Who knew that a large piece of nylon fabric (i.e. – a former military parachute) could be SO much fun for kids and adults alike?? I volunteered at the You Who concert at the Crystal Ballroom today, to benefit the Children’s Cancer Association. Here is a description of the event:
What: It’s time for another You Who Concert! This is a really fun variety show specifically for kids in the Portland area. Proceeds from this event go directly to CCA’s MyMusicRx Program. This event is always a ton of fun!
Indeed it was. A ton of fun and a super workout lifting and lowering the parachute for 2 hours. 🙂 There was also face painting, a crafts area, balloon hats, some super cool monster tricycles and music. I was in my element. Hooray for the Music Program at the Children’s Hospitals in town.
Whenever I go to play music at the hospital, I feel so unprepared. And in today’s case I was unprepared because I had not played anything since Christmas; at which point, I came down with a month-long respiratory illness. I lugged in all my equipment to the unit of the Children’s Hospital, promptly dropped music everywhere, and was too lazy to open either flute case.
So I ended up jamming on the handpan for about an hour and a half in 2 different locations on the unit. I came up with a nifty tune that had a heartbeat. And I went into trance state – hence the title of this post. A baby who was crying uncontrollably in a treatment room instantly calmed down. I always think it’s a coincidence but perhaps it is not. It’s also nice to hear staff say that the music is beautiful but I hope what they are saying is that it is calming them. (One nurse requested that I play closer to their station because they were all in high-strung mode).
I had the chance to practice calm and spread some calm as a code was called over the PA system and police were running around. My inner freak-out was lessened by the handpan and I also figured the metal instrument would make a good shield if it came down to that (yikes).
My intentions are:
To have a nice cart so I can pull around all my equipment and not have my shoulders take the brunt of the weight and bulk.
To be PAID to do what I love to do – even if it is at poverty level, but hopefully not.
I was singing in the rain, now I’m wheezing in the breeze….
It’s been a whirlwind of activity since I last posted anything. I fit about 2 week’s worth of hoop-de-do into a 5 day visit in Alabama with family and friends. The sunshine was incredible. Seeing friends, whom I have known for many decades, was divine. Hanging with family was super. And of course, I love the ever polite and warm southern folk. If I could blend Portland and the south, that would be Hippie and Grits Utopia!
Now for the LEAP OF FAITH – dun dun dun (ominous background music). That leap entails the moment after jumping from the airplane but a moment before the parachute opens. I just signed up to run the Portland Half Marathon on October 5th, 5 days after I turn fifty mumble mumble mumble – early 50s in any event – as a fundraiser for the Children’s Cancer Association. The last sports event I did was a Half Ironman swim in 2007. Time to dust off the inner athlete and connect with the “wow, free food at the finish line” warrior. I need to raise at least $1,000 and be able to run a gazillion miles. Piece of tofu, low sugar cake, right? 🙂
Yesterday, I got a bit of sunburn on my face. In Oregon!!! In October!!! The weather here has been glorious. Sure wish it could always be like that. I can live just fine without rain.
I also played music at one of the Children’s Hospitals and had great interactions with the staff. One PT knew that I was playing an alto flute. A nurse asked if I was a professional player. The facilities man said my playing was very soothing. I have to chuckle at the undeserved last 2 comments because I was “jamming” – essentially playing glorified scales while watching the happenings around me.
One thing I am proud of is that I can play through anything – patients doing PT exercises right in front of me, facilities people moving equipment up close, children screaming and crying down the hallway (ok, that’s a bit tough but I figure I can help them the most with soothing music) and loud noises such as alarms or espresso machines (from the hospital lobby snack bar).
BUT – I finally met my match!! A very cute, bald from chemo, sweet little boy was completely mesmerized with my flute. He walked up and stuck his finger in the end of the flute while I was playing. He then proceeded to mash keys and pry the flute out of my hand and attempt to play it. There is something about these kids that I just hand over my $2,000 flute and think nothing of it. I finally blew air through the mouthpiece and let him mash keys. And throughout this whole time, neither of us said a word. I’m not even sure he spoke English – or spoke at all. But it was as if we had had a meaningful, heartfelt conversation.
Ahhh – I always receive so much more than what I give at the hospital.
Alto flute with curved head piece.
Alto flute with, what I believe to be, saxophone keys