Sunday, May 26, 2013

Part 2: Tribute to Mothers ... and 'mothers'

Soprano: Alexis Jorgenson, Alto: Elly Stornebrink, Pianist: Matt Grinke, Violinist: Brienne Powers, Drummer: Marilyn Mann

How silly of me! I had forgotten that there were two other main reasons for agreeing to sing The Mummer’s Dance by Loreena McKennit on Mother’s Day. Was it just two weekends ago?! (This month is sure flying by!)

As a result of a warm-up during the byoV choir rehearsal where members were sounding notes, i.e., toning and humming, I ended up standing relatively near Alexis. A male choir member commented on the lovely harmony we created which I had also noted – pardon the pun (as they just come out of me spontaneously). Thus, I thought we might sound good together creating a nice harmony - had this in mind - when Alexis asked if anyone from the alto section was interested in singing the chorus of a song as backup.

The other reason I had agreed to singing a duet with her was simply that I love that song, rather the music in the song, at least initially. What I mean is that I actually was not even aware of the words to this song beforehand. It wasn’t until Alexis sent me the link to the video that I could learn the words as I read and heard them. Consequently, I love the song even more and in fact, I consider this my favourite of Loreena’s songs.

This is due to the fact that I love nature, especially springtime and trees.Could I be a 'tree worshipper'? – I love to touch, hug, and ‘bless’ trees (occasionally) as I walk by.

I also love to gaze at the moon and stars and do that as often as I can – I have witnesses! – and love to hear birds singing. And furthermore, I love to dance, though I haven’t around trees, at least not yet! ;)

In her own words, Loreena refers to a book that suggests that “mumming has its roots in the tree-worshipping* of the peoples who inhabited great regions of a forested Europe now long gone.” There’s that word* again! (Hmmm…wonder if they were perhaps Celtic and Pagan?) (

Mumming usually involves a group of performers dressing up in masks (sometimes of straw) and clothes bedecked with ribbons or rags, and setting out on a procession to neighbouring homes singing songs and carrying branches of greenery. It’s primarily associated with springtime and fertility, and it has a cast of stock characters, like the Fool, which recurs in some form or another from Morris dancing to the shadow puppet plays of Turkey and Greece and even the morality plays of the Middle Ages.”

“Black Sheep Morris and Mummers” aka “Bowen Island Black Sheep Mummers” ( are not the only mummers in BC. This troupe dress primarily in black rags with colourful ribbons. They’re quite an interesting lot of musicians/dancers in both their look and sound.

I couldn’t quite make out what they were when I saw them for the first time about a year or so ago. I would have if I had understood the meaning of Loreena’s song beforehand!

What aspects of nature do you love and how do you express it?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Tribute to Mothers ... and 'mothers'

Eureka! I did it! I just grew an inch at least (and a yard or metre at least in terms of my comfort zone)! Do you wish to know how?

I expanded my comfort zone by singing in public for the first time, well at least as a duet, not as part of a choir singing harmony which I love (as an alto usually or a tenor previously). Maybe one day as a soloist, but not yet please! (The two times I sang solo to a small group of friends in Toronto doesn't count.)

When the altos of the byoV choir I sing in ( were asked by Alexis to sing as backup for her 1-1/2 weeks ago, I took the plunge - gulp - and said I was interested.

That was actually a leap of faith for me and a big one at that. You see, I never thought I had a 'nice' or 'good' singing voice. I'm not sure where that came from and wish I knew - perhaps it could assist in the healing of my thyroid which I am currently working on - as I only started singing in choirs in my early 20's, never before. (I would have loved if they had a choir program in school when I attended, like they do nowadays, as I've always loved to sing...see my very first posting, Call to Action (July 5, 2010),

I took it upon myself to challenge myself for two main reasons: my vision of a children's choir where I will probably sing solo - read my first two blog postings in particular to learn more - and for the potential healing of my thyroid (the self-expression part of the body, metaphysically speaking).

You might wonder, "How does (any of) this relate to Mothers?" Good question!

Well, apparently my Mom had a beautiful singing voice that others for miles - or metres - could hear (and comment upon favourably) as she sang up and down mountains and through forests in her native Austrian homeland. (That's Austria, not Australia! ;)) I say apparently as I never heard her sing and wish I had. (The removal of her thyroid caused that if I have my facts straight.)

By the way, a bit more of my amazing Mother on A Matter of Degrees posting (August 1st, 2010),

Though my mother gave birth to me and my other siblings, I realize that we all are mothers (with a small 'm') in one way or another. Not in the traditional birthing of babies kind-of-way, but in the birthing of creative projects and/or taking care of pets and/or plants even! (My former adopted cat was like 'my baby.')

Please understand that I have a great respect for Mothers, including and especially for single Mothers as this is not meant to lessen or diminish their role and responsibilities at all. (I personally believe that mothers should be paid for their 'work' as I think it is the highest calling and one of the toughest responsibilities in the world....hmmm, maybe that's why I'm not a traditional 'mother' (notice the small 'm'). ;)

How are you a 'mother'? Are you tending to and nurturing your pet projects, dreams, and/or visions?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Dance of Politics

Politics, in my opinion, is an illusion if not a game. And at times, it is like a dance, a dance of power and control.

Political parties strategize in terms of winning people's minds to their party: the likelihood of the public voting in their favour and/or the possibility of swaying people to the contrary of what they may have believed in and/or voted for in past.

Consider the MLAs in BC for example - some in the past year - who have resigned from one of the main political parties to join, usually, the opposing party! (I find that rather interesting and somewhat amusing, don’t you?)

At the end of January or beginning of February, I had witnessed this play of power in the forms of a survey that came via email and an automated telephone message. One could speculate the reason and possible outcome of these surveys as revealed in the questions.

According to the survey outcome, I assumed the parties would reconsider their stance on important electoral issues leading up to the May election in BC. This in turn could challenge me, i.e., sway me as a potential elector to cast my ballot in favour of a particular political party. Isn't that what electoral and political campaigns are about anyway? To influence voting members in their decision to vote for them?!

The distorted survey questions were not only absurd to me and poorly worded, but shaping seemingly into some form of a bribe. I was appalled, yet not 100% shocked given the state of political leaders in past and our political history. Political leaders are known to make false promises, breaking their word after being elected.

The survey alluded to undercover, criminal-like activity on a mental/emotional level, though at the same time outrightly blatant, at least to me. Did the wordsmith(s) deem it innocuous?

The questions posed implied that if you were to lean towards the right – and the political leader was left-wing, then he or she might reconsider their positions on previous decisions they made on grave matters, in order, and only, to gain your vote.

I say this because the survey went more or less like this: If the Liberal party voted in favour of Enbridge, how likely would you be to vote for the Liberals? And vice versa, If the Liberal party were to vote against Enbridge – an important environmental issue for us in BC in this upcoming election by the way – how likely would you vote for the Liberals?

Excuse me?! Hello? Are you kidding me? was the immediate thought I had. I couldn’t believe it. How appallingly preposterous! The juxtaposition of the languaging was not only unusual, it was downright ludicrous. At least, that’s what I thought of the questions they were asking of others and me.

To top things off, the message continued on astoundingly with the audacity to repeat similar questions concerning the NDP party. I was blown away. I just couldn’t believe my ears!

Needless to say, I outrightly refused to answer directly, instead often replying, “neutral” or “not sure” and stating that the questions were blackmail-like in nature; I couldn't think of the right term at the time, I was so stunned. Hmmm, wonder what they did with my survey result?!

Oh, and by the way, did I wish to forward this survey to others as the recording suggested? 'ell no! Though it might have been interesting to see what people’s responses might have been, I wasn’t interested in wasting their time, nor mine. (I hung on till the end only to give them my impression of the survey, even if it was by voice mail.)

I have discovered many years ago, that there are politics in life no matter where you go, especially in business whether public, private, or nonprofit. And politics is definitely a business, a business in itself, in its own right.

It reminds me of a popular 1980's tune with an apropos message in its lyrics, "The politics of dancing, the politics of ooo feeling good...” except the reverse in this case, "the dancing of politics." (See

What do you think of the political climate right now in BC? And the politics of life - life in general and yes, your life also! Is there a reflection? Perhaps a micro- of a macrocosm?