenging everyone especially the young children.
- The first place I’d never been before was the Stony Brook Reservation which featured a bike path through the woods that felt miles away from the city.
- The path rather gloriously zipped downhill, but wet pavement and downed leaves forced me to be cautious.
- Near our rest break there were well-uniformed adults playing baseball.
- We returned to urban Boston passing through the rusty but charming Hyde Park area. The neighborhood was very quiet on a Sunday morning.
- When I finally returned to parts of the city I’d been to before on Walk Hill Avenue, I didn’t recognize it at first.
- Another new discovery is a corrections facility right behind Forest Hills Cemetery. I live on the opposite side of the cemetery and never knew it was there.
- In Franklin Park we saw men playing cricket in the field by the zoo. We were not able to find a toilet or port-a-potty that was open (several were chained shut) for when Peter really needed to pee.
- At the finish of the ride we were awarded medals made of old bike parts! Mine was a chainring, Peter’s a brake lever.
- The Green Roots Festival was a great follow-up to the ride (and very JP).
- Free food for the riders, which was delicious – hummus, beans, salad. Yum, yum, yum!
- Musical entertainment include some great drummers. Peter enjoyed that a band of bucket drummers had left their instruments out for children to play with.
- Children of all ages enjoyed zipping down the hillside on potato sacks down a large strip of cardboard. Peter spent most of the afternoon doing this. There were no real rules other than that you had to get off the slide so as not to be in the way of the next slider.
- Other activities we admired but didn’t participate in included yoga, face painting and massages.
Tired but happy we went home to cool off in the wading pool. I had a great time and would love to do this ride again next year. Come join me!