The Original Music Type

Today is the 2nd anniversary of my father’s passing, who died at the age of 81 on Thanksgiving morning 2006. My fan was an avid music fan his whole life; though he was never a musician himself, he was deeply appreciative of musicianship. My dad demanded excellence in every field, and the music he listened was no exception. Here are a few songs  from artists my dad liked:

  • In the Mood Glenn Miller – My dad was a fan of several big-band artists, such as Benny Goodman and Mr. Big Band himself Duke Ellington, but he greatly admired Glenn Miller’s arranging skills
  • How Deep Is The Ocean Frank Sinatra

    Sinatra kicking back
    Ol' Blue Eyes kicking back

Frank was my dad’s favourite singer. This song was the opening track for the album Nice ‘n’ Easy, which my dad purchased as a Mobile Fidelity audiophile vinyl reissue while we were temporarily living in Manhattan in 1980. Not that my dad was an audiophile per se ; I think he only bought this version of the album because the store were throwing in a free T-shirt with it, which he gave to me. The t-shirt was basically a promotion for another Mobile Fidelity re-issue (Moody Blues, Days of Future Passed), but that became my cool music t-shirt for the next few years, and I wore to my first high-school-era jam session.

  • I Saw Her Standing There The Beatles
The Beatles' first album cover
The Fab Four's first album cover

 

My dad tended to pick an artist from each era to like, and because he had good taste, The Beatles was his pick from the ’60s. I can’t say he was much of a rock fan otherwise, but every time this song would start up on a tape I liked to play in the car on family trips, he’d always turn up the volume. Perhaps it reminded him of his stint at Harvard Law School in ’64-’65, as the only other rock song that seemed to get such an enthusiastic response from him was Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones from the same era.

  • Mona Lisa Nat King Cole
Nat King Cole at the mike
Nat King Cole at the mike

Mr. Unforgettable was another singer my dad greatly admired, and this song was a popular one with him and his contemporaries, even years after its release.

  • No Woman Nuh Cry Bob Marley
Bob's most famous concert album
Bob's most famous concert album

 

My dad was more of a fan of older Jamaican music forms, such as ska from the ’60s. But when Bob was dying of cancer, my dad made a point of taking me to the record store to purchase the album he had just released, Uprising. And every time the Jamaican television station would show clips from Bob’s famous concert at the London Orpheum, my dad would surprise me by knowing all the words to this song and singing along the whole time.

Currently on the Type M page is an essay about a musical memory of my father. It serves as a preface for an article I wrote about my friend Ginny’s organization Inspirit, which raises money to pay musicians to play gigs in nursing homes, hospitals and shelter. Because my dad the music fan spent a lot of time in the last couple years of his life in assisted-living facilities, nursing homes and hospitals, I knew instinctively that what Ginny is doing is a worthwhile thing, so I decided to write an article about her organization.

Thank you for the good taste in music, Dad…

Bill’s Postings Vol. 4

"Oi! That Meredith bloke is pretty cool, yeah?
"Oi! That Meredith bloke is pretty cool, yeah?"

For this edition of Bill’s Postings, we go back a few months to his column on the opening of the Palm Beach franchise of the Paul Green School of Rock. The original School of Rock, founded by Paul Green as an after-school program in Philadelphia, was the subject of the 2005 documentary, Rock SchoolOur local SOR franchise was opened by my friend Rick Rothschild, who I got to know from our being fans of (and friends with) the band Friction Farm . If there’s a perfect fit for SOR franchisee, Rick is it. Rick isn’t just a big music fan, he’s a big fan of musicianship. And given his penchant for passing on his enthusiasm for music to his kids, he was gonna be spending money on lessons anyway, so for him, opening an SOR franchise was probably cost-effective…

On my birthday last year, I had pleasure of singing along with Rick’s son Ben as he played Green Day’s “I Walk Alone” on electric guitar. Ben was pretty far along even then, so I’m sure he’s only gotten better since. And I’ll get to see for myself this weekend, as the Palm Beach SOR puts on its first concert at the Lake Worth Playhouse, a complete live rendition of Pink Floyd’s The Wall. (Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat. Nov. 14th and 15th)

Read Bill’s column   to learn more about Rick, Ben (and Ben’s sister Sydney).

Music, Charity and Art

On Friday Oct. 24 I attended a charitable arts event in Palm Beach Gardens put on by chArt, an Orlando-based organization whose goals are “raising funds for charities and awareness for the arts”. Music for the evening was provided by Inspirit, itself a charitable organization, dedicated to the purpose of bringing live music to people in facilities such as rehab units, hospitals and senior centers. Performing under the Inspirit banner on Friday was the country/bluegrass duo Illumination, consisting of my friends Suzanne Cannon on guitar and Ginny Meredith on violin. But Ginny is more than just an Inspirit performer; she’s actually the founder of the organization. And I’m happy to say that I wasn’t just a spectator, I was actually the accidental matchmaker who brought these two organizations together for this event.

Earlier this year, I attended chArt’s previous Palm Beach event to support my friend Lauren Lester, an Orlando singer-songwriter who came down to perform for the occasion. While at the event, I picked up a copy of chArt Magazine, published quarterly. As I read this periodical, it dawned on me that an article on my friend Ginny’s organization would be a good fit for this magazine.  Through my friend Lauren, I was able to make contact with the editor of the publication, Casey Swann.  Casey was open to the idea of publishing an article on Inspirit if Ginny’s organization provided music for the next chArt Palm Beach event, so five months later it all came together at the same venue, the Palm Beach Gardens branch of the BB&T Bank…

My Inspirit article for chArt Magazine won’t be published till its winter issue, but you can read a sneak preview of it below. (And look for a longer version of this article coming soon to the Type M page.)

 

Inspirit: The Gift of Music

 

Lake Worth violinist Ginny Meredith received the inspiration for Inspirit while on a ski trip in Utah. A former roomate of hers in Salt Lake City had founded a non-profit organization called Heart and Soul to provide live music free of charge to institutions such as senior centers and rehab units. This struck a chord with Ginny, as two years prior to that,  she had relied on music to help her cope with chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer.

 

Upon her return to South Florida, Ginny decided to research whether local facilities would find such a service valuable. The response to her surveys was overwhelmingly positive, so in June 2000, she founded Inspirit as a 501(c) non-profit. Even before any funding was secured, the organization put on its first performance at the Heartland Health Care center in Palm Beach Gardens. Since then, Inspirit has gone on to provide live music for about 22,000 people over the course of its existence, in venues such as senior centers, hospitals and shelters.

 

Inspirit has an active roster of about 20-25 musicians, used to put on about 10-12 performances a month. About 50-100 musicians have participated in Inspirit over the years; according to Ginny, the musicians really like doing these performances because of how appreciative the audiences are. In conceiving Inspirit, says Ginny, “I had no idea… the impact it was gonna have on the performer. I was just thinking of it as a one-way thing, but the performers are really transformed.”

 

As for the facilities where Inspirit has put on performances, Ginny states, “I have a whole file of thank-you letters; they’re just so appreciative… One of the things that’s great, I think, besides providing the music, is that we’re showing people that somebody cares.”

 

For more information on Inspirit, please visit www.inspiritlive.org online or contact Ginny Meredith at (561) 586-4537