African Drumming Class

African Drumming-8

While I’ve been able to find several venues where I can play my banjo, finding a venue for the new drum has been a bit more problematic. We weren’t able to find a drum circle while we were down in Florida, so I looked for options in Greenville. A friend online mentioned the Greenville Unitarian Universalist Church. But, of course they would have one. It wasn’t exactly a circle, but it was interesting. Continue reading “African Drumming Class”

Corporate Music

Taylor-Caddell Band

If you Google the phrase “Coporate Music” (as I did) you get links to royalty-free music clips with an industrial/business feel. Either that, or you get links to diatribes blasting mass-produced pop music. However, my use of the word “corporate” is more like how we use the phrase “corporate worship“, an act of cooperation in the production of music. Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to have several posts about such corporate acts of music, from organized groups to spontaneous jam sessions. Continue reading “Corporate Music”

Lessons and Carols, Theme and Variations

Lessons and Carols

One of my favorite services is the Festival of Lessons and Carols. To me it doesn’t seem like Christmas until I have attended at least one service. I have an academic fascination with carols, and I love traditional settings, as well as seeing the way composers and arrangers have brought new life to these ancient texts. This weekend I was privileged to participate in two services in two different settings. This time, though there were some fascinating twists to the traditional service. Continue reading “Lessons and Carols, Theme and Variations”

Banjo Therapy

Tom with Banjo

Last winter we discovered that Laura’s mom responds well to my banjo playing. Her memory returns and she claps along. I’ve started bringing it every time we visit, and despite my limited skills she seems to like it. This Thanksgiving has been very difficult, with Mrs. Wright battling infections as well as Alzheimer’s While the banjo hasn’t worked miracles, it has brought some relief. More importantly, I’ve discovered that this therapy isn’t limited to Mrs. Wright. Continue reading “Banjo Therapy”

A Weekend with Morten Lauridsen

Morten Lauridsen at First Baptist Church
Photo by Wesley Smith

This past week Furman University and First Baptist Church of Greenville have played host to composer Morten Lauridsen. Lauridsen taught several master classes at Furman, then worked with the choir from First Baptist and the Cantus Chamber Choir from the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts. The weekend culminated in a performance of Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna at First Baptist Church, under the direction of Vivian Hamilton and accompanied by members of the Greenville Symphony Orchestra. Continue reading “A Weekend with Morten Lauridsen”

Birthday Banjo

I’ve made one more pass around old Sol. Laura says that this is an auspicious birthday because my age is divisible by both five and eleven, two of her favorite numbers. Last year was complicated by family matters, so I spent the day by myself climbing a mountain. This year was complicated by singing engagements, … Continue reading Birthday Banjo