"Let us cheer the weary traveller" 

Today's post comes from a superior writer, who published these words in 1903. To hear the music of the notation, listen to the audio file at the end.

They that walked in darkness sang songs in the olden days—Sorrow Songs—for…

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Soundtrack of a yesteryear (May 31)

Songs have a way of becoming mementos for persons, places, events, and feelings. The weekend of May 31 is a special one for me. Let me use two songs to tell you why.

Years ago, he and I were eager…

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Music is about communication

“Giving a speech isn’t like performing a musical instrument; it doesn’t have to be perfect.” 

I heard this in my college speech class, and it didn’t sit right. I had been to musical performances that hadn’t been perfect, but they…

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Bless the limitations

The Spirit of Jefferson and Farmer's Advocate published a story this week about the Battlescapes project. Reading it was like opening a time capsule; I had been interviewed for it four months ago. Already since then, I’ve mentally moved on…

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On Mother's Day

This post is a little off topic for this blog, but since it's apropos to the weekend, here goes.

Mother’s Day must be awkward for some pastors. Always falling on Sunday, it begs to be acknowledged, but how should a…

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There were hits before radio

Hit songs are hits for a reason. There’s a combination of catchiness, uniqueness, and lyricism that wins so much loyalty that the song becomes self-propelling. 

The very idea of a hit song seems to begin with radio and vinyl records…

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"All this time, I've been underneath Paris?"

A couple moments from Pixar’s Ratatouille are unforgettable. The first is when Remy, the foodie rat, emerges from the sewer system and beholds the city lights of Paris. 

“Paris?” he says. “All this time, I’ve been underneath Paris?” 

The other…

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A new piano solo is out today!

“The Chinook Is Blowing” is possibly the best produced piano solo from Vandalia River. It's in the lyric piano tradition, wordlessly evoking a scene from nature and literature. With a percussive motive and gentle but soaring arpeggios, it paints the…

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Poetry for such a weekend

This morning's soundtrack consisted of highway noise, a stirring son, and the call of our neighbor's rooster. If you've lived near a rooster, you know he doesn't just crow once to tell you the sun is rising. He crows to…

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New music is coming from Vandalia River!

I have a new piano solo for you.

There is a moment in late winter when the wind brings warmth, and you know that this time the weather isn’t teasing. The trees are still skeletal, but the new grass glows…

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Turning thunder into song

My father surprised me one night by telling me he liked thunder. I didn't like thunder. Thunder made me feel like unseen powers were about to crush my bedroom between their hands. Thunder made me rise and go to my…

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