The “sounds” of music

ringing the temple bell

The temple bell stops but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers.*Matsuo Basho

Last night we ushered out 2011 and welcomed 2012 in grand style. “Sound”  tied both experiences together. Expressing gratitude for the causes and conditions that kept us going in 2011 and ringing the temple bell came first on the evening’s agenda. Buddhist tradition requires the bell be rung 108 times. “Each ring represents one of 108 earthly temptations a person must overcome to achieve nirvana.”  It also symbolizes ridding ourselves of negative karma accumulated over the course of the year.

From the temple we drove to the home of a musician friend and made a quick transition from the sound of a single mallet slammed against bronze to the sounds of four and five guitars, a flute, vocals, maracas and other percussion instruments (I got the wooden egg shaker).  The sound was professional, as it should have been, given the resumes of the musicians. Several played in the band “The Time Machine” that was active in Seattle between 1966 and 1968.  My husband and our host played between 1966 and 1967 in a band called “Stuff.”

"Stuff" at the Husky Union Building, Univ. of Wash.

The host also plays in Grupo Amoroso, a Brazilian pop, jazz and bossa nova band, and he and the flute player do house concerts and perform in coffee shops, restaurants and other small venues.

The spontaneous program went from blues to bluegrass, country and western to folk, Brazilian choro to American pop favorites from an earlier era.  Everyone who wasn’t a musician — about ten of us — got to join in, keeping the rhythm with as varied a collection of percussion instruments as I’ve ever seen.  One visitor from Malaysia braved the tabla and another from Argentina played the cabasa.  Having everyone take part in the performance was a stroke of pure genius.

This was the best New Year’s Eve we’ve spent in many years.  Here’s hoping it becomes a tradition.  Now it’s time for a nap.

*from Brainy Quote

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About stillalife

I retired June 30, 2010 after working for 40 years in the field of education and most recently doing school public relations/community outreach in a mid-size urban school district. I wrote for superintendents and school board members. Now I'm writing for me and I hope for you. In this blog, I offer my own views coupled with the latest research on how to preserve our physical and mental health as we age, delve into issues most of us over 50 can relate to like noticing wrinkles and forgetting where we left our keys, discuss the pros and cons of different ways to engage our minds and bodies after we leave the workplace, and throw in an occasional book review, all peppered with a touch of humor, irony, and just plain silliness.
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