gift ideas for music lovers
Please Read: Gift for Inner City School of the Arts
Violettes by Becky holds an Annual Youth Composition Competition. "Inner city" students can enter at no cost. This year 3 schools (from New York, Philadelphia and Oakland, CA) have involved students, or rather 3 phenomenal teachers. These students don't compete with the other entries. So, Violettes by Becky arranges for additional prizes. Asking the teacher who entered 26 students with "Garage Band" computer compositions what he needs for his classroom, he is in need of a $210 voice recorder (actually, he would like 2 of them). Violettes tried to bid for one on ebay, but it quickly went to $149 (above our price range). Violettes by Becky is able to give $50 towards this for the classroom for the Oakland, CA school, Roots International. Can anyone donate to this cause? Thanks so much for your help.
Email me at ViolettesbyBecky@gmail.com to Pledge (with Pledge in subject line.)
If you are interested in helping another school of the arts, or know of one that might want to participate next year, please contact us.
Gift Ideas for Music Lovers -
Recording of Young Violettes or Band Poster?
Dear Gentle Readers,
Or a Guitar Purse?! You arrived here because you love that all girl rock group called Young Violettes that you see in a television Commercial. You are not alone! Our Violettes website statistics from the last three months is posted below. It shows over 4,000 people landing on the Violettes by Becky site looking for info about the Young Violettes (or Violette) Group. I have spent a lot of time researching this for you, and have posted several blogs on this group. I can tell you that it is just a TV commercial, However never fear, because music festival season is approaching fast! And if you love girl rock groups you should love our Gift ideas for Music Lovers. Enter Free Drawing at the bottom of this page.
Since so many folks land here, we would love to know a few things. Can you please answer some questions below? Put your answers in the comments section at the bottom of the page. THANKS!!!!!
- 1. Tell us about the music you hear from the Young Violettes Rock band, as I have never seen the commercial.
- 2.Please describe for me how these Young Violettes are dressed? Eclectic fashion, genes and t-shirts...?
- 3.What kind of music genres is your favorite?
- 4.Are you people male or female looking up this group, and are you under 20, or between 20 and 30?
- 5.Do you know that our Guitar Purse makes a great gig bag or man bag painted black with your initials, and are purchased for and by men to hold a head mic., spare picks and strings...?
- 6.In fact, our Hand Painted Guitar Purse can have any painting on it that you like, even your pet, Old Blue! alternatively, if you love crafts, you can send for a DIY Bag to paint your own.
- 7. Lastly, if there were a Young Violettes Rock Band, would you buy a recording of them, tickets to their concert if they came thru town or/and a poster of them?
Another Area Music Treasure
Many Knoxvillians don't know about the Oak Ridge Civic Music Association (ORCMA) concert series. I just attended a wonderful concert by the the Oak Ridge (Symphony) String Quartet. They couldn't have chosen harder music, me thinks. I am proud to say that two of the players are Violettes Violin Purse owners! The really special kind, the handmade ones that make extra special Violin Gifts! That said, the music was spectacular. It was all from the Romantic Period from composers Schubert, Mendelssohn and Grieg. I think of romantic music as slow and "drippy". This music was swift to put it mildly. And the program notes for the concert were dripping with the author's personality.
The quartet concert was just one from the Chamber Music Series. The series is fun with such variety. I attended the Classical Guitar Concert earlier in the season, and hope to attend the next on Saturday May 7 with the Aspen String Trio and Eugenia Moliner on Flute. Please google the Oak Ridge Symphony and Chorus concert schedules.
Also sponsored by ORCMA, is a spectacular free concert series called Coffee Concerts. Google the ORCMA web site to find the schedule of all the concerts. Next up with them is Donald Daugherty on Piano and Organ on Sunday, 6 March 2016 - 7:30pm. The series are usually held at: Oak Ridge First Presbyterian Church, 1051 Oak Ridge Turnpike. Some of Knoxville's hidden music treasures have performed there FOR FREE! (Of course ORCMA and the musicians, would love and deserve donations, but don't push this at the concerts). The Trillium Trio has performed in these series along with the Soiree Winds. When I first heard each of these 2 groups, I couldn't believe I have missed hearing them for so long!
Another awesome concert venue that is often sadly very empty is at the UTK Concert Hall, the Sandra G. Powell Recital Hall. There is so much going on there, and again, so much for free. Check the UTK Music Department web site for concert schedules. There are faculty concerts, student concerts and guest concerts in addition to the "Ready for the World Music Series" (founded and directed by UTK Violin Professor, Dr. Miroslav Hristov). The "World " concerts feature artists from around the world! They even have a display about the culture and a full food reception all for free (but could use donations).
The next UTK guest artist recital Is Pro Arte Quartet on Monday, February 29 at 8:00 p.m
The next "World" concert is: Sunday April 3 with music from Scandinavia.
Ticketed Events include the Young Pianist Series and an annual concert from International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, South Quarterfinal Tournament. I have attended both, and both are extremely wonderful. We once heard the phenomenal Doric String Quartet there for free, although we gave a donation check. They by the way own Violettes Violin Gifts in the form of handmade violin and cello bags to keep spare strings and things. I am told the 2 violinists travel with their violin bags.
Another Knoxville Music Treasure, is the Guitar Society. Regular concerts are held at Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan. We Interviewed the society founder, Larry Long in a Previous blog (also a proud owner of a Violettes Guitar Bag). The next concert is on Saturday March 7 at 7PM with the Duende. Duende is an exciting duo based in Cleveland, Ohio, which combines the sounds of the classical guitar and the saxophone.
So if that isn't enough to get you out, contact me below, and I'll give you more!
Nashville Tourism or Greece?
If you're planning the Nashville tourism route, you'll need a Violettes Guitar Purse or Fiddle Purse for your outfit. If you plan to attend the Symphony or Opera there, our Grand Piano Purse or Violin Purse maybe more your style. Either for Greece or Nashville, it's that time of the year to plan your summer vacation. So, I sit here spending my days studying Salesforce Apps and have neglected the duty to plan out our 25th Anniversary vacation. Oh, I've gone thru a couple of motions, but not proper planning for such an opportunity. The main thing I think is that I need to bring a suitcase full of "supplies" for refugees that we surely will bump into.
Since my husband hasn't managed to get an updated passport yet, we may have to check out the Nashville tourism scene this year for a quick short get-away - postponing our big vacation a year; as we want to go before the big summer crowds arrive.
Going to Nashville?
I have stayed in some great airbnb's on trips to Nashville. If you want to get the better deals, you need to book early. A top attraction in Nashville, after a festival, is the Country Music Hall of Fame. I have never been on their studio tours, but instead, we stopped at an out of the way studio on our own during a non busy time by luck, and got a private tour. In one of my many trips to Nashville, I stumbled on the beautiful area around Percy Priest Lake. (I am more of a country lover and hiker than a city slicker myself). Of course there are all the music and music star related museums and concert venues. And endless foodie delights in a city so rich in culture. Don't forget to bring your star gazing shades, you just might bump into someone famous. For specific recommendations, contact me thru the bottom of this page.
Going to Greece?
But as for Greece, Santorini vacations are rated as the most romantic on lists for honeymoons around the world. Rent a sailboat to an otherwise unreachable beach, have a wine cooking lesson, visit the excavations, see museums of a different sort than you'll find with Nashville tourism. ;) And then climb to the top of a volcano for sunset. The main relatively new museum in Athens is spectacular, and of course is a must.
A note for traveling in TN. You'll find Violettes Guitar Purses for sale on Beale Street in Memphis, In Nashville Boutiques, in Knoxville at the Soap and Candle Boutique and in Townsend in the Wood-N-Strings Dulcimer Shop (a must stop).
If you're going to Nashville during one of the endless music festivals, purchase from our Gift Ideas for Music Lovers to compliment your eclectic fashion needs in advance. Remember the Guitar Purse is hand painted, and our artists love requests.
Lastly, if you have time don't forget to visit the Smoky Mntns and Dolly Parton's attractions in Pigeon Forge, TN. Here is a TN Tourism link: http://www.tnvacation.com/guide/
Enter our drawing for a free Guitar Purse by clicking the "button" above!
It's the Ultimate Music Lover Gift, And I Got It!
Most people are music lovers to some degree, whether they listen to the blues, attend Jazz Festivals, appreciate the music in their dental chairs... But besides one of the Gift Ideas for Music Lovers, such as a Violin Purse, Guitar Purse or Grand Piano Purse from Violettes, the ultimate gift is a shiny new instrument. And I have one coming in the mail!!!!!!!!!!!
I desperately wanted a higher level flute when I graduated high school, but never mentioned it
to anyone ever until now! Although I carried my flute everywhere I went, like hiking and even in the car to practice during red lights, and although I received the high school orchestra award, I knew that I would be playing less and less as I grew older. I saw a $2,000 Haynes flute for sale that I really wanted, or maybe I tried it out somewhere, but that sounded like an enormous amount of money for one headed to college (in those days and these days too). About 5 years later, I noticed that that particular flute went up in price to $13,000. I suppose, it was the price in silver. I kicked myself figuratively for years. While I was a flautist in my Rock Mechanics Professor's Comedy Opera Company Orchestra at UC Berkeley and continued to teach private lessons at a music store for several years, I did play less and less. Wherever I moved for an engineering summer job, I seeked out places to play or people to play with, and continued to carry my flute on hiking and backpacking trips.
I played to my daughter when she was in my womb, and even after she popped out; but with kids, my time priorities changed greatly. When we moved to Knoxville 20 years ago, my own music making went into hibernation. I had asked so many people to play until I gave up. I started playing a little with my kids, as I talk about in previous blog, "50 Ways to Lose Your Loved Ones".
Why the Ultimate Music Lover Gift Now?
Maybe 5 or so years ago, I saw an ad in the newspaper about the Music Study Club in January. Not knowing what it was, but seriously missing my own music making, I attended. Little did I
know that they would make me perform in front of them after not playing all these years! I joined a flute quartet in the club. This was fun socially, but since the other 3 flautists had been college music majors and professional musicians, I usually ended up with 3rd or 4rth part. Playing in a flute quartet is not nearly as fun as playing with a varied group of instruments, but it is fun socially, and I continue to meet a lot of great people and hear great personal performances! After all these years in Knoxville, a new member made an announcement that a community orchestra is forming in Knoxville, the "Scruffy City Orchestra". I think that I literally jumped over people to ask to get in. (I don't think anyone noticed.) We had our first rehearsal, finally, after a snow delay. It was like I died and went to heaven (if a Jewish Unitarian is allowed to say that). I thought that I would never play in an orchestra again in my whole life! I was in the right place at the right time! Of all the flautists in the University town, and little old me in the right place at the right time! (Did I already say that?) I messaged a flute teacher to say that I may need to line myself up in her studio pronto. I had a night mare that I was kicked out for intonation problems. In the first rehearsal the conductor had to tell me that the g was a trill!!! I was so embarrassed that I couldn't trill my ring finger. I guess I am so old and haven't moved that finger quickly in so many years. Another fluatist told me that if I am going to play in an orchestra, I really ought to get a new flute, "tell your husband that you need a new flute for your 25th anniversary next month". I said WHAT!!!??? RIGHT!!!! She said it is probable that it is the mechanism in my flute more than me that was the trill problem. So I headed to take my flute in for repair, and the repair man was away for a week on vacation. I tried a higher end flute at the local music store. BINGO! Although the tone of the flute sounded shrill, the key bounced off my finger and I could play it as a tremolo (faster than a trill)!!
What happened after that, I will not bore you with any longer but my musicianship just improved 10 fold, and maybe I won't get kicked out of that orchestra.
How is My Musicianship About to Improve 10 Fold?
Let me tell you that I have been playing on a "toy" flute for 40 years, and all I can say is no wonder this and no wonder that!
- 1. The flute "mechanisms" work much much better. They keys bounce off my fingers; I can fly thru runs and trills. So now I need work to get the runs even.
- 2. The flute is designed to be in tune with so much more hand work in a high end amateur flute. Several professionals have suggested that I work on intonation! Like my daughter's violin teacher when I played trios with my kids, said that my sharp notes hurt her ears. And there have been a couple of other incidences. I worked on it a few times, but with a flute not made to be in tune, it's pretty hard work!
- 3. Dynamics are night and day!! There is no work on this new flute to start loud on a low note and run up to the highest note pianissimo. I can't get over this!
- 4. The low notes and the high notes pop out! Normally, it is hard work to get them out, and often the low notes won't sound, and the high notes result in an out of tune squeak or just vibrating lips.
- 5. The tone is much warmer and it projects too!
- 6. There are cheat keys on the flute!!! Sometimes on a flute, to change notes, you might have to move four fingers, so imagine trilling clumsily with the 4 fingers moving up and down. There are secret new keys added so that you only have to move one finger to trill!
- 7. I always have been embarrassed that I don't have a flute that can play the lowest note. Now I've got it!
- 8. There are key movements added such that the commonly worst sounding notes for flautists are better sounding and better in tune.
Is that enough? So last week I tried the flutes of the other 2 orchestra flautists. They were semi professional and professional models. I asked, "do you have more flutes at home?" "Oh yes!" "I said, so do I, I have a $100 flute that I bring backpacking." That got a good laugh considering one of their flutes was over 100 times that cost.
Now where is that flute teacher that I messaged! I never did get around to learning Chaminade or even Fight of the Bumblebee. Let's Go! I'm excited and inspired.
Or Gifts for Classical Music Lovers
Or Raising Children to Love Practicing
Gifts for Classical Music Lovers? 50 Ways to Lose your Loved Ones? The titles make me seem confused? I must satisfy web site blogging word requirements according to SEO gurus that I pay attention to. And some times it is so unnatural to do so, that we might as well make the difficulty blatant. But, I promise they are somewhat related to this blog.
Gifts for Classical Music Lovers? Part of the beginnings of Violettes started when my mother told me to sew little violin purses, to help little girls to love their violins. This has great validity. I sewed the little violin purse to hold a pencil and rosin, but it is also used as a evening purse for young girls and adults, as the rosin pocket fits credit cards and a comb and lipstick.
When my daughter was very young she carried her little lamby everywhere. She loved it. Why not love a little violin? This could be for pre - twinkle children. Or, when my daughter was young and had a clinic with a classical "music star", she told my daughter to love her violin in attempt to tell her to be musical. It's no secret that the female culture enjoys fashion. A little handmade violin purse (makes really special violin gifts - inquire if you don't see colors you want). These are designed and hand made by Becky (moi) in Tennessee, not in China! for made in the USA fans.
Please note a previous blog on raising musical children in interview with Annie Dupre from the fabulous Annie Moses Band ===>>Click here for Interview
As an entrepreneur at heart, I always thought that if I could "can" the way to make children want to practice their instruments, I could be the next millionaire.
Jokingly, the title "50 Ways to Lose Your Loved Ones" is referring to getting your kids to turn on you by trying to get them to practice. I have plenty of stories from friends -one friend says her son actually tried to run away from home because of all the practice. The son is now a multi talented and fabulously creative adult. Let's see how he handles the deed with his children! (I think the brighter the children, the more we expect of them. But we do mellow out with each younger child.)
I hear many folks chatting about so and so's kid doesn't even play anymore!!!... So and so's kid is concertmaster in the college orchestra. And I wonder how I could have done the music lessons and practice thing better so that my kids would still be playing. It is clear that my daughter will get back to her playing when life allows. Meanwhile, many of her dates actually involve trips to hear the symphony. I can be proud of that!! As for my son, sports got in the way, and may always be in the way, but that is such a healthy lifestyle. And when my musician brother comes to town, both my kids love to join him in whatever musical improv session he directs.
To get to my ideas about canning ways to get children enthused: Well, I got it right with reading. I made a point to sit on the couch in front of the kids everyday and read. Guess what they did? YES! They climbed on the couch beside me with their own books. We read both together and separately. We did so many kinds of projects with book discussions ( a different blog).
Following this model, and noting that my father got up at 6AM before going to work to practice piano (or rather to enjoy playing )... It was such a sweet alarm clock for us, and it was also ear training. When given a music tone ear test by the music instructor before being invited to choose a school instrument, old Mr. Figeroid told me I must play the violin because I had a perfect score. I have always been sorry that I didn't take violin, so I tortured my daughter instead. I say this because I just started her in lessons at age 3, and she took to it right away. But I should have taken her to symphony (and band) concerts and let her choose an instrument on her own to let her feel that it was her choice. Perhaps this was mistake number 1 (after not making her her own little violin purse to replace lamby)!!!! When my kids were small, we had just moved here, and I had no close friends for years, and no music groups to be part of. With young children, I also considered myself too busy to practice my own music. But loving my own music would have shown the kids just how much I love my own music. KIDS COPY PARENTS! (I did try to learn violin alongside my daughter until I got carpel tunnel syndrome on both wrists, and I did play duets with her on my flute for a few years).
I wish my kids were involved in a singing group from a young age (before they got otherwise too busy). So many people do this thru church, but our young kids singing program fizzled when my kids were there. My kids always were and still are so very happy when they are singing!! A family tradition, started by my kids is to sing Xmas songs in the car during the whole 4 plus hour drive to Grandma's at Xmas time.
I wish both my kids could have started on a small (portable) instrument first (or at the same time) for at least 2 years. I carried my flute everywhere, especially hiking and backpacking in my younger days. When my son started on clarinet, he marched around the house playing it having so much fun, but the sax and piano weren't the same thing as far as portability. I recommend starting young kids on ukuleles. Maybe if you could get serious harmonica lessons...!
When the kids are proficient at playing, make sure they get taught the various music styles on their instrument. This can be hard to find in one teacher and even at all! Also, put on varying styles of music when everyone is around to hear. If they are interested enough, they should be able to pick up some music styles on their own. "Unfortunately", my kids were reading every spare minute, even in the car and in the pool! Yes, we put in a pool, and the first thing they did was lay on floaties reading in the pool!!!! A funny story is that everyone that visited with kids had to scream and yell and fight with their kids to get out of the pool. I would go outside by the pool and yell, "Let's go to McKay's" (the local used book store). My kids would scream hooray and come running out of the pool. My neighbor told me we are the crazy family. I don't think I could have yelled , let's go to the symphony or let's practice now. There's something to think about.
This can be impossible if you don't play yourself, but play music with your kids. It is such special family time! Otherwise, organize an ensemble so they are playing with other kids. I really can't recommend starting orchestra at a young age. I thought that it would be cute and social, and it is. However if your young child is very bright and very capable, it can be a political nightmare (much more than a learning experience). Get several capable students together, and have the parents pitch in for a private group instructor/conductor.
Teach kids that they can give music shows as gifts to parents and other family, and teach them that they can use their performances as fundraisers for causes. We had some grand times with fundraising opportunities.
My newest thought, only recently renewing my own music enthusiasm - I mean real serious enthusiasm, is seeing if the kids can sit among symphony (or band members) during concerts with or without instruments. It is so thrilling to be among and surrounded by the sound of all the instruments. Many symphonies have intimate outreach performances with small performance groups in bookstores or libraries. Perhaps you can suggest kids sitting right next to the performers during performance!
Please note a previous blog on raising musical children in interview with Annie Dupre from the fabulous Annie Moses Band ===>>Click here for Interview
Too Hard to Give Away Money?!!! Deadline for Youth Composition & Songwriting Competition almost Here
If you're a songwriter, support our work with the purchase of a Guitar Purse.
A friend of mine always used to tell me that there are so many Scholarships that go uncollected because no one applies. Violettes by Becky has posted news of our 3rd Annual Youth Composition and Songwriting Competition on many free boards such as Young Composers Forum, Violinist.com..., in Music Teachers Association Newsletters in a couple of states, on facebook pages of music groups.. and of course in our newsletters.
We have extended the deadline for registration to Feb. 14, the same as the submittal date. We have 2 categories, Composition and Songwriter, each divided into 2 age groups, 10 thru 14 and 15 thru 18.
First and second prizes for older composition students (15 - 18) are $800 and $200. Detailed information can be found at Violettes by Becky under Competition; from there, click on the details page to learn about judges, prizes...
First place prize for the older Songwriter Student is a 10 day summer camp session in Nashville with the Annie Moses Band (worth $1,400), and 2nd place a new guitar.
Can you help me get the word out?
There are currently so few entries, we will not be able to justify getting donations for this competition next year. One teacher who found the competition by googling told me that people probably don't believe it. It sounds too good to be true. She signed 2 students on for this year. Last year the first prize student was from New York - she won $1,000 cash! There are no composition entries from New York this year.
All students receive professional feedback. (Or top 30 in each division). Entry fee is $15, part of which goes to Volunteer Judges as a gift. If you can not afford the fee, let us know, and enter for free.
Do not hesitate to email or call with any questions.
3rd Annual Violettes Youth Composition & Songwriting Competition
For ages 10 thru 18 (Still in High School)
Submit Score and MP-3 or You tube on-line.
Register and submit by Feb. 14, 2016
For Details, see Violettes by Becky
Registration and Entries Due Feb. 14, 2016
Thanks to our sponsors:
Annie Moses Band
US Music Corp.
Sheet Music Plus
All our really amazing Volunteer Judges - Please check out their music. (Link to their bios on competition page).
**Fee Waived if you can not afford. Contact us.
Do not hestitate to ask questions to RMChaffee@Comcast.net
Sponsored by Violettes by Becky, Gifts for Music Lovers, Music Purses/Gig bags
Note that Steinway puts on a Piano Competition. It is well respected, and they get paid to do it. This has been a grassroots labor of love, possibly about to end.
Support our Youth Competition and Songwriting Competition by spreading the word fast!
Suzy Chaffee Chooses Guitar Purse
American Gifts are sought after according to my web site statistics, and what could be better than a Guitar Purse with an American Flag hand painted on it? But I was surprised that this is what my sister-in-law Suzy, whom I haven't seen in about 15 years, chose when I offered her a choice of purses at Xmas. She previously asked for a Violettes Piano Purse to gift to a granddaughter's Piano Teacher, and a Cello Purse because her daughter and granddaughter are cellists. Suzy is BTW Cool (Guitar) Purse -un 38!
I asked her if she will keep her guitar or gift it. She is contemplating it as a special gift for a musical young lady who plays the piano, sings and is currently in another musical at school. And she says she also wants to get a "paint it yourself" guitar for one of her crafty granddaughters.
- 1. Violettes: You have many talents. You do paintings (on saw blades). You did inventory control for a business for many years, then you opened a childcare service for many years - any thing else? Do you have other hobbies or talents. I know you love to read - what are your favorite kind of books?
Suzy: I love a good mystery book, especially the old British authors. But any old mystery will do in a pinch. I have signed copies of books by some of my favorite authors. My dream is to
visit England some day and see the settings of some of the stories. Plus that would give me a chance to visit gardens, which is a passion of mine. One winter a few years back I read EVERY flower gardening book in the Boise Public Library to prepare for spring in our garden. I like perennials in blues and pinks best. No orange or yellow in my garden .. thank you very much. I don't have as much time to crochet and sew as I'd like but I still keep my hand in when I can. My next project is to sew a brocade jacket for myself. I searched for years for the perfect fabric and finally found it this winter.
- 2. Violettes: You grew up in Northern CA logging country and Boise. You married and settled in Boise. Was anyone in your family a hobby or professional musician? Or did your kids start because it was offered in the schools. Sammy played cello in orchestra and trombone in marching band. Did anyone else take up an instrument? Did any of them continue with private lessons?
Suzy: My grandmother played the piano for church until she was 90 and the family always gathered around her at home to sing along when we visited. My mother also played the piano and would play each night as we kids drifted off to sleep. She was the song leader at church for years. My dad would often get out his guitar and sing songs like "Froggy Went a Courtin". I've always regretted that Mom let me quit piano lessons because I didn't want to keep my fingernails short.
Sean (son) played the clarinet in school and took piano lessons in college because we said we'd get him a motorcycle if he did. :) Stacey (daughter) played percussion in marching band and had drum and flute lessons. Sam (other daughter) had cello lessons with Mr Bratt for years. She still plays the cello with our granddaughter Abby. Abby takes piano and cello lessons and is in her school orchestra. This year Abby's "other" grandmother gave her baby grand piano to Abby when her piano teacher said she needed to "move up". Grand kids Jordan and Riley both play the flute and Riley is in her school orchestra.
- 3. Violettes: You must love nature, as you drive all over the place. Tell us what you like
most. Taking photos, getting out into the fresh air, and certain parks or places?
Suzy: We do enjoy seeing the wonders of nature within driving distance of Boise. There are gorgeous mountain vistas, streams, rocks, rivers and lakes in Idaho. But it's been especially interesting to see all the places of history like the Oregon Trail. There's something awesome about walking where wagons rumbled across the land over 150 years ago. Or going to historic gold rush towns like Silver City or Idaho City. It makes me realize that our roots can go deep.
- 4. Violettes: What do you like about living in Boise, as I have only lived on coasts?
Suzy: To tell the truth I'd rather live on the Oregon coast. I miss the ocean... and fog. Boise is close to wonderful sights but it gets pretty hot in the summer. We definitely have four seasons in Boise.
- 5. Violettes: Tell us about your grand children!
Suzy: We live in Boise because that's where some of our kids and grand kids live. We love to take our youngest granddaughter to the zoo like we did her older cousins. We are trying to figure out how to visit the Oregon zoo in Portland and Port Defiance zoo in Tacoma with as many grand kids as possible soon. Ethan wants to be a zoo keeper now and then a zoo director after college. Jordan is working on becoming a teacher. Ben's in his first year of college and not sure yet what he'll end up being. Riley and Abby have both expressed an interest in being doctors when they finish school. We just like playing games with all of them and seeing them grow up happy.
Please enjoy shopping at Violettes by Becky for Gifts Ideas for Music Lovers!
Cool Purse -un 37 is Proud Guitar Bag Owner
One of Violettes' Gift Ideas for Music Lovers
Responsible for bringing classical guitar music to East Tennessee, Mr. Lawrence (Larry) Long is full of excitement talking about his journey as a prominent player, composer and above all teacher. And what fun his stories are to hear!
First he tells that he presumes his classical music training came from playing in the crib at age 3 when his Mother would have soap opera shows on in the next room every day. In those days all the intro and background music was classical!
The family moved from Sevierville to Knoxville for his Dad's grocery store business, and Larry grew up working
in grocery stores during the summers "learning the value of hard work". Larry had started music with the public school music program in Knoxville choosing to start on French Horn in Elementary, changing to Trombone in Middle School and Tuba and the upright Bass in High School. He credits a high school career day with guiding him to decide on a music education major at UT Knoxville. His senior year in high school, Larry went to the All State Band with the Tuba, staying with a family during the program. Their daughter owned a guitar that was never used. Larry asked his Dad to buy the guitar (for $25) when he came and picked him up, and Larry taught himself all the notes in the back seat on the way home. That summer after his senior year, he wanted to concentrate on learning the guitar and take lessons rather than working long hours in the grocery store. His father went thru the roof!! At that time, everyone with long hair was strumming on a guitar, and it was associated with taking drugs. So, asking this of his father was almost like asking if he could take drugs. It was a big NO.
Off to UT Knoxville for Music Degree
Attending UT was great, as Larry got much personal attention from some great teachers. The composition teacher was also conductor of the Knoxville, Symphony - Mr. David Van Vactor urged Larry to join the symphony with his upright bass. Another teacher urged Larry to answer a guitar teacher ad, even though he had only been taking lessons for 3 weeks! And another told him to join the Army Band in Europe to get some experience!
- - Teacher Interview: Larry showed up to the Guitar Teacher interview in a suit and a tie after only having 3 weeks of lessons! This was at the biggest private music school in the country headquartered in Knoxville. They taught lessons for every instrument, but they didn't yet teach guitar. The owner invited all 20 of the guitar players up into a big bedroom. Most of the guys had long hair and genes. Some of them had 20 and 30 years of experience on the guitar. The owner pulled out a music stand and put music on it. Larry was the only one of them that could read music and he got the job!
- - Experience with the Army Band (1958 to 1960): Larry joined the 76th Army Band, the #1 band in Europe stationed just outside of Paris. (In 1960, they moved to Germany). Larry could play any instrument that was needed. They played all over France and it was hard work. They started marching where the US Army had liberated the first town on one coast in WW II. They marched thru the town, then on to the town that was liberated next, and so on. Several guys in the group didn't drink and had to stay behind. In each town the mayor would give them a toast with wine. By the end of the long marching, they were exhausted but happy. Larry played trombone, french horn, and bassoon, flute and piccolo parts on an electric guitar when it was needed for one concert.
Meeting Segovia: After graduation from UT, Larry played upright bass in the Knoxville Orchestra, but liked guitar so much that he taught guitar. In 1962, Segovia came to play with the Knoxville Symphony. That very week, Larry had signed up for classical guitar lessons, but hadn't had his first lesson. In his symphony suit, he walked up to Segovia and asked him which of his 3 guitars he was going to play that evening. Segovia called his wife over who brought his guitar. Segovia handed his guitar to Larry to try! That was a thrill he never forgot, and the concert was an inspiration for learning classical guitar music. Larry took lessons with C. Ivan Maracle from Toronto. Larry says a problem with electric guitar is you always need an accompanist. So classical guitar was very attractive. Larry knew that if he were going to teach classical guitar, students would have to hear it (since there was no you tube in the day). So Larry brought the Guitar Society to East Tennessee. He eventually had 90 guitar students, and had to quit his symphony job after 9 years. He taught Guitar students at UT Knoxville in addition to in a studio private lesson students.
Guitar Society: Larry founded the Oak Ridge-Knoxville Guitar Society bringing in world class classical guitar players. They all stayed at Larry's house for some southern hospitality. Larry was President/Program Director from inception in 1971 to 2002. They had 9 concerts a year, and his wife was an expert publicist producing big crowds. Birdie wrote careful articles for the newspaper with personal performer interviews and gave announcements to several radio stations. Professional Guitar Players coming in from all over the wold usually doesn't happen if you don't live in New York, LA, Boston, Chicago, Paris, London...
Meeting Mr. Sakellariou: One of the visitors Larry welcomed to perform in the Guitar Society was George Sakellariou. Just before he arrived, someone gave Birdie a free pass to a psychic. Jokingly, Larry said he'll go and he did! Amazingly enough, the psychic told him that he would meet someone from California that would make a big difference in his life!! In walks Mr. Sakellariou, a student of Segovia, faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. This man became a lifelong colleague and friend. He later volunteered to record much of Larry's music. Larry has composed and arranged volumes of music. Larry gave me a copy of his Mel Bay book, "Conversation Pieces", consisting of all original classical guitar solos by Lawrence Long for the beginner and intermediate player to enjoy. It comes with a recording of all songs by renowned classical guitar player, George Sakellariou. The recording below is a "Toccata" from Bach's Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor arranged for classical guitar by Larry, played by Mr. Sakellariou.
Larry Leaves a Legacy : Mr. Long is very proud of all his students and can remember 18 students who played guitar in college some of whom were on music scholarships. and 13 of his students who became guitar teachers. If you google Lawrence Long on you tube, you will find many people playing recordings of classical guitar music written by him, some of whom, his students. Of all the awards and citations Mr. Long has been awarded, he is most proud of the "Who's Who Among America's Teachers" Award.
What Else? I see some interesting Civil War prints on Larry's wall. Larry and an art professor at UT Knoxville started a civil war group. They made Civil War presentations up and down the east coast. While Professor Dick LeFevre, who eventually produced 32 (stunning and "neutral") Civil War watercolor collages, was the MC, Larry performed music with or without a full band on original Civil War instruments. Larry arranged the music, which was partly background in the presentation, and partly highlighted. He fondly remembers performing with such talented performers as Multi-Instrumentalist, Rachel Schlafer-Parton.
Cello Themed gifts are the Same as Violin Themed Gifts
with End Pin Modification
All are great gift ideas for music lovers!
Cello Themed Gifts are on Kathy Plank's mind when she buys for her granddaughter in Ireland. Kathy says the Music Purse is now an International Bag, as her granddaughter is moving to Switzerland! Kathy is from a musical family, and has many musical relatives. She says (it used to be that) getting together with her side of the family meant everyone pulls out their instruments and plays whereas the other side of the family is TV and football bonding. Me too Kathy. Me too. So the cello player granddaughter loves her Violettes Music Purse! She uses it as it is meant to be for musicians with her "music stuff" inside.
As I interview Kathy (I know that she is a talker, and let her just talk rather than interview), we
reminisce about when we first met. She is one of several people that I met when I first moved to town about 20 years ago when she first moved to town. We bumped into each other five years later with daughters in the same girl scout troupe, and then with kids in the same middle school and high school. Now she is a neighbor!
Not a better way to get to know a neighbor than by interviewing them for a blog!!! Thanks Kathy, and Thanks again for purchasing one of our cello themed gifts!
Kathy Plank comes from an Irish family who settled in Baltimore, Maryland. Kathy says there is a large Irish settlement there, and her relatives first moved there in 1854. She had 5 siblings and her father died when she was 4. So the family all had to help out Mom and became very close. When the oldest brother started working, he handed over all checks to help the family. When the kids were old enough, Kathy's mother worked at the library. She brought the 4 girls with her and plopped them in the "Maryland Room". And, Kathy says, it was like candy getting to read anything that you could think of about Maryland. About the food, culture, fauna and flora, government, history... She loved learning about when President Lincoln put Maryland legislators on arrest!
"In early 1861, Maryland was walking a tightrope between the Union and the Confederacy. In addition to being physically between the two sides, Maryland depended equally on the North and the South for its economy. Although Maryland had always leaned toward the south culturally, sympathies in the state were as much pro-Union as they were pro-Confederate. Reflecting that division and the feeling of many Marylanders that they just wanted to be left alone, the state government would not declare for either side.
For the Federal Government, however, there was no question about which side Maryland had to take. If she seceded, Washington D.C. would be surrounded by hostile states, effectively cut off from the rest of the Union. The situation came to a head on April 19, 1861, when the soldiers of the 6th Massachusetts Volunteers, moving through Baltimore on the way to Washington, were attacked by a pro-Southern mob. When the mob started shooting at the regiment, the soldiers returned fire, and when the smoke had cleared, four soldiers and twelve civilians had been killed.... " (SOURCE: Taken from Maryland State Archives, "The General Assembly Moves to Frederick, 1861")
On Sept. 11, 1861, Abraham Lincoln had Secretary of War Simon Cameron order the arrest of Maryland legislators who are openly pro-South.
Kathy held jobs as a reporter and on the PR (public relations) staff for a state agency. Part of her job as PR person was to do event management. When the state decided to give awards for small businesses, she managed the affair. She managed in such great detail, that she tasted the food and checked the displays at the venues before deciding where to book. The first event had a very low turnout, but word got around at how good the food was. By the 3rd year, the turnout was so high that they had to close off the room and used closed circuit television to show the awardees.
Kathy and her husband moved to Knoxville about 20 years ago because her husband began teaching law at UT Knoxville. This was the first time she ever lived away from her 3 sisters. She had never had to make friends before because she had all the built in friends she needed in her sisters. That was her biggest culture shock.
Kathy and her husband raised 5 children (2 by his earlier marriage). They all began music lessons in public school, but several continued with private violin and piano lessons. With that many children, she has put herself on hold driving kids to all types of sports and music lessons, art camp, girl scouts, dance class, cheer leading, theater, horse back riding , beauty pageants... Two of her children have disabilities, so that adds to her hectic life. However, growing up helping to organize and care for a disabled brother and sister has made her youngest daughter such an outstanding person to be proud of.
How about Kathy now? She loves to cook and bake. She grew up loving to sing and can belt out songs about carrots while cooking. You don't think those musicals are for real, but for some people they are! She currently goes to Fitness Together where she has a personal trainer and lost 30 pounds. When her husband got jealous and signed up too, she informed him that eating habits have to figure into the equation. Kathy says laughing, what do you get when you cross an OCD personality with a diet. So they started having to weigh all their foods. With Kathy's trainer, she is proud to be able to dead lift 115 pounds. This is very good for a 4 foot 10 person. In addition to the trainer, Kathy takes Real Hot Yoga*, and loves her teacher Jill Bartine, the Knoxville "Flutist Yogini"!
*I learned that Real Hot Yoga means that they do stretches in a very hot room so that muscles are already warmed up for stretching.
Visit ViolettesbyBecky.com for Cello Themed Gifts!