Thanks to all the writers who contributed to this newsletter. In this installment, I’ve divided the excerpts into five categories. In the first section, “Choir,” singer-writers reflect on the choir itself. The second section, “Concerts” contains choir members’ comments about past concerts; the third section, “Songs,” features responses to songs we prepared for our spring 2011 concert; the fourth section, “Musical Life,” contains excerpts from choir members’ musical biographies, and the final section, “Muriel Stackley: Keeping the spirit and passing it on,” contains choir members’ responses to the farewell letter from Dr. Mary Cohen’s friend, Muriel Stackley. I hope you enjoy reading these reflections from our spring, 2011 choir season.
IMCC Community Choir Newsletter: Better Late than Never
The editors (Jen Gerbyshak and Mary Trachsel) apologize for the inexcusable lateness of this newsletter. It’s inexcusable, yet we apologize. Below are excerpts from last term’s choir writing. Expect more timely editions in the future! Eds.
Songwriter’s Workshop Performance
I am so glad that I attended the Songwriter’s Workshop performance. The music was definitely engaging, but what really struck me was how much pain was expressed. Of course, one can respond by saying, “Well, duh! They’re in prison!” but that was not the point that I heard. It was the specificity of the hurt that was without blame or rationalization. It was the focused, mindful awareness of the stage they are now at in their lives, a focus primarily on the present rather than the past or the future. I was so impressed by their willingness to share this with each other and with us outsiders—neither self-pity nor macho bravado. Continue reading “Newsletter: March, 2011”
Mary, thank you for the wonderful performance last night. It was a rare opportunity to experience community where the lines between inside and outside are lovingly blurred. Thanks for all you do.
Jefri , Program Assistant and Media Director for the School of Social Work She is also a founding member of Project CHANGE
From a friend who attended the More Love concert in April 2010:
The article you sent (Kenneth’s Press Citizen article from Dec 5, 2010) was so moving. The prisoner expressed the sense of what we felt when we went to your concert last spring. We saw the inner happiness shine through on the prisoner’s faces who were so deeply connected with what they were singing. By expressing their creativity through songwriting and singing, they are contacting the infinite reservoir of creative intelligence deep within their own Self and that is bound to bring deep inner fulfillment and happiness and ultimately peace. Continue reading “Newsletter: December, 2010”
Greetings! This summer edition of the Oakdale Community Choir newsletter contains excerpts from choir members’ writing in the second half of the spring session. I hope that reading the thoughts below help you recall the good times we’ve had and the good music we’ve made together. Best wishes to Mary Cohen, Rose Schmidt, and the inside singers who are taking the song-writing class this summer. I can’t wait to hear the results of the class, and I look forward to gathering together with all of you again on Tuesday evenings when the summer session is over. Mary Trachsel Continue reading “Newsletter: June, 2010”
Thanks to everyone who contributed to this month’s store of writing responses. In keeping with the communal reading assignments, I’ve divided this edition of the newsletter into excerpts about musicking wherever it may occur—inside this choir or elsewhere in our past or present lives. Thanks again!
Dear Choir Members—In honor of our one-year anniversary, this newsletter traces the history of our choir through selections from past newsletters. We conclude with some new selections from recent writings of choir members and a list of all the people who have participated in the choir, past and present. Thanks to all who contributed to this newsletter and to the vitality of the choir.
The Better-late-than-never, Thanksgiving 2009 edition of The Oakdale Volunteer Choir Newsletter.
A word from the editors: At the beginning of the winter holiday season, we are thankful for this choir and the opportunities it gives us to make music and socialize with all of you. Thanks to Dr. Cohen for leading us, and thanks to Bill Hilderbrand for supplying the turkey for this issue.—Mary Trachsel and Jen Gerbyshak Continue reading “Newsletter: Thanksgiving, 2009”
This semester, it has been my pleasure not only to sing with you but also to write with you. Another pleasure of this semester, for me, has been editing two of these Chorus Newsletters, where our voices come together on the page. As Dr. Cohen mentioned at the concert, I’m hoping to extend the writing component of the choir into a writers’ workshop at Oakdale. A couple of you have already let me know you are interested (thanks!). I hope others of you will be interested as well. If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing; if you can read, you can write.
I decided to call this newsletter “Meditations from the Choir” because each one represents a writer pausing to reflect or meditate upon the experience of Tuesday evening rehearsals in the IMCC testing room.
Dear Choir Members—In this writing sampler I’ve collected passages from the submissions of those who have given permission to share. Thanks to all of you who have contributed to this collection. It was a privilege to read the full submissions, and I wish time and space had permitted more and longer excerpts. Below you will find a mixture of written thoughts that I’ve grouped into four themes: Getting to know each other, Descriptions of our rehearsal experiences, Ourselves as singers, and Ourselves as writers. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed putting it together.