Walla Walla and Prosser, Washington

I’ve recently returned from a mini book tour to south eastern Washington. Along the way I gave two Music in the Westward Expansion presentations and took in some of the rich history and natural beauty of the area. The first program was an after hours program at the Fort Walla Walla Museum, located at the edge of town. The second program took place in Prosser at the Prosser Historical Museum.

Joe, my partner in life and roadie, drove (about 600 miles total) the tour vehicle (his Subaru Forester), and helped me haul my very heavy digital piano, guitar, music stand, Northern Cheyenne courtship flute, and other miscellaneous music paraphernalia in and out of the venues. Joe, who is also a master birder, managed to enjoy two exciting mornings of birding at Fort Walla Walla and at the Whitman Mission. For his eastern WA report, visit Short and Tweet Bird Reports.

Joe- birding in a natural area adjacent to the Fort Walla Walla Museum

In between events we enjoyed the vibrant downtown scene in Walla Walla where we strolled along picturesque sidewalks by welcoming shops and restaurants and ate some delicious meals. The Walla Walla Valley is known for its wine industry and the area around Walla Walla is surrounded by gently rolling hills lush with grape vines, and home to some 120 wineries.

At Fort Walla Walla, my presentation was in the main lobby which houses a historical covered wagon, a beautiful stage coach (pictured below), and display cases full of relics from the mid 1800s which made for a perfect setting for Music in the Westward Expansion. My program was part of a series called “After Hours” where authors and historians present programs on their field of expertise. The presentation was recorded and will eventually be added to the Fort Walla Walla website in the past programs link. Thank you to Ella Meyers and the Fort Walla Walla Museum for hosting this event.

Music in the Westward Expansion program at Fort Walla Walla

The day after the Fort Walla Walla event, we spent anafternoon at the Whitman Mission where missionaries Marcus and Narcissa Whitman established a mission near the Cayuse Nation at Waiilatpo on the Columbia Plateau in 1836. At the mission, we walked the grounds, marveled in the open space, and learned more about the complicated and difficult story of the Whitmans and the Cayuse people which is an important and pivotal story within the story of the American Westward Expansion.

Wagon at Waiilatpu, the Whitman Mission Historical Site, located west of Walla Walla.

In Prosser, the county seat of Benton County, located along the Yakima River, I played on an 1860s Chickering square grand piano. The piano was originally shipped from the East Coast around Cape Horn to Astoria where is was then shipped up the Columbia River and hauled overland to Prosser! Playing the piano in the parlor setting truly felt like stepping back in time. Thank you to Alys Means and the Prosser Historical Museum for hosting this event.

1860s Chickering Square Grand at the Prosser Historical Museum

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Author Events beginning next week!

A quick note to remind everyone that I have a couple of author events coming up for my new book, Music in the Westward Expansion. I’d love to see you there! Both events will include narrative interspersed with live music played on the Northern Cheyenne Courtship flute, the piano, and the guitar!

Saturday, August 6, 2022, 7:00 -8:30 pm

Music Center of the Northwest
901 N 96th St, Seattle, WA 98103
Free Admission- no registration required

*Audience members at the Music Center are required to wear a mask.
*I will have a limited number of books on hand for sale for the Music Center event. If you’d like a book signed, I encourage you to purchase a copy ahead of time at your favorite book seller

Tuesday, August 9, 2022, 7:00 -8:00 pm

Third Place Books at Ravenna: 6504 20th Ave NE, Seattle WA 98115. Registration is required-click on the above link. Third Place Books is stocked with copies of the book for purchase.

The Girl I Left Behind Me!

Happy Summer

Meadowbrook Pond in North Seattle

Summertime! I hope you are enjoying activities, places, and people that bring you joy. The studio is buzzing with summer lessons, and preparations are underway for upcoming August author events. I’ve have launched a series of short music videos that go hand in hand with my book, Music in the Westward Expansion: Songs of Heart and Place on the American Frontier, and I’ve created dedicated page on my website just for the book. I encourage you to visit the book page for new updates-including music clips and videos! I hope to connect with you soon either online, at an author event, or around the neighborhood!

Love and music
Love and Music!

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Music in the Westward Expansion Upcoming Author Events

I’m delighted to announce some current and upcoming author events for my new book, Music in the Westward Expansion: Songs of Heart and Place on the American Frontier (McFarland, May 23, 2022).

I invite you to peruse the book at your local bookstore such as Third Place Books-Ravenna, Amazon, McFarland, or wherever you buy books.

Listen to a lively conversation about my book on the podcast, Enhance Life with Music, Ep. 134 hosted by Mindy Peterson. While you’re there, subscribe to this wonderful podcast that “explores the holistic power of music in our everyday lives through the lens of science & health, sports & entertainment, business, and education.”

Read my guest article on the blog, No Dead Guys, hosted by Rhonda Rizzo, pianist, and author. While you’re there, check out Rhonda’s compelling page turner, The Waco Variations, a beautiful coming-of-age novel steeped in music and drama.

Upcoming Author Events

Saturday, August 6, 2022, 7:00 -8:30 PM
Piano concert featuring stories and music from the book; audience Q. and A.; and book signing
Music Center of the Northwest
901 N 96th St, Seattle, WA 98103
Free Admission
Audience members are required to wear a mask
*I will have a limited number of books on hand for sale. If you’d like a book signed, I encourage you to purchase a copy ahead of time at your favorite book seller.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022, 7:00 PM
I’ll be giving an author talk peppered with songs and guitar accompaniment; audience Q. and A; book signing
Third Place Books at Ravenna: 6504 20th Ave NE, Seattle WA 98115
Store Phone (206) 525-2347
Free Admission by registration: call or connect online

I hope to see you at one of the events!

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Enhance Life With Music

I invite you to listen to the podcast, “Enhance your Life with Music” for a conversation about my new book, Music of the Westward Expansion: Songs of Heart and Place on the American Frontier. The episode goes live tomorrow, June 13, 2022! While you’re there, be sure to subscribe to this uplifting and educational podcast! https://mpetersonmusic.com/podcast

Enhance Life with Music podcast - MINDY PETERSON, NCTM

MPETERSONMUSIC.COM

Enhance Life with Music podcast – MINDY PETERSON, NCTM

“A holistic look at the power of music in our everyday lives.”

Rancho la Puerta

I’m home after another rejuvenating week at the beautiful health resort, Rancho la Puerta, located at the edge of of Tecate, Mexico where the motto is Siempre Mejor- always better. Last week included lap swimming, hiking, practicing yoga, eating delicious food, admiring gardens, creating art, meeting new friends, connecting with old friends, taking a writing workshop, encountering wild life, strolling along brick pathways, spending time with Joe, leading a singing class, and performing a piano concert- “Music and Stories from Westward Expansion.”

While I was away, my new book was officially published- Music in the Westward Expansion: Songs of Heart and Place on the American Frontier. The book is available at McFarland , Amazon, or from your favorite book seller. And now on to my next adventure – book launching!

Call of the Canyon

Call of the Canyon trail, near Sedona, Arizona

Joe and I recently traveled to Sedona, Arizona for a rejuvenating spring break filled with stunning desert hikes. West Fork Trail, a.k.a “The Call of the Canyon,” just a few miles north of Sedona, is a popular hike that meanders back and forth across a rippling creek and through a canyon maze of spectacular striated rock ledges, peaks, and walls. We also took in the Grand Canyon-the South Rim. I was delighted with the hiking trail that runs parallel to the canyon for several miles! The day was glorious, the canyon, well, grand!

I learned that among the many early Westerns filmed in Sedona, was a 1923 movie called The Call of the Canyon. In 1924, The Pullman Herald urged, “Better answer The Call of the Canyon and come along to the Western thrill-land. Where a son of toil teaches a daughter of jazz the a-b-c of living and loving.” Sign me up, I need to watch this old movie ASAP!  

Another movie, Rhythm on the Range, made in 1940, features the theme song, “The Call of the Canyon.” Here is Frank Sinatra’s recording: New York a https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSR5U5R7Ci4

The Monday after I arrived home, McFarland Publishers emailed with my page proofs for Music in the Westward Expansion: Songs of Heart and Place on the American Frontier, which means that I am currently working on the final task- creating the index! Hurray! Seeing the pdf of the book as it will print, complete with the images and sheet music (10 lead sheets in the back), is thrilling! The book will be published very soon-within the next couple of months! You can pre-order your copy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, McFarland, or wherever you buy books.

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Musical March Madness

March is a frenzied month for Washington music teachers! Many teachers and students across the state participate in the WSMTA (Washington State Music Teachers Association) Music Artistry Program, or MAP for short. This event takes place at multiple venues across the state and entails teachers registering their students to play for visiting artists who travel to chapters all over the state to hear performances from hundreds of students. The visiting artists provide written and verbal comments and also work at the piano for a few minutes with each student. I am a WSMTA visiting artist and recently spent six days adjudicating students from the Edmonds and Olympia chapters of WSMTA. In those six days, I put some miles on my Leaf, stayed in hotels, and worked with 15 teachers and over 125 students- around eight hours each day.

The days zoomed by with outstanding performances from piano students of all ages! Students performed music by the likes of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Schubert, Amy Beach, Scott Joplin, and Chopin. Upon reflection, I am inspired by the dedication and high level of professionalism of the organizers and teachers, the hard work and polished performances of the students, and of course, the never ending parental support. It truly takes a village- a musically minded village. These types of events are not easy to pull off as there are many moving parts.

I barely caught my breath after the whirlwind of MAP events and headed back into my studio for my own practice and to resume lessons with my 23 private students. I also jumped right back in at the Academy for Precision Learning in the University District where I teach several weekly general music classes to grades K-12.

I eagerly await the page proofs of my forthcoming book (Music in the Westward Expansion: Songs of Heart and Place on the American Frontier), but am told that McFarland (the publisher) is working steadily behind the scenes and the book should be ready in the next few months. (Sigh….patience has never been one of my virtues). In the meantime, there are classes to teach, lessons to plan, and music to practice.

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Welcome 2022 with an uplifting “Nocturne” composed by Clyde O. Andrews

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring recorded music, stories, and narrative from my forthcoming book: Music in the Westward Expansion: Songs of Heart and Place on the American Frontier.

“Nocturne” (1907) by Clyde O. Andrews, played by Laura Dean

Clyde O. Andrews composed his award-winning “Nocturne” in 1907 while studying music at at Western University in Quindaro, Kansas. I found this musical gem (the sheet music) in the Kansas Historical Society digital archives while conducting research for my book. Playing this piece of music makes me feel calm, hopeful, and connected to a fellow musician from the past. Though this piece was written over a hundred years ago, it still resonates as a musical respite in challenging times.

Clyde Andrews wrote on the sheet music cover, “Those who do not reach up, cannot climb.” He also wrote that this particular piece was “dedicated to the uplift and inspiration of my fellow young men and women.” I cannot think of better sentiments for welcoming in a new year. Here’s to 2022-may it be a year bursting with inspiration, beauty, and tranquility.

Harvest Time

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring recorded music, stories, and narrative from my forthcoming book: Music in the Westward Expansion: Songs of Heart and Place on the American Frontier.

Harvest. ca. 1869., artist unknown. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

William Van Orsdel, “Brother Van,” known as the best loved man in Montana. (ca. late 1800s)

Brother Van with friends and bear cub in Great Falls, Montana. Photo courtesy of the Brother Van Museum Archives. (ca. late 1800s)

“Harvest Time,” known as “Brother Van’s Song.” played by Laura Dean
Harvest Time 
The seed I have scattered in spring-time with weeping 
and watered with tears and with dews from on high;
Another may shout when the harvesters reaping 
shall gather my grain in the sweet by and by.

Over and over, yes-deeper and deeper 
my heart is pierced through with life's sorrowing cry,
but the tears of the sower and the songs of the reaper 
shall angle together in joy by and by. 

By and by, by and by 
by and by, by and by
But the tears of the sower and the songs fo the reaper shall
mingle together in joy by and by.

Then palms of victory, crowns of glory, 
palms of victory I shall wear. 

William Van Orsdel (1848-1919), known as Brother Van, was often referred to as “the best loved man in Montana.” Brother Van, an enthusiastic singer, often broke into song during his sermons. He was a 19th century Methodist minister and circuit rider – a preacher who rode from town to town conducting church services. He tirelessly preached the gospel to congregations both large and small – on a steamboat, in saloons, in churches, and on rustic homesteads throughout the state of Montana. As a young man, a riverboat captain asked why he was going to Montana, Brother Van replied, “To sing, to preach and to encourage people to be good.”

For more about Brother Van and how he once saved his life with music, you’ll have to read my forthcoming book! I just learned that my manuscript has moved into the paging or pagination phase-which means another step closer to the publication date-early 2022.

Music in the Westward Expansion: Songs of Heart and Place on the American Frontier at McFarland Publishers, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or ask about the book at your favorite book seller.