Last evening Mayor Catherine Pugh welcomed the Sweet Silver Bells at City Hall to be part of Baltimore's tree lighting celebration. But as you can see in the news broadcast below, the evening was about much more than lighting a Christmas tree.
One of my favorite Baltimore memories - the Ding Dongs at the lighting of the Washington Monument . This year we will be singing at an official tree lighting event at City Hall with the mayor! We have been requested to sing under the name Sweet Silver Bells instead of Ding Dongs - guess that name was just too tacky! Ha! Regardless, the harmonies will be fabulous and the costumes will range from elegant to outrageous! You just never know what to expect from a Ding Dong!
After two months of choral practice and hours at the sewing machine, let the festivities begin! Our four part harmonies are awesome and the mayor of Baltimore has invited us to sing at one of the city's events - pictures to follow.
Last year my heart wasn't in participating since the songs reminded of singing with my brother who had passed in early November. Time helped heal the wounds. This year my Christmas spirit has returned and I'm feeling blessed to be in two choral groups.
Yesterday i made my Mrs. Santa Claus hat. The faux fur pompom and trim were much too stark white to go with my ivory cape so I removed and tea stained them and cut a new hat out of the red velvet I used to make my skirt and top. I decorated with fabric roses, stars, feathers and a Christmas ball. The hat is light weight and has a hidden velcro closing in the back to ensure a good fit.
Jazz in the Garden - September 9 from 5 - 7:00 p.m.
Delighted to announce that our History of Jazz Instructor (I've taken his course four times!) and saxophonist extraordinaire, Greg Thompkins, will be playing at the Rawlings Conservatory in Baltimore again. I've heard several area musicians describe Greg as "the best saxophonist I've ever heard." and in May he was inducted into the Maryland Entertainment Hall of Fame.
This is two hours of sensory bliss - the surroundings are exquisite, the music divine, and there will be food and drink. All this for free! Join us if you can!
Just returned from a delightful mini vacation in PA visiting my daughter with a friend! Mycenea is professional musician and has been doing her solo act for years, gathering awards, accolades and being featured on the cover of magazines. She's living in a spectacular log cabin filled with instruments! One of the highlights of the visit was a listening to her new band practice for a couple of hours! They have been practicing for months but haven't taken the show on the road yet so we were very fortunate to be among the first to hear them!
The living room, which is more reminiscent of a music store, is filled with guitars, amps, there's a mandolin, standing bass, the drums . . . so many fun things to play with if you are so inclined!
One of the most delightful aspects of this home is the story behind it's construction.
The builder lived in a one room log cabin at the end of the property on a cliff over looking a stream. It has the appearance of a cabin created in colonial times but was built in the 70s and he stayed there year round until he finished building the main home.
In addition to being an artist, the builder was also a philosopher.
Both properties are guarded by Sasquatch! They host a party annually in his honor.
A kinder, gentler version of Bigfoot is featured here.
Druid Hill kicked off their celebration of this year's historic Summer Solstice with a musical tribute by an extraordinary ensemble of musicians - more below!
Festivities will continue on
Monday, June 20
6:30 – 11 p.m., Solstice Celebration with the Friends of Druid Hill Park
6:30- 8:30, explore Druid Hill Park on the Friends of Druid Hill Park/Baltimore Rec and Parks Solstice Hike, a 6 mile hike exploring the “back hills” of the park. Hike begins at the H. P. Rawlings Conservatory and ends at the Solstice Celebration at the Druid Statue.
8:00 – 11:00 Party at the Reservoir. Join the Friends of Druid Hill Park at the Green Man Sculpture (along the Druid Hill Reservoir) for a roaring fire, tales, hayrides, tarot card readings, and music all focused on the solstice. Oh – and some seasonal refreshments too! On this magical night, take a mystical journey (hayride) to the Moorish Tower and cast golden flowers and herbs into the air from the hill. Watch them land and envision your buried talents – and on the shortest night of the year, may this journey empower you to realize your hidden potential! $5.00 per person. All proceeds benefit the free programs and concerts at the Druid Hill Farmers’ Market.
With sincerest gratitude to musicians at Summer Soltice in the Park with Claire Daly- Baritone Saxophonist, Robert Shahid-drums, Amy Shook-Bassist, Carl Filipiak-Guitarist, Benjie Porecki-B3 Organist, GregThompkins-Tenor saxophonist
Visiting the Lexington Market has been on my wish list since I moved to Baltimore and I finally made it! What a delightful experience! The sounds of the steel drum band added rhythm and beat as moved from stand to stand. There were oranges, lemons, limes, grapes and strawberries in vibrant jewel tones.fish and shell fish in iridescent white, silver and pinks. Scrumptious cupcakes, pineapple upside down cake, cinnamon rolls, and breads of every size and shape, color and texture. Something for everyone and the prices were fantastic! We would have stayed longer but we had too much to carry!
Monday nights at Liam Flynn'e Irish Pub feature Gypsy Jazz with some of the most talented musicians in the Baltimore area! Nancy and I hosted an event through the Renaissance Institute for the Winter in the City and over 20 people joined us for an evening of fabulous food and great music. My friend Michael even traveled up from Harrisburg, PA for the festivities. If you are in the Baltimore area, or even i you aren't, consider Monday nights at Liam Flynn's. There is no cover charge, but please be generous when they pass the hat. The musicians share their talent all evening with passion and enthusiasm and they equal or surpass a lot of the paid shows that I've seen!
Music at Liam Flynn's - today's treasure.
Mabon, the Autumn Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, is a time to give thanks for the many blessings of harvest. I'm preparing for my third session on Enhancing Your Life with Herbs. We've learned numerous ways to use herbs. Some are obvious including cooking, healing, dyes, cosmetics, decorating with herbal bouquets, wreaths and swags. Others are less obvious, such as prediction, protection, prophecy, fertility, attraction, and discouraging ghosts and witches from creating havoc! There are still more!
Make ink! Poke berries are ripe and ready right now to make ink! There is a jar in my 'fridge labeled POISON because the juice is a luscious magenta color, clove scented to preserve it. It could be very tempting! This is the ink that was rumored to have been used to write the Declaration of Independence. Further research indicates that is was used for the draft, but the actual document was written with iron gall ink made from ferrous sulfate and ink extracted from the oak galls.
In the spring, the immature leaves of the poke plant, said to be similar to turnip, collard or mustard greens, are cooked with bay leaves, Cajun spices, and a ham bone. Unlike the other greens, poke is considered to be poisonous until 'thoroughly cooked", a process that requires boiling it for at least five minutes for three times and throwing out the water to replace it with new, uncontaminated water each time. After the final boiling, the instructions are to wring as much water out of the plant as humanly possible. Because the plant is poisonous, so you have to cook it. A lot.
I grew up in the mountains of West Virginia and knew people of considerable age (note - I was 12 at the time - anyone over 40 was of 'considerable age' in my perception) who ate poke regularly and annually, praising it for it's role in reducing or eliminating joint inflammation, arthritis, and numerous types of cancer.
Personally, I'm reluctant to cook plants that have been declared poisonous. I can go to the grocery store or farmer's market and buy plants that are safe . . . and edible.
NOTE: As I was "poking" - pun intended - fun at poke today, one of my participants mentioned that she grew up eating poke and they simply gathered and cooked the young plants in early spring. She has convinced me to give it a try, but Gil has asked that I wait until my class is over! Love this class!!!
There are other ways to use poke. If anyone has put a hex on you, use hydrangea and poke to remove it. Call me. I'm not getting into all of that here.
Another way to enhance your life with herbs is to write a song about them, as Tony Joe White did in 1969. He wrote Polk Salad Annie. He did a fabulous job and I adore his version, but I'm featuring Elvis because his use of crib notes is truly hilarious, and after all, he is the KING! So I apologize to your Tony, but I'm opening my session with Elvis. Enjoy!
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
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