Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Hi everyone. Please don't boo me too much for having 3/4 of my gift shopping done thanks to The Music Stand and Guideposts sites. I have also decided to do a Musical Theme tree this year.
We bought a new tree after Christmas last year so most of the decorations will be new this year. I have 24 ornament instruments coming from the Music Stand. The detail on them is amazing. I also have music printed ribbon coming to make bows for the tree. I have some instrument and music signs I've been collecting through the years to add to the tree as well. Some my late Mom gave me over the years including a sax.
I found some pretty clip on drum instruments in the Dollar Store for $1.00 a piece.. I have 6 blue, red and purple drums now! I have instrument garland and I ordered 6 instrument long necklaces that I can use on the tree as well. While in the Dollar Store I saw the boxes of place mats and I decided to check them out for a musical themed one, although I didn't expect to find any. Well, I was wrong. I now have 5 pretty tapestry looking ones with music in the background with and a red cardinal and Poinsettias on it. They even sparkle! What a deal for $2.00 each. I even bought my Christmas cards. My " tradition" is to write them out on Thanksgiving during the games. I'll start decorating the First Sunday in Advent which is Nov. 30th.
We'll be decorating the church the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. We have 4 trees to put up and decorate plus the "Hanging of the Greens" service on Sunday. During the service anyone who wants can go and pick out a Chrismon (religious symbol) and hang it on the bigger tree. The smaller tree on the other side of the Sanctuary will be decorated by the youth. There are some very pretty family ornaments that have been made and donated through the years that go on that tree. The we have one for the Narthex , the place where people walk into to go into the Sanctuary. Then there is one more tree for the stage of the fellowship hall which is used every Sunday for coffee and cookies after the service. We also have Christmas banners to put up that families have made and a green pine garland with red bows hanging from the balcony. It's very festive when all completed. Then we sit down to a soup and salad lunch. Then we go home tired but happy.
OTHER MUSICAL NEWS.
Debbie and are are getting together Sunday afternoon with the drummer and guitarist we'll be playing with for New Year's Eve. We went over the songs tonight that we have to order for us. The piano part in one key and my Sax part in another key for me. Then I can play it right off the music. Yeah. No more hand transposing every note. We also hope to stay with the band through St. Patrick's Day and Valentine's Day dances.
We can also add those songs to what we have collected and have a good start for programs, concerts, fund raisers, whatever we hope to book starting next year.
Debbie is retiring at the end of Dec. so she'll have the time after that to start something new. We will strike out on our own under the name The Grace Notes. We are very excited about all we have planned.
Elayne (Saxy Lady)
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Hi everyone. Today the Sisters in Harmony from the church played a 30 minute program at one of our nursing homes. We had a pianist, a lady who played the dulcimer and me on sax. We each take turns playing a song and here is my list. Oh, the residents got to guess what the song was each time we played.
1. Alexander's Rag Time Band--- Written in 1911
2. Blueberry Hill-- --written in 1940
3. Pennies From Heaven
4. Can't Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley
5. Beer Barrel Polka (Chorus only)
6. What A Wonderful World. This one hit the charts again in 1988 when Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong , who traveled the world bringing American Music to audiences everywhere, recorded this song of universal harmony . His song was made popular once again by the film, "Good Morning Vietnam, " and later Columbia released a new Willie Nelson album under this title.
We always go to each resident in the room and speak to them and give them a hug. One lady called me over to her and whispered, "You play beautifully. I can tell you play from your heart." That meant so much to me that she could tell that I do indeed play from my heart. It was such a joy, as always to see how they enjoy music and some like to sing along, which we encourage them to do.
The after that I had a rehearsal with the Joyful Tones that went well too. We practiced for the next two Sundays. It's sad that our group will dissolve after Christmas Eve. because 3 of us from the group are leaving after the service that night. Poor Martha, our regular pianist/organist, who is in her 80's, will be back to being the only one playing unless Austin, the drummer, decides to stay on. It's his father that is the board chair and did nothing to help Pastor Doug.
Sisters in Harmony is the one that plays at a nursing home. That group will also dissolve after we play the Christmas Program for them on Dec. 3. We play every other month. There are only 3 of us and the pianist and I are leaving. The lady who plays the dulcimer is in on this too and supports our board chairman, Jim. She and her husband love the secretary and believe every word she said. I can't understand why, but they do. The church cannot survive without the generous support of many who are leaving. Only God knows what will happen to His church. I do know that God will not bless a church that is full of strife. I hope to continue to play for them on my own, or sometimes take my pianist partner along when she retires so we can play things together, not each instrument on their own as the head of the group had us do. I'll just have to pray and wait to see what God wants me to do.
I think I've gone on long enough now. Thanks for reading this blog as I share feelings that are going on during this time.
Monday, October 13, 2014
Hi everyone. Please pray for my church. Some people have managed to block our Pastor every step of the way from leading his flock. I kid you not. One lady, our church secretary didn't like him from the get go a year ago and made it know to him even though he is her supervisor along with the board chair. The board chair has never had a role in leadership in his life but has obstructed everything Pastor wanted to do for the good of the church. Pastor wanted to bring the church back to it's regular traditions as the Disciples of Christ church was founded. They told him the didn't like him wearing his robe, he couldn't have 2 readers for scripture readings on Sundays as it would take too much time and they didn't want to go over an hour. The secretary made up serious, bold face lies about the Pastor and attacked his family, his integrity and his ethics. She would call and check that he was where he said he would be. One day he told her he was going to the library and we have two here in town. She called one and since he wasn't there she lied and said he lied to her when he was at the other library. What gives her that right to check up on him and to disrespect him all the time and get away with it. I don't understand. He has done nothing to her.
She took over a hour and a half of a board meeting and did nothing but tell one lie after another about the Pastor and the chairman didn't stop her. Pastor's wife was sitting there and heard all of what was being said. I felt so sorry for her.
Well, after much prayer and talking to his family, he has handed in his resignation effective the end of the year. Christmas Eve will be his last Service there.
I have prayed about this situation as well, and I am also resigning from the church and all I do as a member as of Christmas Eve. I can not and will not stay in a church that pushes out one of the best Pastors this church has ever had. We have had 6 pastors in 10 years. What does that tell you? This church is or will no longer be meeting my Spiritual needs when Pastor Doug leaves.
Many are very upset that he is leaving, but the few that made it so difficult are "surprised" that he didn't stay and fight. Fight what and whom? Why should he have to do that. Our Regional minister said that if the church won't let him lead, then he has no choice but to leave.
So I am asking God to bless the members of the church and help the trouble makers to be weeded out and help the church grow once again. The Bible says that God will not bless a church that has strife. Yes, I need to go too.
Sunday, September 28, 2014
Bio continued. Part two.
I was playing in a Praise band at Church where Gary was the director. The band decided they wanted to write their own operetta telling the Christmas Story in modern day times. So, "Mary, Joseph and Louie " was born. It took place in New York City and involved a cabbie and a bread and breakfast and a barn. The cabbie's fare were two people named Mary and Joseph. We all wrote a song for the operetta. I have never composed a song in my life, but I was about to do it now. God and Gary helped me through the process. There was a vocalist named Sheri who also worked on the song with me. She wrote the lyrics and I wrote the music. I had her sing the song as she had a great Roberta Flack kind of voice and style. The name of the song is "All The Dreams." It was a love song from Mary to Joseph and it was sung while they were in the taxi trying to find a place to bed down for the night. It gets better. Arjay wrote the narrative which pulled all the songs together into a story. Opening night was Christmas Eve, Dec. 24. It just happened to be our wedding anniversary, so I dedicated this love song to Arjay for our anniversary have to look for the word sheet and I'll print them later on in my bio.
As time went on I began to market myself and my first paid gig was at Barnes and Noble on Dec. 14, 1997. I also was booked for Walden Books and Ruby Tuesday. Ruby Tuesday cancelled at the last minute.
In 2000 we moved to Zephyrhhills and I had an agent for a while and was booked at Gospel Fests, pizza parlors and such. I became The Gospel Sax Lady. However, I didn't renew my contract with my agent after he began wanting a percentage of my tips even though I wasn't getting paid a certain amount. These were also bookings I got myself. Another life lesson learned. Promote oneself!
Then circumstances changed and my Asthma began to act up and I became disabled and was receiving disability payments. Now, even though my Dr. said playing was good for my lungs, we both knew that the people at the SS office would never understand my being able to play and still be disabled. So, I stopped playing out in public and only played in my church as I believed God would protect me and He did. He knew I was playing for him and him alone. I always give God the Glory. The good news is I just received a letter from SS stating since I am fully retired as of Sept 14, my birthday, I no longer am eligible for disability benefits. I am now on regular Medicare retirement benefits. Yea!!! This means I can now play out anywhere I want. Because I'm free now, a friend and I have a paid gig in a band on New Year's Eve! We are so excited. We'll start working on the music in October. They play a lot of country but had also said we can play what we like too. We like the oldies but goodies. So we can mesh the two together since the leader of the band said we will be the meat and potatoes of the band.! My friend Debbie and I hope to market ourselves next year as the Grace Notes . Deb is retiring the end of Dec. This way we both can continue to play for God's glory, be it religious or secular.
I'm looking forward to sharing my talent God gave me in new circumstances. I'd like to close with the last phone conversation I had with my dear Dad the day before he died 2 yrs. ago this past
August. He said, and I quote, " I'm so proud of you and so happy that you are continuing to play your sax and bring joy to others. That's what it's all about. Keep playing Elayne. Keep playing. " Of course I promised Dad I would keep playing as long as God gives me the breath do so. I also thanked Dad for all he has done for me and told him that if it weren't for his private teaching I wouldn't be the saxist I am today. His answer,being a very humble man, " You already had the talent to begin with and all I did, along with your school teacher, Mr. Pelton., was help to cultivate that talent you were given by God." I will always love my Dad and I miss him so.
So there you have my bio. Hope you enjoyed it.
Sunday, September 28, 2014
Hi everyone. I've been asked to do a program on my bio for a Sisterhood that I belong to. I am honored to do so. I was asked to focus on my music, so I did. I'll add these to my blogs in sections. I'll label them part 1 and 2. Here is Part 1..
.MY LIFE AS A SAXIST.
My life began on Sept. 14, 1948 in a hospital in NE. Pa. Because I decided to show up two months early, I only weighed 2 lbs and 6 oz. and was the length of a ruler...just 12 inches long. I was then placed in an incubator for 2 months until I reached 5 pounds. While in the glass “tank” I began to show my love of rhythm by tapping my foot against the glass and was given the nickname of “Thumper.” My other known title became “Princess of the Nursery.” I was born to a Mother who sang in the choir and had a beautiful soprano voice. She would sit with me on her lap at the piano and recorded in my baby book that my first note on the piano was C. So, my love of music began. Mom would always warm up her voice with Mozart's “Alleluia” so I learned to sing it along with her. To this day I love that piece.
Mom divorced my biological father when I was 5 and married a wonderful man when I was 6 who was a music teacher and band director. From then on I thought of him as Dad and he adopted me, so we really were a family. When I was about 7 or 8 I took an interest in the piano so Dad bought me the red Thompson beginner book for piano. He started giving me lessons. After about a year I just didn't want to play piano. I really hated practicing. So the next thing was I wanted to play flute like Dad did. I was about 9 then. Dad talked me out of the flute and rented a silver alto sax. He felt I would have more fun with the sax. Well, here's how my first lesson went. Dad told me to just put the mouthpiece in my mouth and blow. I did. What came out sounded like a wounded duck. Dad turned to my Mom and told her that If I practiced I would be good. Dad later told me most kids can't even get that much of a sound the first time. So my sax playing began.
I wasn't the only musician in our family growing up.I had 2 brothers come along and they later each played instruments. Robb played trumpet and guitar and Doug played trombone and drums. Our merry little band grew. However, I am 9 and 10 yrs. older than my 2 brothers so in time I got married and moved out. That was a mistake. We divorced 2 years later.
Anyway, I played sax in the school band, orchestra, dance band and marching band. For my 16th birthday my Dad bought me my very own brand new Conn Starburst sax, which I still am playing today .In my junior and senior years I was playing first chair, first part in all of them. I tried out for Regional Band when I was a sophomore, but didn't make it. Sight reading was my downfall. However, Dad worked with me and I made Regional and State Band and first chair, first part in both competitions in my junior and senior years of high school. Dad was a judge of the saxes but of course had to disqualify himself because of being my Dad.
Fast forward to 1980 when my new husband, Arjay, of just 4 months and I moved to Fl. I had my sax stored in my in-law's home and decided I wanted to play again. So they shipped it to me. I began to play in a non-denominational church band and loved it. Gospel Sax was great. But I was only doing it because I liked to play. Then the pastor and the band and congregations split and didn't tell me! I showed up to play and there was no band or pastor. What? Yep, that really happened.
In 2000 I started going to the Lutheran church in Town and Country where I was singing in the choir and met Gary Griffith, the music director. When he learned I played sax he encouraged me to come and play along with the choir on the hymns, so I did. It was then I realized that God was speaking to me to do Music Ministry. I didn't know where to begin and Gary became my mentor. After he heard me play he encouraged me to go public. I didn't think I was “good “ enough, but God and Gary did. By that time I was playing soprano sax as I had 3 herniated discs in my neck and wasn't able to hang the alto around my neck. The we discovered I could play the alto with a sax harness that reminded me of me of something out of Fredrick's of Hollywood, but I didn't care. I could now play both Alto and Soprano saxes.
Here are the words to All The Dreams.
All the dreams I ever wanted,
All the dreams I ever dreamed,
All the wishes one could hope for...
All my life I have longed for you,
All my life I have prayed for
All the things that God would bring in You.
You are my love,
My gift from God above,
In all my life, in all my dreams
I could never have dreamed
One as wonderful as you.
All the dreams I ever wanted,
All the dreams I ever dreamed,
All the wishes one could hope for
I'm sorry I don't have a way to play the song.
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