My Purpose

My Purpose

The purpose of this blog is to help people understand that music can be more then just entertainment, and what those things are. I want be able to help people with this blog. I don't know everything about music, I am still studying it, however, I will share what I have found. I hope you will be enlighted and edified by what I have to share. I worry that some people might turn a deaf ear to my blog if they read something on this blog that they don't agree with. I respect your beliefs. I don't agree with everything I read either. But I know you can find something that can help and interest you, if you just keep reading.

"Quotes Worth Mentioning"


When asked where his inspiration came from, Johannes Brahms said, "I immediately feel vibrations that thrills my whole being. These are the Spirit illuminating the soul power within, and in this exalted state, I see clearly what is obscure in my ordinary moods: Then I feel capable of drawing inspiration from above, as Beethoven ... Straighway the ideas flow in upon me, directly from God, and not only do I see distinct themes in my mind's eye but they are clothed in the right forms, harmonies, and orchestration. Measure by measure, the finished product is revealed to me when I am in those rare, inspired moods." "The powers from which all truly great composers like Mozart, Schubert, Bach and Beethoven drew their inspiration is the same power that enabled Jesus to work his miracles. It is the same power that created our earth and the whole universe"
("Talks with Great Composers", Arthur M. Abell)

"Give me power over he who shapes the music of a nation, and I care not for who shapes it laws"
Napolian Bonaparte

“Intellectual enlightenment consists of instruction in the arts, numbers, history, speech, and government. Music consummates a man’s life, giving his rituals meaning. Music has a trensforming effect on its listeners, and should be the first principle of government.” -The Teachings of Confucius.

I quote some remarks between,Gene R. Cook, and Mik Jagger made a few years ago:
Cook: "I have the opportunity to be with a lot of young people. Many say your music does not affect them adversely in any way. Others say it effects them in a very bad way. What is your opinion? What is your impact?”
Jagger "Our music is calculated to drive the kids to sex. It's not my fault what they do. It's up to them. I'm just making a lot of money.”
Cook: He was in Mexico making a profane and pornographic music video because the cost is 1/3 there. In addition it is easier to produce such videos there at the moment. He explained that though such videos with explicit sexual behavior is illegal on US national television, it soon will be, and they want to have the videos ready. Now not only audio pornography can be portrayed, but they can view it as well. He was making more money this way."
Jagger:“It doesn't matter what you do in life, there are no rules. There is no god. You can take whatever you want. It doesn't matter."

"To encourage literature and the arts is the duty which every good citizen owns to his country."
George Washington

"Music has the power of producing a certain effect on the moral character of the soul, and if it has the power to do this, it is clear that the young must be directed to music and must be educated in it."

(more qoutes to come)

PLEASE NOTE: It would greatly benefit the reader to follow blog postings from the first post to the most recent. Using the Blog Archive in the left column of the page to jump to the oldest posts. For now I will see if I can find a way to display the posting in chronilogical order, first post to the latest post.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Throughout my lifetime I have been challenged with periods of melancholy or depression. Today, I have tools with which to deal with this adversity, principal of which is my determination to visit people in rest homes and hospitals. I have found that my own personal “pity parties” have less success when I am seeking out those who are in greater need of comfort. I cite this story not in any to aggrandize my own behavior, as it is a selfish motivation. I am the greater recipient of help than those I visit. In April of 1986 I was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania singing the title role in The Tales of Hoffmann, with the Pennsylvania Opera Theatre. We were about to perform Offenbach’s immortal masterpiece in the oldest continually functional theater in America, the Walnut Street Theater. Though I was honored to be re-creating one of my favorite roles and in such an historic surrounding, I was feeling the pressure of the responsibility keenly. I was bemoaning the fact that Hoffmann never leaves the stage and is expected to sing more high notes and long sustained passages than surely God intended man to do. I was wallowing in self pity as I was walking home to my apartment from rehearsal one afternoon as I passed the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Health, one of the oldest hospitals in America. As I glanced up at the impressive red brick structure, the thought occurred to me that there was likely someone within those walls with greater trials than I was experiencing. Being a hospice volunteer, I went inside to seek out the hospice coordinator. I introduced myself and asked if there was anyone in the hospital who might enjoy a visit and maybe a song. She recognized my face from an article that had appeared in the newspaper and was concerned that I might sing an operatic aria and disturb the intensive care unit. I explained that when I sing for people at their bedside, I usually take requests and seldom raise my voice above a whisper. She said there was a gentleman on the second floor named Mr. Goldstein who was in the final stages of terminal cancer, but was also in heroic denial. She warned me that he had his bags packed and expecting to go home at any moment, but that in reality he could not do that. I found the room, which had two patients. It required passing by one bed in which a man in a coma laid motionless with his daughter, face in her hands weeping. I excused myself as I passed by and found Mr. Goldstein on the other side of a curtain, looking out of the window with his suitcase in hand. I introduced myself and asked if he could use a visit. He told me he had no time, since a cab was coming to take him home. He insisted that he was in perfect health and had no reason to be there. I played along and said perhaps I could sing him a song while he waited for the cab. He said “aaah you wouldn’t know anything I like!” I said “try me.” He said I love the music of Jerome Kern (which he pronounced as coin). I admitted to sharing his taste and began to think of which song to sing. Before I began, I thought it common courtesy to warn the young lady on the other side of the curtain that I would be singing for Mr. Goldstein. She responded by saying, “go ahead and open the curtain, I could use a song.” “Do you know what it is like sitting here day after day hoping dad will wake up. Hell can’t be worse than this!” I told her that I was sorry and perhaps a song could help. I began from Showboat, “We could make believe I loved you, only make believe that you loved me.” I concluded with “Might as well make believe I love you, for to tell the truth, I do.” When I finished, much to everyone’s surprise the man in the bed said “John McCormack”. His daughter literally leaped onto the bed to his side. “Dad, what is it?” she asked. “John McCormack”, he said again...”It’s John McCormack!” His daughter said “he’s delirious!” and called in the doctors. I said “maybe not” I explained to his daughter that John McCormack was a well known Irish American Tenor who lived at the beginning of the 20th Century. I asked the man if he knew John McCormack. He said “I love John McCormack, sing another one.” I did as he requested but was interrupted by a team of doctors coming in and trying to communicate with the man. As I tried to slip out of the room I felt a hand press mine, as the woman thanked me for “bringing back her father.” Though I thanked her for the kind words, I realize it was not me at all, but rather the music which was dwelling deep within his recollection. My bringing it to his attention had caused something in his brain to respond in an “awakening” fashion. A motion picture by that same title chronicles the heroic work of Dr. Oliver Saks in his pursuit to “awaken” patients in ???? from ????? commonly called “sleeping sickness.” Since that time Dr. Saks has devoted his life to the powerful influence of music therapy. He has pioneered many facets of this scientific endeavor and spends his time lecturing throughout the world on the remarkable potential music has to heal. As I tried to leave the hospital that day, I was met by the Hospice Coordinator again who had already heard about what had happened on the second floor. She asked me if I would go with her to the home of a couple the next day who needed a visit desperately. I felt I had done my service, and was about to have my nine year old son join me for a few days. She persisted that a Mr. Pasquale had been in a coma for many weeks and that his aged wife had worn herself almost out by keeping vigil at his bedside at home. She had not slept for weeks and was wasting away herself from the ordeal. Could she come and pick me up the next day and drive me out just for a moment. I consented to do so, being concerned about what my son would think of all of this. The next day, the Hospice Coordinator arrived and we sped through the streets of Philadelphia to the southern, Italian section. It was like being transported to a scene of Rocky, where the Bilboa family resided. The row houses had a similar theme of various kinds of Madonna’s in front of the houses as we stepped from the car to venture inside. Coming in the door I was greeted with a smiling picture of Pope Paul ??? and the wonderful smells of an Italian household. We were escorted into the living room, which looked like any other living room on the street except that instead of a coffee table in the middle of the room there was a hospital bed with a man lying in it looking very much like Marley’s Ghost. I looked at him as long as I could without appearing to stare, but could not see any signs of life. I began to worry that perhaps we had come to late. I pondered the irony of his name “Volare” which means to fly in Italian. He was doing anything but flying at the moment. We were asked to sit down, where the conversation turned to the weather and the opening of the Phillies’ baseball season. We talked of everything and nothing, but no mention was made of Pasquale until Mrs. Volare looked in his direction and began to weep. She said, “it is unbearable here. I wait, and wait hoping Pasquale will awaken. I do not expect him to recover and get well, but I want a chance to say good-bye. I am afraid to close my eyes in sleep in case I should miss that chance.” She explained how friends and family members had come by to spell her from the watch, but she would not leave his side. She regained her composure and asked if you could get us some cookies. That brightened my son’s face and she noticed. She asked us to follow her into the kitchen where she would get some Anise cookies and milk. My son hated the cookies but was polite, nonetheless. As we sat there in the kitchen I began to wonder why we had come. I blurted out... “could you use a song?” She shrugged and said “I no needa a song. It isa Pasquale who lovesa da music, and he would not hear you.” I persisted, but she continued; “you not knowa da songs I love, songsa froma my childhood.” I asked from whence she came and she proudly said “Napoli!” I smiled thinking any tenor worth his salt should have a lexicon of Neopolitan songs. I began “Quarda il mare come bello, spiro tanto sentimento” the strains of one of the most popular Neopolitan songs of history Come Back to Sorrento. I finished with “torna surriento, far me contar!” From the other room we heard the word “Surriento!” We rushed into the room to see Pasquale staring up into the ceiling. He had recognized the song. Mrs. Volare asked “Tu piace la contare?” (Did you like the singing?) He answered with “Si.” “Tu piace ancora?” (Would you like another?), she continued. He answered with “Si.” Mrs. Volare gestured for me to sing another. I moved closer to Mr. Volare and asked if he had a favorite song. He said “si.” I asked what the title was. I should have known even before he answered as it is the Everest of them all...O Sole Mio! Why not, a song about sunshine, peace, hope, home and love! It may well be one of the most “healing” songs ever created. Breaking from my tradition of singing sotto voce (half voice) at a bedside, I announced that I would sing it in the tradition of the Neapolitans, loud and high. I stood back as Pasquale smiled. I sang with all my heart and he and his wife looked into each other’s eyes. I knew the song well, having sung it in many of the great concert halls of the country as an encore. It always ensured an ovation. But this recitation met with a response which eclipsed all the others. Mr. Volare brought his tired, bony hands together to clap three times in gratitude for taking him back to his homeland where no one was ill, and where life was eternal. There was a miracle of healing that day, but not so much for the Volares as it was for me. At that moment I saw the greatest power music has, not to entertain, but to heal. It would cause me to set forth on a new quest in my life, one that I am still pursuing.

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