New Blossoms Emerging…

Photo by Alexander Popov from Unsplash.

March has begun!

And I am realizing that it’s been over a month since my last blog post.

Why?

Well… I stumbled into an opportunity to be interviewed by an old acquaintance who writes about the arts for a New England-based magazine.

And after I learned that my mini-profile was going to run in their March/April issue, I decided it was time to re-do my website — which had remained functional but increasingly antiquated in recent years.

So February was devoted to researching website design options, choosing a company, and learning how to use this company’s cornucopia of templates and design features.

Photo by Free-Photos from Pixabay

After all sorts of challenges (which I may share in a future blog post as a case study in hiking up a new learning curve…) I am happy — and relieved — to report that my new site is now up and running at my old website address: willsings.com.

In the process of transferring information from my old site to this new one, I had the opportunity to reflect upon the past twenty years of my musical life — which has been a very sweet and slightly surprising experience.

I had forgotten, for example, exactly how much media coverage I had garnered in past years… and how often certain angels in our local media had written about various musical undertakings, concerts, recordings, collaborations, etc.

Photo by Benjamin Dickerhof from Unsplash.

I also discovered how much I still like various recordings I helped to make in past years.

And this new website makes it relatively easy to create separate pages for all of them, which I can continue to update and improve as time allows.

Deep breath in.

And deep breath out.

Lots of opportunities to practice feeling grateful!

I recorded the musical selection at the top of this blog post with pianist Doug Hammer on his Schimmel grand piano a few years ago when I was putting together an hour-long program of songs created for Disney movies.

Photo by Sunflair from Pixabay.

These three songs were written by the Sherman Brothers — Robert and Richard — for the magical movie Mary Poppins.

Recent weather — very cold with 30 mph winds! —reminded me of this medley.

As usual I have visited the wonderful photographic website Pixabay as well as a new one called Unsplash (when Pixabay was not functioning well) to find some images to grace this blog post and uplift my spirit.

So far the only sign of spring I have seen is ONE snowdrop which has managed to push up through the earth in our tiny front yard and bloom.

Amazing!

Photo by Will McMillan.

Inside the house, a pot of hyacinth bulbs I bought last winter from Trader Joe’s — and then left in the sun on the back porch all summer — has experienced a glorious re-birth.

They are very fragrant.

Another deep breath in.

And deep breath out.

Hurrah!

Spring may indeed return to New England…

This three-song medley is one of many recordings that Doug and I have been finding in his sonic archives — and have been fixing and mixing every Friday afternoon via Zoom.

There is a tiny lyric bobble in this recording which we will re-record when I am vaccinated and Doug is ready to welcome human beings back into his studio.

Did you hear it?

Photo by TheOtherKev from Pixabay.

My favorite song in this medley is the last one — “Let’s Go Fly A Kite.”

I was reminded when looking for images of kites that there are also raptors named kites.

So I am including a photo of this magnificent bird as well.

Even though I live in a suburb of Boston which does not have a lot of green space, I am delighted to see hawks flying overhead on a surprisingly regular basis as I walk around town.

I think this is partly because I do not use a smart phone — so I tend to be looking at what is actually going on around me more than many of my fellow humans — who often seem to be living in a parallel universe defined by their phone.

Image by Stacy Vitallo from Pixabay 

Last week I may have even seen a bald eagle fly around a cemetery where I like to walk which overlooks a neighboring town’s lake.

As many of my fellow bloggers often remind me, there are few things better than spending time outside in/with the natural world!

Yet another deep breath in.

And deep breath out.

I released a new recording at the beginning of March — “Plant A Radish” from the musical The Fantasticks by Harvey Schmidt (music) and Tom Jones (lyrics).

You can click here to listen to it on several digital music platforms if you are curious.

Photo by Romain Mathon from Unsplash.

Now I am looking forward to seeing how many of the crocus bulbs I planted last fall have survived the hungry — and deserving — animals who amazingly manage to survive each winter living outdoors.

And I am waiting for another (warmer) windy day to call up my neighbors and go to a local playing field where we can enjoy a well-masked, kite-flying + pizza picnic.

Thank you to all the wonderful photographers at Pixabay and Unsplash whom I decided I needed to respect by taking the time to credit by name (and whose credits I wish I could figure how to center under their photos…)

Thank you to Doug Hammer for his sublime piano playing and archiving and engineering and mixing and mastering.

Photo by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

Thank you to the Sherman Brothers for writing so many great songs during the course of their impressive career.

Thank you to my friends in Toronto who gave me a slightly used but still very functional laptop computer several years ago — which has allowed me to blog, lead music classes via Zoom, create a new website, etc.

Thank you to planet earth for managing to support as much life as she does — even as we human beings continue to rip apart, poison, and contaminate ecosystems right, left and center with our wildly hubristic over-confidence and greed.

Photo by Will McMillan

Thank you for — and to — the WordPress community.

The illness of a fellow blogger has reminded me in recent days of how oddly intimate — and deeply supportive — the WordPress community can be.

So thank YOU for reading and listening to another one of my blog posts.

Now…

“Let’s go fly a kite up to the highest height.

Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring up through the atmosphere — up where the air is clear.

Oh, let’s go fly a kite!”

Photo by Martin Blonk on Unsplash.

39 thoughts on “New Blossoms Emerging…

  1. Will, I recently watched the film, “Saving Mr. Banks” on Netflix. The film is about P.L. Travers and Walt Disney making the film, “Mary Poppins”. It is not necessarily a musical but it certainly touches on the composers you mentioned. “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” figures prominently in one segment of the story. I found it quite endearing, whatever the truthfulness about Travers’ story. Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks are the stars. Good on a cold, not-too-spring-like day. Love, Jeanne Cronin

    • Hi, Jeanne! I liked that movie a lot. Mr. Disney and Ms. Travers communicated for many years off and on, if I am remembering correctly, before the movie began to become a reality. On another note, Conrad must be quite long and tall these days… Lovely to hear from you!!!

      • Yes. Disney was a fascinating human being. I’m not sure that I agree with his vision, but a bunch of great songs have been written for Disney movies.

  2. Thank you for sharing your passion for music, life, nature, and compassion Will. Kudos on creating a new website. I’m curious to explore your website. And thanks for acknowledging the photographers. As a hobby photographer, I love people appreciating and crediting my images. 🙏 Let’s go fly a kite! 🪁

    • You found a kite emoji, Brad! I like our current president’s commitment to respect (which was put to test almost immediately by the actions of the new assistant press secretary — who is no longer the assistant press secretary if I understand correctly). Including the names of the photographers is a simple act of respect that I can add to my blogging practice. Thanks for reading and listening to yet another blog post!

  3. Hi Will! Thank you for the songs and the musings. I do use a smart phone, but I use it as I look around and up to take photos of birds and the world around me. I’ve seen hawks and eagles, too, in south Jersey (and they’re in Philadelphia, too.) Our crocuses are starting to bloom, and some daffodil leaves are starting to poke up. Spring will come to Boston, too. Good luck with your new Web site!

    • Yes. Not everyone is lost in their cell phones. They can be wonderful tools for taking photos (which end up gracing blog posts!) and I have seen people use an app at night to locate and name stars and planets. But I DO encounter a LOT of people out and about in my town who are completely disengaged from our shared civic space — and the natural world as well — because they are totally focused on their phone. Hurrah that spring is arriving in PA and NJ!!! I hear we will have weather in the 50s next week. That ought to inspire a lot of sap to rise and bulbs to bloom… Deep breath in. Deep breath out. And deep breath in again.

  4. I enjoyed that, Will, and listening to your great renditions from Mary Poppins. The US has given the world so much wonderful music – I’m no expert, but enjoy a bit of Cole Porter, Rogers and Hammerstein, Glen Miller – and was getting carried away with Rhapsody in Blue just the other day. That said, Chuck Berry will remain my hero. Had a dig into your new, and very impressive, website. I feel somewhat guilty for not looking before – so much talent! I will be back – though I am hopeless at keeping up to date with things!

    • Thanks for visiting, Mike! I just got a taste of York on YOUR site. No pressure ever to read a blog post or visit my website. I need to learn more about Mr. Berry… Time to visit Wikipedia!

      • The story of how music and musical influences traveled — over the course of centuries – from both sides of the Atlantic is fascinating. So far Wikipedia has surprised me with the following info: “Born in St. Louis, (Charles Edward Anderson) Berry was the youngest child. He grew up in the north St. Louis neighborhood known as the Ville, an area where many middle-class people lived. His father, Henry William Berry (1895–1987) was a contractor and deacon of a nearby Baptist church; his mother, Martha Bell (Banks) (1894–1980) was a certified public school principal. Berry’s upbringing allowed him to pursue his interest in music from an early age.”

  5. Well. Thanks to you, I finally really “heard” these three songs. Wonderful job. Your mentioning the Sherman Bros., by the way, made me, too, think of “Saving Mr. Banks” and the rather funny personalities the songwriters projected. The 2009 doc “The Boys: The Sherman Brothers’ Story” had a sadder vibe. PS. willsings looks great!

    • I need to watch that documentary! I think from somewhere that Mr. Disney used to ask the Sherman Brothers to come to his office and play “Feed The Birds” when he needed a good cry. So they were able to communicate sadness as well as joy/glee with their songs. I also have always felt that “It’s A Small World” is quite a bittersweet composition. That you for reading and listening and commenting AND visiting my new website!

  6. Hi Will! What a joyous post you have written. Spring will be here soon. Whoever coined the phrase for March, “in like a lion out like a lamb” must have been from New England. I love the songs the Sherman Brothers wrote for Marry Poppins. You must see the movie “Saving Mr. Banks.” That is great news on the magazine interview. It must have felt good to re-do your website, too. It looks fabulous! I’m headed over to read your interview at Boston Spirit. Happy spring. Thank you for making me feel like I want to go fly a kite.

  7. I love the Mary Poppins medley, Will – beautifully sung, as ever! I also visited your website and read the magazine article. What an amazing and hard-working man you are!

    • Thank you, Clare, for devoting so many precious minutes of your life to reading another one of my blog posts AND to visiting my new website! I was somewhat hard-working during the month of February — but as you probably know, it tends to be fun to work on something you want to do/accomplish. I used to put in much longer hours when I worked at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education (8-12 hour days, 5-7 days per week, on a regular basis)…

    • Thank you, Jane! These last few days/weeks of winter overlapping with the last few weeks/months (we hope) of Covid-related behavior changes are going to be a challenge for many people’s mental health. Mine included! Last week we had a 70 degree day of warmth with crocus beginning to bloom. Today it is in the teens with a windchill down to zero (farenheit). I initially drafted a blog post which described some of the challenges I encountered building my new website, and then decided to write something more upbeat. If it weren’t SO COLD, today would be a great day to fly a kite…

      • Here’s to kite flying, Will and yes, we are subject to the effects of sharp weather changes and goodness knows, we have been having a lot of those lately. I take my hat off to you for making the changes to your web site. It’s a tricky job as everything you change effects something else and it’s a rabbit hole at times. I did it recently and have more to do now, so I felt for you. Hats off and kite flying for emerging out the other side… ❤

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