"my music"

What a Month!

Do not be deceived by the apparent inactivity on this blog's home page--the force behind it has been VERY busy in the last month!

Doing what? Well, many of you know already, actually. I was focusing intensely on getting the musical ready to present to the Red Deer College Theatre department, a meeting which happened this past Tuesday. Then the next day, at their urging, we also presented it to the Music Department. And, at the urging of both, we will soon be presenting it to Central Alberta Theatre, hopefully, as well as several other leads we need to follow up on.

The gist is: they all love it! Many people are intrigued/excited/enthusiastic about this project, and it is so amazing to realize that this "baby" that has been in gestation for the last twelve years, mostly bandied about between only Candace and myself, with the occasional encouragement to remember and return to it from a spouse or parent, now actually has professionals in the theatre starting to come alongside and get excited about it!

"They like it! They really like it!"

That does not, by any means, mean that work on it is finished--on the contrary, it is about to get more intense and exhausting than before, in order to refine and further enhance the story and message we are trying to present, and continue to make it better. We still have many steps to walk on our destination to get this play to Broadway (to therefore impact as many people as possible), but the exciting thing is that the path is becoming much better-defined!

So, there it is... the update. Thank you for your prayers and support--and keep 'em coming! We're gonna need 'em!

Scrapbook Saturday at last

Well, I got in some scrapping on Saturday, albeit digitally, for the first time in a good nine or ten months. I actually had the kids help me with making a page about themselves--a little bit of "art class" on the computer. Noah still has to do his with me, but here are the two the other boys helped with:

Superkid the supergoof

Cute as can Be

I scrapped the story I posted about here in these two layouts:

Better a Brother Close By

The Way You Love

And captured part of a summer day that never made it onto the blog. Yes, I used pink and red flowers on a layout with my boys--it matches the wild rose. Sue me. I need to use every excuse I can find to use flowers, 'cause I don't often have one!

Nature's Playground 

In other news, I finished orchestrating another song for the musical last night. It is only the third one I have completed, but it was a biggie--almost eight minutes of music, a big production number that covers two scenes and is part of the opening sequence. Not including the "time off" I took in December, I think it still consumed 3-4 weeks of my life. I feel like it was quite an accomplishment to finish it! (Plus! I wrote a tango for part of it! That's a big deal... to me, at least!)

Happy Monday, friends!

Taking the Road Less Travelled

My favourite Looney Tunes sketches were the ones that had Bugs Bunny. I thought it was hilarious how he would tunnel just under the surface of the ground, and then pop his head up in the foreground, look around, pull a map out of nowhere, scratch his head and mutter, "I knew I should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque!"

Poor Bugs. He never ended up where he wanted to be, but he had plenty of adventures wherever he went.

I've been to Albuquerque, New Mexico, actually. Well, "driven through" would be the more appropriate term. I didn't have any desire to make a left turn, as I was coming from Arkansas and heading to California, and a left turn would have had me heading for the Mexican border.

However, figuratively, I have been to Albuquerque many times. There is a left turn that has my name on it, but which I have not taken for many years. It is a dream that started in my second year of college, a project that has been in stasis for six of the eleven years since its conception. For those of you who haven't figured it out yet, it is my musical.

My friend Candace and I started writing a musical a long, long time ago. It has gone in fits and spurts. The last time I put a concerted effort into it was 2003, when I managed to complete most of the rough draft of the score while I was pregnant with my second son. The birth of said son brought the project to a grinding halt, where it has remained, gathering dust, ever since.

Not that I haven't wanted to rev up the engine again since then. It just never seemed like the right time, a fact I lamented on this blog not that long ago. And as the years went by, it got easier to ignore the call of that left turn at Albuquerque--after all, it's not like I didn't like the direction I was going. I was having lots of adventures.And, unlike Bugs, I had actually not taken the left turn on purpose. The Interstate was where I knew I needed to be.

What I did not write in that post is how many times I have wept before God about the seeming lack of progress in my music career. This was several years ago, mind you, but it took me a long time to accept the answer of "not yet" whenever I would start to yearn for something beyond diapers and toddler-speak, and the frustration of never having enough money to invest into my musical goals. However, for years now, I have had it in my mind that "when my kids are all in school I will finish the musical." With our initial plan of only homeschooling each child until the end of Grade 3, that would mean four more years--a somewhat disheartening number, I admit, but still smaller than the six years it has already been on hold, or the eleven years since we started it. And I was okay with that.

I was even somewhat at ease with the idea that it could be longer, if it seemed best to keep homeschooling beyond third grade--say, until they graduate. I just couldn't see how I could write a musical while homeschooling three boys, especially in the elementary grades--and educating our children in the way we felt God wanted us to was of the highest priority.

This week, I unexpectedly found myself transported to Albuquerque and staring at that fork in the road once more. Candace called me with the announcement that next year (2011-2012) is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the college arts centre we attended, and that they were focusing on alumni work. Every Christmas season, they do a musical, which they decide on in the early spring. And, due to our contacts there and the fact that we qualify as alumni, if we could complete our musical by spring, there is every likelihood that ours would be the one they perform next school year.

My first reaction was not emotional, but logical: I know about how much time finishing the musical will take, and was pretty sure that I did not have that many hours of my life uncommitted to something else before spring--you know, things like teaching, my marriage, sleeping. Important stuff, right? In fact, I have been on a mission to simplify my life for the past few years (believe it or not), so although my life is very full, it is full of the things I had carefully considered to be of the utmost importance. So, I told her I would think about it and let her know in a few days.

The more I thought about it, and as Jason and I talked it out and prayed about it, it just seemed like now really is the time to pursue this. After all, with the end date when all my children are gone to a separate institution of learning being rather nebulous and seeming to get farther away rather than closer, now just might be the time. Since I work best with a deadline, now just might be the time. Despite the fact that my church is currently going through a rather major upheaval, now might be the time. With the support of the other worship team leaders and the church elders to step back from my position and do this, now just might be the time. With a brand new scoring program upgrade at my disposal that I bought this spring for no real reason (which Jason is installing on my laptop as I type), now just might be the time. With Jason willing to help me by supporting me in the sacrifices we would have to make this winter to get it done, now just might be the time.

In fact, the more things that lined up, the more I couldn't deny that now really does seem to be the time for this. Like the heroine of our musical story, sometimes it becomes obvious that God has manoeuvred events in such a way that now is EXACTLY the time to do what He has called you to do. The continuous erosion of the passing years had taken the edge off of the emotional attachment to this dream, as I learned to "let go and let God" work in me. So I was pretty confident that the feeling of peace I had with the decision to go ahead and do it was not just my own wishful thinking, but rather of more divine influence.

So here I go--I've taken the off-ramp, clover-leafed around, and suddenly I find myself on the road to my dream once more. Will it be easy? I doubt it. But today, as I was starting to sweep the dust off of binders long unopened, I actually started to get excited. (I hadn't allowed myself to before, as I wanted to keep emotion out of the decision-making process.) As I started to work through songs that my brain hasn't sung for years, I noticed that there was something different--my abilities have increased. Parts of the composition that had intimidated me before were coming into my mind in stereo surround sound, and I could hear the strings and the horns, the rhythm of the bass, the clarinet line. I'm no Mozart (who wrote down completed compositions that he had already heard in his head with no revisions), but after gestating in my brain for eleven years, it seems that this musical is in its last trimester. It is almost fully formed--now we just have to write it down, and push it out into the world.

Mexico, here I come!


The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference

...Robert Frost

A Love Song For My Honey

Just before I left Mena this spring, I laid down a whole bunch of scratch tracks at a friend's music studio. He was going to give me a deal on some demo tracks so he could familiarize himself with his system, since he was just kind of "getting into" recording. Unfortunately, things in his personal life went a little wonky after I left, and he never really got to it. However, another mutual friend of ours, talented musician Richie Owens, fooled around with the songs and came up with a few interesting renditions that basically built on my scratch piano and vocals that I left.

This is a song I wrote for Jason a few years ago. In my head, I was hearing a Disney-esque arrangement of a full orchestra, like something you might see in a musical. (Yep, I'm just a wee bit influenced by the Musical genre.) Obviously, Richie didn't have that kind of a budget to work with. When I listened to this Reggae version, though, I laughed out loud--it was so creative and original, and I would NEVER have thought of doing it that way in a thousand years--but I love it!

Yesterday, I spent the day finally setting up my MySpace page, but I set it up as a musician so I could post and share my songs easily. Go over there and find this song, and feel free to check out the other ones I have posted while you are there. ("Rock Me, Baby" and "Dancing With Daddy" are two other more recent songs that I finally got recorded and are a couple of my favourites.)

Enjoy!

Love Song To Remember
Words and music by Talena Winters

I think I've tried about a thousand times to write a song for you
But every time I try the notes fall flat, and the words just can't get through
What can I say that hasn't been said a thousand times before?
How can I explain the way I feel with only a few notes and chords?

But maybe there's a chance that I can get it right this time
Catch the rhythm of our dance and capture it inside a rhyme
Hook the lyrics of romance and reel them in upon a line
And make this a love song to remember

Never knew that it was possible that each day I'd love you more
In the movie of a life, love is the score
We started with the solo violin, a melody so sweet
One by one, the instruments come in--now we have a symphony.

And maybe there's a chance that I can get it right this time
Catch the rhythm of our dance and capture it inside a rhyme
Hook the lyrics of romance and reel them in upon a line
And make this a love song to remember

Like a song the charts just can't ignore
Your love leaves me satisfied, and wanting more.
Maybe there's a chance...

And maybe there's a chance that I can get it right this time
Catch the rhythm of our dance and capture it inside a rhyme
Hook the lyrics of romance and reel them in upon a line
And make this a love song
And make this a love song
Make this a love song to remember

Speaking of Music...

I performed at my mom's church in early December, and Richie recorded it with his camera. I haven't posted anything from it until now, because like many performers, I don't like watching myself. However, some of you out there have requested to hear me sing before, so here I am doing my rendition of Watermark's medley of In The Garden/There Is None Like You. Enjoy!


Buzzzzed!

I started a cleanse today. I have never done an "all-the-way" cleanse before, meaning I would do some of the things they said, but fudge it here and there. I decided that it was high time to do a bit of detoxing in this body of mine, though. I have many indicators that my body needs it: the most persistent is my continuing psoriasis, most evident on my legs and upper arms, and my occasional struggles with constipation. (Did you know you're supposed to go 2-3 times per day? I had never heard of such a thing! Up till now, I was happy to go once a day, but apparently this is still the symptom of a sluggish liver.) Other indicators are the perpetually runny nose I have, and a recent lack of energy and drive that's been rearing it's lackadaisical head.

I had originally intended to do a raw-fruits-and-vegetables fast from bedtime last night until supper tonight, only. Then, this morning, I looked at the "cleansing kit" box that has been sitting on my counter for over a year, heaved a sigh, and decided it was finally time to take the plunge.

Why such reticence? Well, whilst I have given up many of my former sugar-junkie ways, I still have a certain dependence, shall we say, upon grains in my diet, which the cleanse is requiring me to give up for two weeks--to "reset" the hypothyroid gland and regulate insulin levels in my system. Although I am allowed to eat as much as I want of a wide variety of foods which are already incorporated into my diet, the idea of giving up carbs completely made me want to run screaming in the other direction so fast that I left my panties behind nervous. The only grain or legume on the "okay" list for the next two weeks is lentils. This is a legume I rarely consume, as it causes some rather obnoxious side effects in my system, making those around me demand that I supply gas masks if that's how I'm going to be, dangit. Oh, and I also have to give up bananas, tropical fruit, and all fruits, in fact, except berries, lemons, limes, and grapefruit. (Glad I have a half-dozen grapefruit and a dozen lemons in the cooler right now. What the heck am I going to do with a dozen lemons?!)

Despite all this, the thing that worries me the most, and was the biggest cause of procrastination on my part, was that I have to give up tea. Not herbal tea. (You know, that stuff that tastes-just-like-hot-water-with-some-colour-thrown-in-to-make-it-seem-like-tea.) Just black teas. But, for some strange reason, I am allowed to drink a moderate amount of coffee, which I usually avoid because it does not agree with me very well.

I can do this, I told myself this morning as I made myself a kefir shake for breakfast (bananaless, of course).

I can do this, I told myself as I was preparing lunch for the passel of kids in the house today--sloppy joes on home-made multi-grain bread. I was proud that I had not even had a craving for tea that morning, but this isn't all that uncommon, and really, I'd only been "cleansing" for a few hours by then.

I intended to skip the bread for my lunch, giving it all to the kids, but in the fluster of dishing up six children's plates, I accidentally gave myself a half-piece of bread, too--I was half-done eating it before I even realized what I'd done. Dangit. My first set-back. Still getting in the habit of being grain-free.

I can do this, I told myself again after lunch, but for some reason I seemed to be on a short leash to the hot water kettle. I kept fluttering about the kitchen, not really having anything to do, not being able to settle on anything, but not being able to leave, either. When I figured out that my movements all seemed to settle on the kettle, I decided to go downstairs and move some laundry along.

While down there, I remembered--I can have herbal tea! Maybe that will satisfy the force of habit well enough to leave it alone.

I will drink herbal tea in dire situations; for instance, if my throat is sore, I usually make a concoction of peppermint and licorice to soothe it, and it works wonders. Occasionally, if I really have consumed enough caffeine in a day, but want something toasty between my fingers and in my belly, I'm particular to a naturally-sweet flavour called "Bengal Spice," or Good Earth's "Sweet & Spicy." But it's pretty rare. Most days, I'm drinking tea because I need a little energy-booster at around 2 p.m., and having a cat-nap is not an option.

Nonetheless, I made it most of the way through my Bengal Spice by the time Jason came home--two hours later. It satisfied the habitual hand-to-mouth sipping in my muscle memory, but not the lingering drag I felt. Oh, well.

With the kids sent home, I got supper on the table. I can do this, I said again, as I skipped the baked potatoes and had liberal amounts of steamed broccoli and cheese with my boiled eggs. Wait! No I can't! I CAN'T do this! I'm fading...melting! Melting!

The dreaded post-supper drag had hit. I decided to pull out the big guns. It was time for:

coffee.

Guess we'll see if it was worth it when I'm falling asleep--at 3 a.m!

Anyway, Jason went to play squash after the kids went to bed, and I did some practicing on ye olde plastic ivories. I got to fooling around, and discovered that "The Blue Danube Waltz" sounds pretty cool if you play it entirely on the pizzicato strings instrument. So, I thought I'd share!



Have a great weekend!

We are now live...with sound!

YAY! After staying up way later than I intended to tonight, with my contacts dried out and plastered to my eyeballs, so I'm looking through a blurry haze, I finally figured out how to embed a little player, and how to host audio files, etc., so that I can put my music up here! YAAAAAAY!

So far, I've only posted one song, which is the audio file for "Ordinary Days." You can now listen to the song at the original post, Not an Ordinary Performance. You will need to have Quicktime Player or some other such player to hear it. You can download it quickly for free by clicking here.

Then, after you download the player and listen to that one, you can come back here and listen to this song. I wrote it in the cab of my truck while I was driving courier truck, and Candace sang it on a song-writer's demo album we put together in 2003. So far, no takers on the song, but I have dreams of eventually recording a full album and just selling it ourselves. (Yikes! The moola that takes, though--just to do 10 songs on a song-writer's demo would have cost us $10,000! Real albums would be at least double that! So, stop and think about that next time you are tempted to pirate music. The people you are really hurting are the hopefuls, just starting out, who have to foot the enormous bill for these recordings themselves. Or the record companies that take a chance on these hopefuls, knowing they will lose money on at least 80% of them. I could go on, but I won't.)

Enjoy!



"Walking In The Sonlight" by Talena Winters
Copyright 2001 All rights reserved.

Seems like I'm living my life in a haze
Of darkness, confusion, it's been raining for days.
No reprieve from the pain, this burden of sin
Till love touched my heart and the Son shone in!

Now I'm walking in the Sonlight
Running through the fields of grace
The love of the Father is shining on my face
So I spread my arms wide open
And laugh into the wind
I'm walking in the Sonlight once again.

To the heart that's been broken, To the woman left alone
To the soul that is hungry for a taste of freedom's song
There's a voice that is calling, "Come out of the night,
I have conquered the darkness, you are the children of Light."

Now I'm walking in the Sonlight
Running through the fields of grace
The love of the Father is shining on my face
So I spread my arms wide open
And laugh into the wind
I'm walking in the Sonlight once again.

(Ooo, I'm walking)Oooo
(Ooo, I'm walking) I'm walking by His grace
(Ooo, I'm walking) I'm walking, I'm walking in the Sonlight!

(Repeat chorus)