Music has been my salvation for most of my life - whether it was making out to James Taylor, listening to Joni Mitchell with Uncle and my aunt Vonda, singing "Hey hey we're the Monkees," to the first MTV - the Monkees series, watching my parents dance to tunes from the '50s - including "Sentimental Journey," or teaching my children the Lawrence Welk closing tune - "Good night, sleep tight, and pleasant dreams to you, here's a wish and a hope that all your dreams come true, and now, 'til we meet again, adios, au revoir, aufweiderzen, good night!" I took piano lessons most of my growing up years, including a stint with Mrs. Packer who cut my fingernails because they tapped on the piano keys! Hymns have been my constant in my numerous faith crisis' and physical, emotional, and spiritual pain. I go to church to sit near my grandchildren and to sing hymns. Tyler and Jenna both play instruments, and their desire to perform with a group they called, "Blue Roots," made this momma proud.
In 1999, at a "Live at the Read Leaf" concert, 3 music lovers met and decided it was time to introduce the Utah masses to good acoustic local music. We organized the Timpanogos Singer Songwriter Alliance (TSSA), decided to put on a day-long music festival, asked around for venue possibilities, and ended up putting on a 4 day festival in conjunction with The Freedom Festival in Provo, UT. We ended up with an amazing network of musicians and venues, putting on concerts weekly in various locations along the Wasatch Front for most of 10 years. TSSA served its purpose, bringing musicians to audiences and audiences to musicians, providing opportunities for collaboration and networking - and most importantly - the gift of being able to listen to good music, aaah, so refreshing. There are still some off-shoots of TSSA still going on - Velour in Provo, The Homestead Concert Series in Midway, the music for The Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, and The Rooftop Concert Series in Provo (all UT), and numerous house concert series.
I developed some amazing friendships over the years with these musicians. Musicians are a breed of their own, and I was blessed to be a part of this group. See, although I don't perform, I do listen, and every musician needs an audience. In the music circle I was known as someone who would give honest feedback on lyrics, music, vocal abilities, sound, and I did develop that critical ear. Happily, I only offended a few for my "brutal" honesty! It's been awesome to see the music scene grow over the years, see musicians go from local, to regional, to national, to international - what a treat to watch Branden Campbell of Neon Trees on the Today Show last year and know I knew him when he played blues guitar and bass on a local wooden stage.
So during my cancer treatments it was a joy to have musicians who I love and admire come to my house to perform - how nice to know I have friends, who are musicians, who understand my love and need.
Imagine the joy I received when I got that video "get well" card from Mike Peters of The Alarm and Big Country, then the opportunity to write a post for his Love, Hope, Strength foundation. I thank Russ Kendall, one of the original TSSA founders, for his knowing how much these gifts would mean to me. Now imagine my surprise and absolute delight when on Saturday I received a text from Russ asking if Scott and I would join him and a few other friends for a Sunday evening barbecue, with Mike Peters. Mike's generosity was amazing, and he is a beautiful soul. Scott and I labeled last night as a golden evening, and it filled me like nothing has in quite some time.
The love of music has now passed on to the next generation - Tyli plays the piano, Madison sings, Samantha dances, and Tempest - oh goodness, she can sing to Joni Mitchell, the Louvin Brothers, and just learned Edward Sharpe's, "Home!" I can't sing, I can't dance, my piano is at Tyler and Meili's home, but Folk Alley, Pandora, and a cabinet full of CDs get plenty of playtime. Give me good music any day - better than chocolate!
Mike, Ronda, Scott
Mike, Ronda, Russ