Posts filed under ‘music’

More Lessons to Come

I’m back to this location after working on a different site for the past year and a half. I hope you’ll continue to follow me here.

Today I posted at The Word Guild blog as I do once a month.  Today is about continuing to learn. If that’s what you do, it’s a good thing.


More Lessons to Come

As long as we live, we really ought to keep on learning. The other option to that is being stagnant or dying. Tough words, but they’re true. Think of seniors who take up university studies. They now have the time to devote to it and they want to keep learning. Or people who do crossword puzzles to keep their minds active.

I teach seniors at a community centre. Now that they have more time on their hands, and perhaps a little extra cash, they often strive to learn new things and keep their gray matter (brains) working. In my class they’ve learned about writing. Two of my students have written their life story and had them published. Other classes I’ve taught include learning about setting up a blog and writing posts, as well as storytelling. Bucket list or continuing to learn doesn’t matter, but what does is their willingness to keep on being a student, regardless of their age.

Recently I watched a video of seniors in a dance lesson on a Facebook post. In the article and accompanying video, the writer quoted a study out of McGill University in Canada in which researchers and participants discovered that “learning the steps necessary to tango actually improved brainpower and balance.” The participants were seniors who had “experienced a fall within the last year and were scared of falling again.” Otherwise the seniors were healthy. It showed that when we learn something new, the brain develops new pathways and the mind becomes more alert.

Read more here.





April 11, 2018 at 4:23 pm Leave a comment

This is Christmas

Another of my favourite performers. Enjoy and Merry Christmas.



December 25, 2015 at 12:36 pm Leave a comment

Psychology about shopping– and it’s time to shop

Since people are shopping and planning for Christmas, this might be a good time to share this article that Cathy Mendler, fellow newsletter writer, put up this week. It’s not her article but she too was looking for a way to help her readers get organized. She is an organizer, after all.

These science-backed secrets reveal why and how you spend, to help you become a more mindful shopper; this is the subtitle of Lauren Gelman‘s article.


Christmas Tree in the Snow


My mother, after all, taught me a few tricks about shopping, one being don’t take your children shopping (except if they have to try on shoes, perhaps); and I’ve learned since that grocery shopping on an empty stomach may be one of the worst enemies of someone trying to mind their food intake (thanks to Weight Watchers for this tip). I’m sure I can come up with more than the attraction of holiday music and the store that’s been decorated since Halloween. Those who work in malls may be very tired of “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” even before Christmas Eve arrives, at least that’s what my daughter said when she worked retail over the holidays.

Now if you’re just going to have coffee with a friend and you’ve got your shopping done, you can listen to the holiday music as much as you want or tune out the music while catching up.

Read more of Gelman’s article here:

angel ornament

Perhaps this article will help you keep your sanity and enjoy Christmas, because it’s not just about the  gifts you get. There really is more to it. More about that in an upcoming post.


November 22, 2014 at 1:36 am Leave a comment

A Homer Watson Tradition and a New Display

The Homer Watson Gallery in Kitchener is bursting with new exhibits again. This month and until early November, artists Deborah Pryce, Diane Young and Anita Kunz have their work displayed in the various rooms. Deborah’s work is hung in the Calley room, Diane’s in the adjoining room, and Anita’s in the Homer Watson Gallery.










In Sacred Cows, Anita looks at social situations in which we give far more prominence to people in society than perhaps they are worth.


In an article in Waterloo Region Record, we learn that Anita’s art work has been printed in many “prominent magazines such as Time, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, GQ, New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, Newsweek and Atlantic Monthly, among others. Or you have on your personal library shelf one of the 50 book jackets she has illustrated.
In addition to magazines and book publishers, the acclaimed freelancer has worked for record companies, design firms and advertising agencies.”

From Anita’s artist statement:

I’ve always been fascinated by social issues and how we react to certain people in our culture. The subject of celebrity is endlessly fascinating to me, especially how we elevate some arguably questionable people to a higher status…




Another of Anita’s works of social commentary, Elvis’s Sneer, but after all  he’s only flossing his teeth just like we’re meant to do.

The Waterloo Region Record’s article in the Saturday paper,  titled “International Illustrator Returns Home with Exhibition at Homer Watson Gallery,” focuses on Anita’s work but also mentioned the other two artists.






Diane’s  interactive display of busts invites the visitor to try to figure out what the expression says, then to flip up the small sign and see what the artist was thinking. I loved that feature of her exhibit.



DSCF8059Dianne with one of her expressive creations, but I will let you go there and figure it out for yourself

In her display, Robert Reid of the Record says,

Diane Young’s 11 bronze-coloured, naturalist, clay busts are commissioned portraits, encompassing male and female, spanning the spectrum of ages from young to old and bridging cultures.



From Diane’s artist statement:

From the moment I first held clay in my hands, I knew that I had found my life’s passion. I have always been fascinated by the human face and it has become the sole source of my inspiration…


DSCF8078                                                                                                  Another of Diane’s creations and I didn’t guess what she was thinking. I had an entirely different idea.



DSCF8081An interesting juxtaposition that Deborah noticed when we looked around the gallery a separate day from the opening. We can see into the Calley Room and view one of her pieces.




DSCF8036Deborah arranging a bouquet of flowers that were delivered for her on opening day.


DSCF8035 A more abstract look at how change affects people.







Opening of her artist’s statement “There’s a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.” -Leonard Cohen, Anthem. And more:

The difficult stuff in life has a way of tarnishing our lustre, hardening us or pulling us into our cocoons. So, too, the creative spirit easily gets crusted over from neglect, fear of failing, disappointments, or even by the safety of the tried and true.




DSCF8043At the opening reception, Deborah talks with Darlene. Supporters included family, friends, fellow choir members and others from the church community.





Introductions at the opening reception. Stephen Woodworth, Conservative MP for Kitchener Centre (Ontario), congratulating the artists and offering a few words to guests




Faith Heiplinger, Executive Director at the gallery, introduces each of the artists and asks them to describe the focus and meaning of their works in the exhibit


My friends Deb and Lorraine, and I went out to lunch a few days after the opening, then at the gallery afterwards we  had more opportunity to look around and ask Deb about the work involved in her exhibits and the meaning that went into those creations.


I am so proud of  you, Deb, and the incredible display of your artistic expression. And I was pleased to meet Diane and Anita and see their amazing work as well.






Photos by L. and C. Wilker, and this last one by L. Ballard.

September 19, 2014 at 12:09 am Leave a comment

A one-year celebration–Maranatha Lutheran and St. Philip Lutheran




One  year ago, after much searching on the part of Maranatha Lutheran Church, council chairs Sharon Heeralall (Maranatha) and Carolyn Hertzberger (St. Philip) signed an agreement to work in a covenant relationship together. The agreement means that the Carribean Lutheran congregation will have their own services and that St. Philip is their church home. Also agreed was the possibilities of sharing particular services and celebrations over the year, and that banners and altar arrangements for the seasons would alternate months. St. Philip meets at 9:30 am on a Sunday and Maranatha meets at 11:15 am for their service.




Our new sign out front of the church, noting the special celebration. And I see we need to correct one spelling next time around


When sharing a building, congregations also need to consider sharing kitchen space, storage for banners, serving dishes, as well a space for another pastor’s desk and an additional phone line.  A communications team handles any concerns that come up, and this far, we have worked together at accommodation and coordination, wherever needed.

The pastors have worked together as well. St Philip’s members were invited to Maranatha’s Black History month celebration, and Maranatha Lutheran has joined in combined Lenten services, especially those held at St. Philip over Lent. Also Christmas Eve service was shared in St. Philip’s sanctuary. Today the celebration marked the one-year anniversary and we look forward to more years with our sister church.




Pastor Rick Pryce (St. Philip) and Pastor Peter Kuhnert (Maranatha)



Today’s service was one of celebration, but there was also an emotional counterbalance. A mix of joy at the celebration and sadness as we’re bidding good-bye to Pastor Rick who will be heading east to Nova Scotia in a few weeks. I certainly felt the cross paths of emotion today. The joy at the lively music with the realization that friends are moving across the country. Pastor Rick  and his wife Deb have had a good effect on St. Philip in so many ways. We will miss them.




Worship assistant Cheryl greeting members at the close of the service, along with Pastor Rick and  Pastor Peter





Cheryl and Diane sharing  the peace




Deb Pryce with Alma





Checking out the dessert table at the celebratory lunch, with Monica and Angela





We are blessed with our pianist/organist and choir director Zhana Wohl just as Maranatha are blessed by their man of many talents. Ubaldo Rojas plays many instruments. I wondered if he could be a contender for Oktoberfest. Dinner music.

We had a mix of foods and I tried some different Caribbean food this time. The Jamaican patties were very tasty, and the punch tasted like watermelon.



Violet is seated at the far end and Angela close by.  There’s a lovely young woman in the middle whose name I do not know yet. Then Jean standing at the back



DSCF7262                                                                                                                                    More Maranatha ladies smiling for the camera




We had not only St. Philip and Maranatha represented, but also a family from Pastor Rick’s previous parish at Wellesley





Ubaldo Rojas and two fine looking ladies, then Katarina Kuhnert, Arlene Knight, Hanne Kuhnert and Pastor Peter Kuhnert





More posing for the camera




Eva at the end, then two more ladies whom I had not met before



Deb at the table with the members from Wellesley. You can see other members from both congregations



Another member of Maranatha, then Jean ( Eugenie) and Leonard whom I met at  a Lenten supper


I am pleased to greet our Maranatha sisters and brothers and know in time that I will learn more names. I came away hoping that more St. Philip members will share in future events.  We move on to our second year together.







June 24, 2014 at 11:38 am Leave a comment

Black History Month–Maranatha– Part 2



The chicken was delicious. Everything was good.

Over the yummy Caribbean lunch, we talked with people at our table, several who are members of Maranatha. Dana and her husband, from Toronto,  were guests of a member. Dana asked how we, who were not from one of the islands, liked the Caribbean food. I said we’d enjoyed it the year before and this year was no exception. The chicken was especially delicious.

Angie, who sat around the corner from me, said, “You can have more, if you like.”

“Thanks, I told her.  Think I’ve had enough and will save a space for dessert.”

Making my way to another table, I asked Sylma Fletcher if I might get a few of her photos for my blog and she was happy to oblige.

Dessert included a celebration cake and plenty of fresh fruit.


Celebration cake; photo credit, Sylma.


Ken Daley art

One of two pieces reproduced for the service program, and gracious permission by artist Ken Daley to  use it on my blog.

The afternoon program began back in the church sanctuary, perhaps a little later than planned, but there had been many people to accommodate in the fellowship hall and the extra time offered a good chance to meet people and chat. For me it included the mother of a child I had once taught in preschool. It’s always a treat to see Chloe and say hello.

_SYL6733Drumming  group from Cameron Heights; photo credit, Sylma

First off in the program was the Cameron Heights drumming group under the direction of their leader, Tim. He gave us some history on how these drums were made, which was fascinating. Then the group went through a drumming routine. Who would know that a drum of that size could produce such variety in sound. But then I am not a drummer.

_SYL6742                                                                                                                  Cameron Heights Concert Choir, under the direction of Mrs. Brenneman; photo credit, Sylma

After the drumming group, the concert choir filed up to the front and Mrs. Brenneman, their leader, told us about the first two African pieces they would sing. After finding their note on the piano, they began singing accapella. The third song was a piece by Bob Marley, African-American singer. The choir performed it, to our delight, and then we were given the opportunity to join them in the four parts. What a wonderful piece and so enjoyable to sing. The tune was in my head for some time after the event.

_SYL6779                                                                                                                                                                              Peter Braid, MP; photo credit, Sylma

Peter Braid, guest and Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Waterloo riding, spoke about his opportunity to attend this event. “During Black History Month, our community comes together to learn about and celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black Canadians” and how we celebrate our diversity at such an event as this. He thanked Pastor Peter Kuhnert and the Maranatha congregation “for bringing Black History Month to life.”

Braid had the opportunity to be part of the delegation to South Africa, representing Canada, for the funeral of Nelson Mandela, whose “example of courage and hope was an inspiration to many.” He said, “It was an honour for me to represent my constituents and all Canadians at Nelson Mandela’s memorial in South Africa last December… We entered the stadium to the singing and dancing of thousands of South Africans. While there was a tinge of grief in the air, the atmosphere was primarily one of celebration.  A rejoicing for what Mr. Mandela accomplished for their nation, and gratitude for his long walk.”

Braid said it rained the day of the funeral, and it was unrelenting, but “Africans consider rain a blessing, and fitting on the day of a funeral.”

“It’s as if the heavens were crying” one South African said to me. “Let freedom reign.”

Braid also brought good news about scholarships to be named after Mandela, a fitting tribute to the man. More information will be available later in the year, he said. “Education is the most important weapon you can use to change the world.”

When he had finished his greetings, Ms. Maedith Radlein, a retired school principal, shared her story of overcoming challenges when she first came to Canada and the ones her children also faced. Although she had already been a teacher, she achieved her Canadian certification and then moved on to be a principal of an elementary school. She spoke of feeling as though she was invisible at times, but after much persistence and learning she was successful. She challenged black youth to be persistent and to believe in their goals and to work toward them.

Claudette P. Smith, author of Stone Markers of Grace: A Lasting Legacy gave a short and entertaining reading from her new book. Then an audience member made an announcement about a new film, The First Grader, available in the library, and the program was complete.

Pastor Peter Kuhnert closed the service with prayer. Attendees left the sanctuary to visit with others, clean up after the meal, and go home. It was another successful event.


DSCF6839I think that Mrs. Smith’s book may be added to the book table next year. Some books of interest in their collection, ones the book club has read and discussed.


Peter Braid wrote on Twitter that day after the event: “As I do every year, I enjoyed celebrating Black History Month with the very welcoming congregation at Maranatha Lutheran Church today.”


With thanks, once more, to the artist, Ken Daley; Peter Braid, MP; and photographer Sylma Fletcher (for LINK) for permission to share  their art, photography and words on my blog.

March 5, 2014 at 4:54 pm Leave a comment

Black History Celebration a Success–Maranatha–Part 1

Members and pastor of Maranatha Lutheran Church can count themselves blessed by the event on Sunday, February 23rd to mark Black History Month. The church was filled, community members found their way to Maranatha’s new location on Woodhaven Road in Kitchener, and a good number from St. Philip Lutheran attended as well, including my husband and me. Since we share this building now as our place of worship, it was fitting that  we worship and celebrate together.

_SYL6833                                                                                                                                           Helping people find their way to the celebration; photo credit, Sylma

I’ve looked forward to this year’s celebration and the enthusiasm that the Caribbean Lutherans bring to their worship, somewhat different than traditional Lutherans I have known and worship with. Being truthful, I was also looking forward to tasting Caribbean food and the program. It always includes music.

DSCF6836                                                                                                                                                                  Display in the narthex

We entered the sanctuary and listened to the music of the Starlite Steel Band, while more members gathered, while women from Maranatha prepped last items in the kitchen then joined us for worship and opening celebrations. Pastor Peter Kuhnert opened and welcomed all to the service. He introduced Maranatha’s new choir, composed mainly of youth,  and two playing drums. They sang Njalo (meaning Always), representing prayers to God to fill all our needs. Our hymns ranged from the more solemn “Lift Every Voice and Sing” to the lighter “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee.”

_SYL6641                                                                                                                                                                        Starlite Steel Band; photo credit, Sylma

_SYL6572                                                                                                                                           New Maranatha choir, directed by Pastor Peter Kuhnert; photo credit, Sylma

_SYL6614                                                                                                                                     Communion with Deaconess Arlene Knight and Pastor Peter Kuhnert; photo credit, Sylma

Pastor Peter addressed the theme of Celebrating Faith Through the Arts in his sermon for the day, and spoke on how we use music, dance, drama, liturgical art such as banners, poetry, spoken and written word to both demonstrate and  share our faith in God.  He also added a little humour when he spoke of being a German Lutheran who traditionally doesn’t move as much when they sing.

People may also use some of these forms in supplication and prayer as the psalmist did when he cried out in distress. Some of the best art comes from deep feeling and experience, both good and not so good.

After offering, as in traditional Lutheran services, communion was served—open to all who believe that the bread and wine represent Jesus’ gifts to us.  Pastor Rick Pryce, of St. Philip Lutheran, assisted in serving communion during which the Starlite Band played. The service concluded with another joyous African hymn, Amen, Siakudisima, which we sang in both English and the original Xhosa African language.

DSCF6830                                                                                                        Women of Maranatha, ready to serve our lunch, but it was more than a lunch. It was a feast and a tasty one too.

_SYL6668                                                                                                        Pastor Peter helpes with the serving. Members of Cameron Heights Choir are served. Photo credit, Sylma

DSCF6829                                                                                                                                                         Dennis and his wife Mary Ann, of St. Philip Lutheran

DSCF6838                                                                                                                                      Part of the  book display on African-American history. You may recognize some titles.

Watch for Part 2– the rest of the event

With appreciation to Sylma Fletcher for permission to use some of her photos

March 3, 2014 at 11:09 pm Leave a comment

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