Archive for the ‘Mid-Winter Singing Festival’ Category

For the second year in a row, I, my husband, and my mother-in-law attended the Mid-Winter Singing Festival this past weekend in East Lansing, Michigan. The theme this night was “Michigania!” The six song leaders were all folk singers from Michigan. Some of the songs chosen for this night’s sing were quite evocative for me:

    Rainbow Connection brought back memories of my childhood. I was a regular watcher of the Muppets TV show, and although I never saw The Muppet Movie I did have a cassette tape album with the songs from the movie on it. Remember cassette tapes?
    What a Wonderful World is a song I do not like. However, the memories it evoked were pleasant ones from our wedding day. As at all weddings in modern times (or so it seems), this song was played at our wedding too.
    The Flintstones Theme again evoked memories from my childhood.
    Rock that Sucker. For those not familiar, it’s a song by Claudia Schmidt and arranged by Joan Szymko. This night it was sung by Claudia Schmidt and the All Corners’ Festival Choir. This is a good song to be singing in light of the 10+ inches of snow we got just a few days earlier. However, the memory this evoked was from a week earlier when my husband backed his car into a snow pile at the end of our driveway and got stuck. Despite me telling him to “rock that sucker” (Ok, I didn’t say it quite that way), he continued to spin his car wheels while telling me that rocking the car never works to get one’s car unstuck from a snow drift. I guess my multiple first-hand experiences in the matter didn’t count. And, from what I could tell, it didn’t seem like getting angry and spinning the car wheels was doing much better. It did give the neighbors a good show though!
    You Send Me made me think of one of my long-time friends and his fiancé. He just proposed to her about 3 weeks earlier, on the second anniversary of their first meeting. I suppose, in a roundabout way, this also brought back memories of when my husband proposed to me. Different circumstances, but equally as romantic (if not more so!)
    As Time Goes By. No. No memories of Casablanca. Only warm memories of my husband and I cuddling on the couch watching episodes of the British comedy, As Time Goes By, that we periodically rent from Netflix.
    Edelweiss reminded me of my favorite movie: The Sound of Music. It also inspired me to start learning to play my keyboard again. I had to put it away quite a few years ago when I started working from home because there was no room to have it out. The last song I was learning to play was Edelweiss. Now, in our new house, there’s plenty of room to have my keyboard set up. Now I just have to make the time to practice again.

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When warriors come and bang the drum
And march their troops before us
Then friends of peace link hand in hand
And join as one in chorus

— Third verse of the song “How Can I Keep From Singing?” composed by Joel Mabus, 2003. Original hymn composed in 1860 by Robert Lowry.

Yesterday I, my husband, and my mother-in-law went to a Community Sing at my husband’s old middle school, now a community center, in East Lansing. This particular community sing was part of the annual Mid-Winter Singing Festival held this time of year. This is the first time that we’ve gone, but I’m guessing it won’t be our last. All of us had a wonderful time. If you like singing (even if you can’t carry a tune in a bucket like me), like folk music, or like comedy you’d love this “concert”. Leading the sing this night were Joel Mabus (my favorite), Susan Werner (a new favorite), Frank Youngman (funny!!!), and Rachel Alexander (what she can do with 70 amateur singers in a 90-minute workshop is amazing!).

The mix of songs is older (i.e. “My Blue Heaven”) and newer (i.e. “My Girl” by Smokey Robinson). The singers on stage put their own spin on things too. And, every year after intermission at the Saturday Community Sing, the “choir” from Rachel Alexander’s 90-minute workshop comes out on stage to sing 2 songs. This year one of the songs sung was by Susan Werner herself. She sang with the choir. The song: “Help Somebody”. Loved, loved, loved it. Loved the song, and the 90-minute choir was spectacular. Here’s a performance of the song, though not the one I saw, obviously:

This night, WKAR, the East Lansing public TV station was filming a documentary about the Mid-Winter Singing Festival. I don’t know how the documentary will turn out and I don’t know when it’ll air, but if you can get WKAR on your TV, then I suggest you watch to get a feel for what it’s all about.

If you’ve never been to the Mid-Winter Singing Festival and the Community Sing, I’d highly recommend it. Plan ahead. The next Singing Festival is Friday-Saturday, February 4-5, 2011.

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