From the President

by Susan Sweeney Hermon
President, Spirit of Rasputin’s

April 22, 2020

Well, isolation continues, but the music goes on, across balconies, in home studios and in Zoom jams.  COVID songs are being composed everywhere, these days possibly even by the birds!

With time on their hands, people are now tackling the long list of books they would someday read, recipes they would someday try and music they would someday learn, while closets and cupboards have never been so clean.

My ‘someday project’ has been to sort out 40 years of family photos from old albums. Every available flat surface in my house has been forced to hold little piles of photos, until shots of the same subject get weeded out mercilessly, thereby reducing my bulky photo albums from 23 down to nine.
Musically, my main activity has been to video myself singing “Baa Baa Black Sheep” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider” with harp or guitar accompaniment for my grandkids. When one or more of them get antsy I get a FaceTime call with requests for “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” so they can dance and burn off steam.

Thanks to Jay Kassirer‘s initiative, SoR is keeping Monday’s Open Stage alive, with Alan Sandeman hosting as always. Marilyn Stratton-Zimmer is also carrying on as host of the Tuesday Folk Jam. Click on the links for details. Curse COVID but bless technology! 
Stay well and stay away!

The New Not-Normal

March 22, 2020

These days I need to get near a river to watch the ice floes rush with the current toward Spring.  Places in my childhood had logs floating down rivers at this time of year. I need to hear the cacophony of Canada geese coming back, making a commotion as they circle overhead and decide where to touch down on home soil. 

I need to find normal. And I do, as I walk along the Rideau River. Normal red-winged blackbirds hollering. Normal goldfinches, robins and cardinals all performing Spring courting repertoire. 

Tricycles and scooters have emerged from basements and little kids are in brightly coloured rain boots, splashing in puddles of course.  Someone in the neighbourhood got the idea of getting kids, forced home from schools, to draw and cut out shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day and display them in their windows. Then kids could go outside on a treasure hunt and count how many shamrocks they spotted in the ‘hood. The idea has been expanded to funny faces, flowers and Easter eggs. Something to keep school kids busy while ‘social distancing’.

We all know these are not normal times. Households, neighbourhoods, cities and entire countries are shut down. There is no traffic. No planes overhead. Cars are parked in people’s driveways as they work from home. The only happy creatures are dogs, for whom life is a bowl full of cherries, with their people now at home and completely available to take them out for walks.

In these not normal times we’ll need to dig deep into ourselves to find strength, reassurance, comfort, and hope for better days to come. Many of us have creative minds that can serve up lines of poetry or song lyrics to warm the heart, tickle our funny bones or set worry aside for a while.

I miss the lovely people and the wonderful variety of music that has been part of my life at the Whispers Open Stage Monday nights. Keep the music alive and take good care of yourselves and your loved ones.

Sending good thoughts and wishes to you.

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