“Liebe Goldene Konfirmanten:” A meditation on faith

The organ-tour group happened to time our arrival in Leipzig to coincide with the start of Bach Week. We tried out two of the organs in Bach’s home church, paid our respects to his grave, bought Bach stuff from his museum, and discovered the mall that happens to have a train-station built into it. (Anyone who has seen the Leipzig Hauptbahnhof knows what I mean.) We also attended worship at St. Thomas, Bach’s church.

In addition to having a Bach choir there to sing part of the service and kick off Bach Week, the day also served to honor people’s confirmations, especially those who had been members of the church for 50 years or more – the Golden Confirmands. Continue reading


Aquilegia: Now in Blueberry

Small, dark, and handsome. This was one plant three years ago. Now it covers half the flower-bed (not shown in photo.)

The flowers are about the size of a quarter, which tells you how small the plants are. The other plants in the bed are miniature roses. Continue reading

Is it Classical or Baroque?

I’m wrapping up Beethoven #2 at the moment. The “Choral Fantasy” was round one, and the Missa Solemnis is round three. I’m still not a Beethoven fan in terms of his vocal compositions, although some of his earlier masses are nice. He tends to park vocalists up at the top of our range and then come back later. Even the tenors have been muttering darkly about “was he writing for castrati?”

One of the other challenges with Beethoven, for vocalist and instrumentalist, is that we think of him as Romantic but he’s not. In some ways he prefigures the Romantic movement (Brahms) but he’s actually a classical composer, and has to be treated in that way to get an accurate sound. If you sing his music as Romantic, it’s not being true to what he intended. Continue reading

Armstrong Starters and Other Old Things

Ah, the days of old when men were bold and planes had round engines… And no electric starter. I got to fly with, and learn from, men and women of the Olde School, and they had more rituals than the Eastern Orthodox Church when it came to starting airplanes. Once I started working on vintage beasts, I learned why.

Round motors are sweet, amazing pieces of art and power when they work as desired. They are stone cold [invective of choice] when they don’t. And starting them is not as easy as the modern prime with gas, turn on magnetos, hit starter, add throttle and go. Oh no, no, one treated radial engines with the same delicate manners and techniques used for… Never mind, PG-13 blog. Anyway, crank and go is not a radial engine “thing.”

Continue reading

Art and Music Part 2

Not everything goes quietly. Remember, this is a rough draft, so typoos and plot points may get corrected and shifted between now and publication.

Nothing more happened until the middle of November. One morning, a lamb and a bunny met her in her workroom. She sketched the bunny and it went away, but the lamb insisted on being done in pastels, with a pale green bow around its neck. Only then would it fade from view, content to stay on the page. She added the lamb to her prints-for-sale selection, then took up the day’s official tasks. Continue reading


Lest We Forget. Fair Use under Creative Commons 4.0. From:https://www.theindiansun.com.au/2018/04/04/lest-forget-anzac-day-service-dawn/

April 25 is ANZAC Day, a day set aside in Australia and New Zealand to honor those who served in the militaries of both countries, and especially those who died in war. The men of Australia and New Zealand answered the call, first of England, then all free peoples, in the Boer War, WWI, WWII, Korea, and many other conflicts. We in the US don’t always think of Australia and New Zealand as having a military presence, because we don’t see them, but ask the people of East Timor and other places. You’ll learn a lot.


Art and Music: A Familiar Snippet

Shoshana is a hard voice to write through. This begins just after Oddly Familiar.

Two days later, Shoshana opened the back door to her studio and turned on the lights. A note rustled down from the switch, and she jumped, then crouched and picked it up. “Power connection now protected. Didn’t find any other problems,” she read aloud. Her landlord had signed it over the electrician’s tiny, precise cursive. She folded the note and added it to her business forms file, then went into the main gallery to check for phone messages on the machine. None. She glanced out at the main space and sighed. A tree had grown there during the power outage. It rustled a little in the wind from somewhere. This would never do—no one could get around the tree to look at her art!

Shoshana eased around the trunk and studied the leaves. Acrylics. She’d need to paint it in acrylics, if only so she could finish faster and get back to that second commission. She returned to the work area and dragged her heavy easel out into the gallery, then found the proper board and set that up. She assembled the rest of her tools, then maneuvered a small work table into the gallery, followed by a drop-cloth, just in case. She visited the tiny washroom in the back, then set to work. Continue reading