An Attitude Of Gratitude


Today’s song is actually a two-song medley from the musical Sweet Charity.

I included it because the first song, “I’m A Brass Band,” mentions the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, which is coming up soon…

I learned online that this year there will be very little marching.

Most of the performances and activity will unfold where the parade usually ends: Herald Square — which is the intersection of Broadway, Sixth Avenue, and 34th street in Manhattan.

Some segments will be pre-recorded and some will be live.

And there will be performances by the casts of many Broadway shows — all of which have been on hiatus for months due to Covid-19.

John McMartin and Gwen Verdon

Sweet Charity was a big hit on Broadway in 1966 starring Gwen Verdon and John McMartin.

Bob Fosse and his wife/muse Gwen Verdon had seen a Fellini movie, The Nights Of Cabiria, and Fosse soon began writing a treatment about how it could become a musical.

Lyricist Dorothy Fields and composer Cy Coleman joined the creative team — and after they had written a few songs, Bob convinced his old friend Neil Simon to work on the script.

I wrote a blog post about Dorothy Fields three years ago which you can read by clicking here if you are curious.

She had an extraordinary career as a lyricist, co-writing hit songs from the late 1920s through the early 1970s.

I’m not sure why she is not a household name similar to Cole Porter or Irving Berlin — both of whom, incidentally, she worked with as a librettist (script writer).

Maybe because she was a woman?

Maybe because she didn’t hire publicists to keep her name in the papers?

When many of her friends and contemporaries like Ira Gershwin, Harold Arlen, and Richard Rodgers had become frustrated by the arrival of rock & roll on the cultural landscape, Fields teamed up with a composer almost half her age — Coleman, who was 37 years old — and experienced one of the biggest hits of her entire career when she was 61!

Dorothy Fields and Cy Coleman

Her lyrics for the songs in Sweet Charity are witty and hip in a pre-summer-of-love-kinda-way.

And I love the verse for “I’m A Brass Band.”

“Somebody loves me — my heart is beating so fast. All kinds of music is pouring out of me — somebody loves me at last…”

I feel very loved — or perhaps a more understated word would be appreciated — by the WordPress community.

I am not sure why, but the average number of people visiting my site has doubled in recent weeks.

And so far in November I have already had more people visit the site than in any previous month!

The WordPress community continues to feel like a blessed parallel universe — where respect for others is still a norm.

I love reading other people’s blog posts, and I love reading the comments that each post inspires.

And I love seeing increasingly familiar names turn up in the comments section of an ever-widening variety of blog posts.

I also love when people take the time not only to read and listen to one of my blog posts but also to leave a comment.

Thank you!!!

Last Sunday I was listening to a sermon via Zoom while addressing postcards to potential voters in Georgia — encouraging them to register to vote in the upcoming senate elections.

The theme of the sermon was gratitude — and how powerful a practice it can be in our lives.

As soon as one slows down and starts looking around, most of us can find a seemingly endless stream of things to be grateful for.

And Thanksgiving IS a traditional time to count one’s blessings.

So let’s begin…

I am grateful for music and for great songwriters like Dorothy Fields and Cy Coleman.

I am grateful for pianist/engineer Doug Hammer, with whom I have recorded (and mixed and mastered) many fun versions of songs over the past 20+ years — some of which I share on this blog and some of which I am starting to share via Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Pandora, etc.

I am grateful for marching bands — who do not need any electricity at all to generate a soul-stirring amount of sound and excitement.

I am grateful for friends and family.

I am grateful for food, clothing and shelter.

I am grateful for photosynthesis — which creates oxygen for all of us animals to breathe and transforms energy from a nearby star (our sun) into something we can eat and use to fuel our own lives.

I am grateful for all the folks who grow and harvest and package and deliver food for us city-dwellers to eat.

I am grateful for the two twenty-somethings who recently gave my bike a complete tune-up at a store they help to run not far from where I live.

I am grateful for electricity, my laptop computer, and the internet — which allow me to write blog posts, record songs, and share them with anyone else in the rest of the world who also has access to electricity, a computer and the internet.

I am grateful for my Music Together families — with whom I hop and clap and kick and spin and dance and sing each week (in a local park wearing lots of masks and also via Zoom).

I am grateful for the men installing new, more efficient windows in our basement today.

I am grateful to my friend, the jazz pianist and composer Steve Sweeting, who gave me the sheet music for “I’m A Brass Band” many years ago because he thought I might like to perform it some day…

I am grateful for all the folks around the world and in the USA who are actively engaged in the challenging, ever-evolving work of living in a democracy.

I am grateful to Pixabay and ye olde internet for the images in this blog post.

A happy and healthy Thanksgiving to you and yours

And, of course, I am grateful to YOU for reading and listening to another one of my blog posts.

What are YOU feeling grateful for these days?

43 thoughts on “An Attitude Of Gratitude

  1. How funny that you brought up the Macy’s parade. Claudia was teasing me last night because we thought it was cancelled and she knows I watch it every year while preparing dinner. My dad would take us there every year by subway. Great memories. Thank you for well said words about gratitude We are grateful to have you and your inspiring blog. 💜

  2. A beautiful uplifting post, Will. We should all have music in our lives…given the times we are living there is still so much to be grateful for, and I like you I get much of my inspiration from the wonderful world of blogging…Posts like this set me up for the day…Thank you, Will and a happy Thanksgiving 🙂 x

  3. You’re right, Will–so much to be grateful for! Eyes to read with, ears to hear (music) with, a brain to figure things out. And a great blogger community here on WP! Happy Thanksgiving to you.

    • I agree, Audrey. Your reminder about “eyes to read… (and) ears to hear” is particularly prescient/poignant because my mom has been grappling in the past year with increasing deafness and loss of vision. So many things which brought meaning to her life — such as writing and reading and listening to music — have become a huge challenge/frustration to her. So she is grieving … Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Let us be grateful for what we have while we have it! A peaceful and delicious Thanksgiving full of sound and vision to you!

  4. I do love your post about gratitude. Even in tough times you find every day something to fill you with gratitude. It might be kindness and love from a friend, a phone call that lifted you up.
    You have already listed so many that ring right with me too.
    May we all give something for others to feel happy for as well. A beautiful wheel of gratitude.

    Miriam

    • You have perfectly articulated the theme of the sermon I was listening to last Sunday — practicing gratitude is valuable during easy times AND tough times. Perhaps especially during tough times… Thank you for reading and listening and commenting!

  5. A beautiful post . You sit back and realise that life has not really been harsh and there is a lot to be grateful for thanks for sharing your wonderful thoughts .

    • You are very welcome, Veena. Gratitude seems to be related to the concept of “Is the glass half full or half empty?” Choosing to be grateful reminds us of many ways that the glass is half full — and maybe more than half full! Thank YOU for visiting my site and leaving a comment!

  6. You are a role model for gratitude, Will. I’m glad (and not surprised) that new bloggers are finding your wonderful blog. Who doesn’t love music? Who doesn’t love the stories of the people behind the music? That’s you! Happy Thanksgiving, Will.

    • Hi, dear JDS!!!! Are you hunkered down in Newton or on the Cape? We remain rooted in East Arlington (although today I bike to Cambridge and pick up 100 letters off a friend’s back porch to personalize and then mail to possible voters in Georgia…) Thank you for reading and listening to yet another blog post!!!

  7. Hi Will! Happy Thanksgiving — so good to listen to We Need a Little Christmas — with you and Doug. It was especially poignant and heartfelt! Thanks for sharing your warm words and humor! Love, Carol (cousin)

    • Hi, Carol: THANK YOU for listening!!! Much to (tentatively) celebrate these days… and much more work to be done, too. Today I am working on 150 letters to infrequent voters in GA, encouraging them to request an absentee ballot. Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

    • Grazie, Luisa! After reading your very poignant blog post about Oscar Wilde, I realize how much more I have to learn about him… I am slightly amazed that you found a photo of the actual envelope (with his drawings, I presume?) in which he kept a lock of his beloved sister’s hair!

    • Thank you for visiting my site! I read one of your blog posts about ten healthy things to do each day. It was a great reminder — and inspired me to lie down and do some stretching/yoga/Pilates… Now I will go and drink a glass of water (another one of your healthy suggestions).

    • Some verses are forgettable and others are priceless — really setting up a song in a lovely way. Steve Sweeting had given me sheet music for “I’m A Brass Band” many years ago, but I finally learned it when Joe Reid and I were putting together an hour of songs with lyrics by Dorothy Fields a few years ago. Now it’s one of my favorite songs!

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