Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Amish Cats

My husband and I recently returned from a gloriously successful performance tour to Ohio.  On a free day between practice and performances, we made a trek to the Ohio countryside to visit a farm in the largest Amish settlement in the USA.  Set in the picturesque rolling hills of Ohio, this working farm welcomed tourists eager to learn of the Amish lifestyle. 

Arriving at this lovely farmstead, I was greeted by kittens and cats of all colors and stripe from black with white paws and grey striped to calicos with white faces, black paws, and orange-brown tails.  Kittens and cats, especially calicos are hard for me to resist so these happy little cats got a lot of attention from me.

I took the tour through the homes and barn being followed by friendly kittens at every turn, asked questions, and learned so much about this fascinating group of people doing their best to live their unique lifestyle in the midst of 21st-century technology and demands.

One thing I learned was that the girls and women of the community wear dresses of many colors – blues, browns, reds, and purples – with white aprons and black or white caps.Now it made sense why there were so many calico cats on this farm – they were all little Amish “girls” showing off their tri-colored outfits. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Blessing of the Animals

Many churches in the United States celebrate the Feast of St Francis of Assisi early October each year. The feast commemorates the life of St Francis, who was born in the 12th century and is the  patron saint of animals and the environment. It is a popular day for pets to be “blessed."

And so, on Sunday, October 6th, the congregation of St. Bede Episcopal Church in Forest Grove, Oregon included a "Blessing of the Animals" in our morning service. 
It was chaotic
it was filled with barking dogs, frightened cats, and scared gerbils
it was exciting for the kids
it was nerve-wracking for the priest
and it was yet another unique worship experience for this church musician.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

It is time to visit elephants again!

I think I've found my next exotic travel destination - The Thai Elephant Conservation Center in Hang Chat, Thailand.

With my visit to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage near Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1995, I developed an appreciation for these majestic beasts and their mahouts.  (Mahouts are boys who take up the  'family profession' when he is assigned an elephant early in its life. They remain bonded to each other throughout their lives.)
 Many of the baby and young elephants I "met" during my visit to Pinnawala were just getting to know their mahouts.  I wonder where these "friends" are now?

Recently I came across a YouTube video of the Thai Elephant Orchestra, a group of 14 elephants from the Thai Elephant Conservation Center performing with young human musicians.  Quite amazing.

If you'd like to learn more about these talented animals, their mahouts, and the musicians involved in creating and writing for this orchestra, visit 

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Sounds of the Beach

Roaring surf, wind through the shore pines, laughing children, barking dogs, and....

cawing crows! 

Yes, you read that correctly. 
The summer sounds of the beach include a 5 a.m. wake-up fly-by of our denizen of local crows. 

With that raucous sound another day at the beach has dawned!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Shadow!  A handsome corgi has become the newest member of the music loving dog group who travels to my Lincoln City organ studio with their owners for organ lessons.

Shadow makes the trip down the coast every other week with Margaret to give my husband and me some "dog time."  We don't have a dog of our own, so these visits by dogs owned by my students and friends are great animal encounter moments.

Thanks Shadow for joining the group.  You follow two great music-loving dogs - Dino and Bailey - who traveled to my studio for years. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

In Memory of Bailey and Dino - The Organ Lesson Dogs

 My organ student, Margaret, has brought a dog or two with her to her organ lessons for years.  The dogs look forward to the 30 minute drive to the lesson and my husband and I look forward to a bit of time with them before the lessons begin.

Bailey, a yellow lab, was the one allowed to come inside the studio for the lesson.  She was marvelously behaved, loved organ music, and became a great friend.  Unfortunately, Bailey died of old age recently.

Her buddy, Dino, a wonderful beagle also rode "shot-gun" on the trip down the coast and protected the car while Margaret and Bailey came inside for the lesson.  Margaret lost Dino several months ago as well. So, this blog entry is in their memory.  Two great dogs! Two great music-loving dogs!  Two great friends!

We miss you Bailey and Dino!


Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Sandpipers Have Returned

It is spring on the Oregon Coast and the sandpipers have returned.  

Delightful.  Playful.  Charming.  Amusing.  Entertaining.  Captivating.  Enchanting.

Sandpipers on the Oregon Coast.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Creativity at the Beach

My "Rock City Sculpture" at the beach continues to change on a daily basis. 

It is fluid
depending on the tides,
    the shaking of the earth,
        people who build and
             people who destroy. 

It keeps my mind open
     to possibilities and 
           to always look for
                   creative outlets and
                             joyful ways to share the beauty of art
                                          anywhere, anytime, and with anyone.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sheep May Safely Graze

Did someone say the organist was going to play "Sheep May Safely Graze?"


Let me see that score!

I've heard this is the best piece Johann Sebastian Bach ever composed.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Zeppo! The Cat Who Loves Organ Music

Zeppo, a swarthy young cat with killer looks and instincts, is also a lover of organ music.  This handsome cat comes running when his owner strikes the first chords of his practice session.

Zeppo is equally as comfortable sitting atop the organ staring at the performer making sure every note is correctly played,

 striking a languorous pose on the pedalboard when the mighty instrument is at rest,

or creating his own version of "Kitten on the Keys."

A cat for every organist! 


Monday, January 14, 2013

A Zoo and an Organ

There are not too many places in the world where one can visit a zoo in the morning and attend an organ concert in the afternoon all in the same park.  
However, in San Diego, California it is possible at Balboa Park

There, a person can---
watch the lions being fed their morning meal; 

  • feel for the panda after she makes make five loops around her enclosure before lying panting on a log;  

marvel at the flamingos standing on one spindly leg while searching their pond for invisible food;
                               gawk at the two-humped camel standing like a statue;

mourn for the elephants weaving their trunks in boredom;
and yes, even hear an organ concert at the Spreckels OUTDOOR Organ Pavilion - 
on one of the largest outdoor pipe organs in the world!