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!
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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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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
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!
William Van Orsdel, “Brother Van,” known as the best loved man in Montana. (ca. late 1800s)
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.
Get up. Jump up. Try hard and don’t give up. – Chief Earl Old Person
Chief Earl Old Person died of cancer at the age of 92 on October 13th. Old Person was a national treasure who served as the chief of the Blackfeet Nation for more than 60 years. He was an expert of Blackfeet language and culture, an advocate for tribal land and water rights, an inspired political leader, and an international ambassador. In his lifetime he met every president from Harry Truman to Barack Obama. He also met Queen Elizabeth, the prime minister of Canada-Pierre Trudeau, and the shaw of Iran. In his later years, he created home recordings of traditional stories and songs for the benefit of future generations.
I grew up in Choteau, Montana, on the Eastern Rocky Mountain front, about 70 miles south of Browning, Montana-the headquarters of the Blackfeet Reservation-the last stop before Glacier Park. The Choteau Bulldogs and Browning Indians were in the same athletic conference. Throughout my elementary to high school years, I regularly traveled to Browning for swim meets and to watch basketball and football games.
Earl Old Person rarely missed a high school basketball game-Browning is legendary for champion basketball teams and enduring fans. For his last visit to the Browning high school gymnasium, his casket was placed in the middle of the basketball court where thousands of mourners came to honor his memory and to say their final goodbyes. The mourning period lasted for four days and included processions, dancing, songs, and stories celebrating the life of the beloved chief.
I’m in the sweet spot on the author’s continuum. The manuscript for my book,Music in the Westward Expansion: Songs of Heart and Place on the American Frontier,is with my publisher-McFarland. The images have been approved, the permissions have been gathered, the cover has been finalized, and the book is up for presale on various platforms including McFarland and Amazon. While working through the final stages of the editing process with McFarland, I have been learning traditional tunes, songs, and instrumental pieces that are mentioned in the text of my book.
One of the songs mentioned in the book, “Whiskey Before Breakfast,” is a popular Métis fiddle tune that captures the adventurous and optimistic spirit of the Old West. The old time tune may have Irish roots, but it was made famous in the 1950s by Métis fiddler, Andy De Jarlis. The Métis people, of mixed European and Indigenous ancestry, are known for a vibrant fiddling culture dating back to the 1800s.
Santa Fe proved a sweet destination for Spring break 2017. My (soon to be 15 years old!) daughter and I headed down to the beautiful Southwest for some desert fun in the sun.
Santa Fe, steeped in complex history and diverse cultures, is a mecca for art and history museums. The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and The Museum of International Folk Art, are both situated on Museum Hill overlooking 365 degree views of the mountains and the sweeping desert landscape. We stopped at a café for an outside table taking in the view between museum going.
Along with an impressive historical display depicting the lives of the indigenous cultures of the Southwest, The Indian Arts and Cultures museum included thought-provoking works by contemporary Native American artist, Frank Buffalo Hyde.
The plaza in downtown Santa Fe, a stroll from our hotel , was a terrific place to people watch, listen to music, window shop, and talk to the jewelry vendors selling their wares just outside of the Palace of the Governors (one of the oldest buildings in the country, dating back to 1610).
My favorite museum, New Mexico History Museum, tells the heartbreaking and captivating stories of the American Southwest – the native people, the Spanish colonists, the Mexicans, the Santa Fe trail, it’s all there! A bonus exhibit on Flamenco dance and music was a highlight. Turns out Santa Fe is a hot spot for Flamenco dance and culture.
Ruby Dressed as a flamenco dancer.
Then there was the Georgie O’Keeffe Museum showcasing a collections of paintings showing the evolution of her art throughout her career. I was as fascinated with her life as I was by her beautiful paintings. O’Keeffe lived 1887-1986, and spent much of her time at Ghost Ranch outside of Santa Fe, she was ahead of her time as an artist, traveler, observer, and independent woman.
It wasn’t all museums, we also took an afternoon to enjoy soaking and relaxing the 10,000 waves, a Japanese inspired spa just outside of Santa Fe. We also enjoyed the delicious and spicy Southwest cuisine and loved the crisp clear mornings and sunny afternoons.
Yesterday, my fellow early morning lap swimmers and I had our end of the summer breakfast which marks the end of another summer season of outdoor swimming. We’ll head indoors for the fall and the winter. I swim three days a week at 6:00 am, it’s a great energetic start to the day.
Swimming, like music, has been a constant companion ever since I can remember. I spent many happy summers swimming on the Choteau Swim Team. (I’m first row on the right in the picture above, I think I’m about 8 or 9.) In college, I was a lifeguard and swim instructor and after college, I became a certified diver when I was working on cruise ships in the Caribbean. That seems a lifetime ago! Now, I’m an early morning lap swimmer and swim mom.
My daughter, entering high school, just made the Roosevelt High School varsity swim team. Way to go, Ruby! She’s much faster than I ever was! She’s also a water polo player, because these swimmers just can’t get enough time in the water.
We should all find something we love and keep doing it, like swimming, like music! Today’s post, an arrangement of REM’s Night Swimming.
Here’s the original, a gorgeous song by REM from Automatic for the people:
More swimming love! Here’s the ever inspirational, awesome Michael Phelps in an Under Armour Commercial.