music

My niece, Kelli Schulenberg has a list of things she likes that might make many people feel very tired, but Kelli is someone who is on the go a lot. In her own words, Kelli likes “Music, traveling, fitness, animals, and the outdoors. Fresh air, trees, blue skies, summer, and hiking.” Anyone who knows her, know that truer words were never spoken. Kelli likes to stay active, and doesn’t like to waste a moment of her free time. If there’s a concert nearby, Kelli and her husband, my nephew, Barry Schulenberg might jump in the pickup and head for wherever it is being held. They both really enjoy going to concerts.

If there isn’t a concert, Kelli and Barry might be found on Casper Mountain, cross country skiing in the winter, or hiking in the summer. Anyone who knows Kelli very well, knows that she prefers Summer over Winter…every time. And there are a lot of us who totally agree with her whole heartedly on that one. For Kelli, as for many of us, Winter brings with it, a little bit of…depression, for lack of a better word. It’s not that she is depressed, but that the weather is depressing. Because Kelli likes to hike, she feels sad when the winter months hit. For a hiker, cross country skiing really can’t compare to hiking. At least, that’s the way I feel about it.

Kelli loves animals, and her dog, Scout is her current “baby.” Scout can be a trial for Kelli, always wanting to be lazy, when she wants to be active. Nevertheless, he makes up for it with his goofy ways. There is a lot to be said for a dog making his masters laugh. Scout refuses to “adult,” as Kelli would say, so his goofiness is always inspiring laughter in his masters. Scout came to live with Kelli and Barry as a puppy, after their long time dog, Dakota passed away. Scout has lots of potential, but lets face it…right now Scout is no Dakota. I know that Kelli and Barry still miss Dakota very much.

Kelli and Barry have a place out east of Casper, Wyoming. It’s home, but Kelli would love to have a couple of donkeys on it. They are one of her favorite animals. Still, she loves most animals. She has a real heart for them. She loves their antics, their cuddles, and yes, even their naughtiness. I hope that someday Kelli gets her donkeys. I think that would be very cool. Today is Kelli’s birthday Happy birthday Kelli!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Author of Looking Backward:2000-1887, Edward Bellamy, wrote in the novel first published in 1888 novel, asked his readers to imagine a scene in which a time-traveler from 1887 reacts to a technological advance from the early 21st century that he describes as, “An arrangement for providing everybody with music in their homes, perfect in quality, unlimited in quantity, suited to every mood, and beginning and ceasing at will.” It’s amazing to me that many writers of fiction, see the future in a way most of us can’t. Their imaginations manage to picture a future that sometimes, proves to be uncannily like real life in the future. Jules Verne was that way too.

In Bellamy’s imagination…almost inventor-like, this astonishing feat would be accomplished by a vast network of wires connecting individual homes with centrally located concert halls staffed round-the-clock with live performers. Of course, that would be a difficult task to pull off, but in the end, someone else took care of the finer points of Bellamy’s vision. As we all know, today we can turn on a radio, whether plugged into the outlets in our home, or a portable version that we carry around, and of course, these days every smart phone has the ability to listen wirelessly to radio stations, watch television, and download all the music our hearts could desire.

Bellamy’s vision came to pass much sooner than the 2000 predicted date, and without all the wiring he thought would be needed, but he wasn’t too far off in what the end outcome would be…at least for the homes. I doubt it ever occurred to him that it could all be done wirelessly, or that telephones could have the same capability and much more. Of course, at that time, telephones were still in their very primitive stages. On October 1, 1920, Scientific American magazine reported that the rapidly developing medium of radio would soon be used to broadcast music. A revolution in the role of music in everyday life was about to be born.

“It has been well known for some years that by placing a form of telephone transmitter in a concert hall or at any point where music is being played the sound may be carried over telephone wires to an ordinary telephone receiver at a distant point,” began the bulletin in the October 1, 1920 issue of the popular science monthly, “but it is only recently that a method of transmitting music by radio has been found possible.”
People still argue about radio’s origins to this day, but its basic workings had been understood for upwards of 20 years at the time of this announcement. It was only in the years immediately following World War I, however, that radio made the transition from scientific curiosity to practical technology. Then, by late 1919, Britain, the United States and elsewhere were beginning experiments that would lead to the breakthrough use of radio not just as a replacement for the telegraph, but as a communications and entertainment medium. The idea that Bellamy suggested, was coming to pass…a full 81 years sooner than he had expected.

It was those experiments that led to the public announcement in Scientific American. “Music can be performed at any place, radiated into the air through an ordinary radio transmitting set and received at any other place, even though hundreds of miles away,” the report continued, noting that “the music received can be made as loud as desired by suitable operation of the receiving apparatus.” “Experimental concerts are at present being conducted every Friday evening from 8:30 to 11:00 by the Radio Laboratory of the Bureau of Standard. The possibilities of such centralized radio concerts are great and extremely interesting.” Bellamy’s dream had come to pass.

I think we have all been to a New Year’s Eve party, and at the stroke of midnight, everyone began singing that old favorite that everyone knows, “Auld Lang Syne” to welcome the new year. It’s a tradition that has been around…well, as long as I can remember, and probably as long as most people living today can remember. That is because, on March 7, 1939, Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians recorded that song that has become such a favorite party tradition. Of course, there are a number of people who were living before 1939, and so remember a time when this song did not exist, but they are becoming fewer and fewer every year.

With all the new music out there, and the ever-changing musical styles, it’s hard to picture a song being so timeless, but there are quite a few of them in reality. Some songs just captivate us for various reasons. When you think of the religious songs, like “Amazing Grace” or “The Old Rugged Cross,” we all know them and most of us love them, because they solidity our faith…along with many others faith songs I can think of.

Of course, there are songs from every genre that have become timeless to people who like that particular genre, but “Auld Lang Syne” has not only become timeless, but it has crossed the genre barrier to become timeless to people, no matter what type of music they like best. I think that is when you can truly call a song timeless. So the next time you find yourself singing “Auld Lang Syne” at a party, remember that it is a very old son, written in 1939, and it was brought to you by Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians. Of course, if you are like many New Year’s revelers, you will probably have too much to drink to think about or even care where the song came from. All you know is that it’s traditional to sing “Auld Lang Syne” as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve.

In many ways, my nephew, Tucker Birky is a typical eleven year old boy. He loves to do all the goofy things that make those who know him laugh hysterically. There is almost nothing that is off limits when it comes to ways to make people laugh. He might eat candy in such a way as to make green lips, and the grin impishly. Hi might put something funny on, like funny glasses, a wrapping paper hat, or just a funny face, Tucker is up for it. It’s all about getting the laugh from his audience. That is Tucker…and that’s what makes everybody love Tucker. He is always happy and smiling. He does like looking good, and recently discovered what a difference a haircut can make in a guys appearance.

While Tucker is a funny guy, when it comes to his studies, he is all business. Tucker reads at the ninth grade level, even though he is only in 5th grade. Tucker is also top of his class of 30 students in piano. Tucker isn’t into sports much, but would rather play Fortnight on his Xbox, play with his dogs, or help his dad, my brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg with things in the garage or doing the chores. He likes splitting wood, and helps his mom, my sister-in-law, Rachel Schulenberg with chores too, but my guess is that he doesn’t like those as much as the ones that ate “man’s work” chores. Tucker is a candy-holic, and if they would let him, his favorite breakfast would be…you guessed it, candy. It doesn’t matter that he has braces now, if he thinks he can get away with it, he will eat candy.

Tucker has recently decided that he likes listening to music, and sometimes likes to have it turned up very loud in the car, with all the windows down. I’m not sure what the purpose of the windows being down is, but maybe so he can share his tunes with anyone in the general vicinity. Tucker loves his mom, and is learning to cook. It is something they can do together. While Tucker might not be the biggest kid in his class, he has a heart that can rival any one of them. Today is Tucker’s 11th birthday. Happy birthday Tucker!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

There is an old song, that Willie Nelson wrote in 1980, called On The Road Again, and one part of the lyrics goes like this, “The life I love is makin’ music with my friends.” That line reminds me of a story I heard about my Uncle Larry Byer. My Grandma Byer’s house was the place to be when all the kids were home. There were always kids hanging out there, and because of the varied ages of the siblings, the ages of the visiting children varied quite a bit too. The family had always loved to sing, and several among the family members played an instrument. Grandpa Byer played the mandolin and the violin. Uncle Larry played the guitar and the mandolin, as well as the piano. My dad, Allen Spencer, and Uncle George Hushman also joined in with guitar and singing. It was like a big jam session. For the kids, like my Aunt Sandy Pattan, those jam sessions were like a big party.

Uncle Larry always had a group of friends who loved to hang out at the house…among them Bobby Boatman, Caryl Sparger, and Gene Tholl. They and the rest of the gang played music and just had a good time in general. Aunt Sandy even told me that they had a machine that recorded the songs and put them on a record. They would hang blankets to make a sound room and record their own songs. I sure wish some of those old records were still around. I would love to hear my dad, grandpa, uncles, and their friends singing and making music with their friends. One of the songs that Uncle Larry used to play for Grandma…his mom…was her favorite, “Springtime in the Rockies.” Grandma loved that song, loved hearing him play and sing it. It was a song Grandpa always sang to her, so it had a very special meaning. I’m sure it was a sweet love song to her from Grandpa.

Aunt Sandy told me that when Uncle Larry went into the Army, she really missed him, like most little sisters would. She missed his joking ways, all the friends who came over, and especially, she missed those jam sessions. Nevertheless, when he came home, it wasn’t those things that Aunt Sandy was thinking about. Her big brother was home and all she could think of was to run into his arms for a great big hug. Today would have been Uncle Larry’s 83rd birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven Uncle Larry. I can’t wait to see you again, and get one of those great big hugs too. We love and miss you very much.

Crush GirlsIt all started in the late 1990s, in church. That was when two girls, my cousin, Julie Carlson Soukup and her friend, Melody Cox sang together, and found out that they had a God given musical bond. They found that Julie’s words combined with and complimented Melody’s music. Before long they had put together enough songs to record an album. In 1999, Crush Girls was born when the girls recorded their first album, Broken Dove, at Inland Sea Studios in nearby Superior, Wisconsin.

Julie and Melody knew that they had something special, but that’s not enough to grab the attention of the masses. For that you have to be extraordinary. That’s what Julie and Melody were…extraordinary. Before long Crush Girls had built a level of notoriety that allowed them to perform “some very cool gigs” as Melody would say. They played for the Governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura and his staff in a formal setting, and then the staff stayed to continue to enjoy the music around a campfire after the governor and his wife went to bed. They played during Crushthe Blue Angels Show in Duluth, Minnesota, the Harley Davidson Multiple Sclerosis Charity, and the Great American Heartwalk. They had a standing engagement as the house concert group for several months at Giant’s Ridge Golf and Ski Resort, as well as well as regular engagements around the Duluth area, including the Homegrown Festival. Their music continued to grow, and the girls recorded a couple of demos back at the Inland Sea Studios, including headlining song Candy Kisses, which became a crowd favorite.

As with most things, time stepped in and the girls’ took different paths for a time…a time which Melody called “Crush, the Dark Years.” Nevertheless, she says that Julie and their music were certainly never far from her mind. Melody missed Julie and their musical “children.” She continued to play gigs and always included songs from Crush Girls in the set list. Then, time stepped in again and the music resonated in Julie again. The girls reconnected and have been writing again, but on a deeper and more sincere level. The girls still live a few hundred miles apart…Julie in Duluth, Minnesota and Melody in Asheville, North Carolina, but Melody says that Julie will always be her heart’s twin, with the first cut of their Broken Dove album, I Begin In You as their core. She truly believes that their music will continue and will find a way, and I think determination will bring it to pass.
Crush Girls 2
I tend to agree with Melody, because I don’t think Crush Girls are over. Their latest song, Shores Evermore is the expression of the music finding a way. They are making plans to take some time to step back into the studio. As Melody says, “Much more is stirring in the Crush breeze! So stay tuned ~ more Crush songs are coming!” Having taken the time to listen to some of their songs, I can tell you that each and every one is worth waiting for. I think God certainly knew what He was doing when He joined these two musical hearts together. I hope they will indeed find a way to make more of their music, because I think a lot of people would really enjoy it if they did.

imageWhen most kids lose their teeth, they put them under their pillow for the tooth fairy to come and retrieve in exchange for money, but once in a while…things just don’t go as planned. Such was the case for my grandnephew, Ethan Hadlock. Ethan recently lost a tooth, which is perfectly normal, but not with Ethan, who was eating Mini Trix at the time. I’m sure you can guess the rest. Yes, Ethan swallowed the tooth. This is a serious problem for a kid who is expecting a visit from the tooth fairy for that tooth. Nevertheless, Ethan went to bed that night hoping the tooth fairy would understand, and in the morning, he found out that she absolutely did understand. I guess maybe Ethan isn’t the only kid to swallow a tooth…so it stands to reason that the tooth fairy would have a Plan B…just in case, because she simply couldn’t leave a child unpaid for a lost tooth, just because it got swallowed, now could she. Kids have to have a way to make money…right!!

imageEthan is in first grade this year, and the change from Kindergarten is amazing. He has really matured, which often happens as kids become seasoned students. Ethan is, of course, a part of the latest Star Wars craze. He loves almost everything about it, but please understand that Clone troopers are way cooler than storm troopers or Jedi. If you don’t know that, you aren’t with it. For Christmas, Ethan got a light Saber and other star wars stuff including star wars monopoly and star wars Disney infinity games. Those should keep him busy for a while. Ethan has taught his little sister Rory to play Monopoly, and they love to play it together. Ethan loves to be the banker, and Rory loves moving her game piece around the board. Ethan is very adept at Legos, and puts together complicated Star Wars sets in about an hour. It would take me hours!!

Ethan loves school, and is doing second grade work in reading and mathmatics. His favorite subjects are math and music. Ethan he has a best friends club at school. I used to love being a part of the clubs in school, both imagethe school oriented ones, and the ones the kids set up themselves. It’s funny that a Best Friends Club is something the kids do nowadays, because this was something my Aunt Evelyn Hushman was a part of, and everyone thought it was so cool then, and really wanted to do it too. Of course, Ethan is not all about school either. He loves to play the guitar, like his dad, Ryan Hadlock does, and like any daddy’s boy, he wants to go duck hunting with his dad. As with any family with more than one male, and sometimes even the females, there must be battles. In the Hadlock household…it’s nerf battles. These battles happen randomly, but there is a battle at least once a month. If you are at the Hadlock house, watch out for flying nerf balls. Today is Ethan’s 7th birthday. Happy birthday Ethan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

CaalabMy dear grandson, Caalab, today marks the beginning of a completely new life for you. Your graduation is just the first step into that life. You are no longer a child, but a high school graduate. Your hard work has paid off, and all the requirements for graduation have been met. Your public school career is over now, and your future is up to you. That is hard for me to believe, because to me you will always be that little boy who was so quick to smile, and always had some new joke to tell or a new trick to show me. While the joking and trickery continue to this day, the little boy is gone, and before me now stands a man, strong and tall, with a heart of gold. I love the man you have become. You are so caring. You give thought to those around you, and you always try to please others. You think of others long before you think of yourself…a good trait in many ways. Still, I miss that little boy that you were…the one who always had his hand in my hair. I will always have that picture of you in my memory files…twisting my hair or batting it, but never pulling it, because you were always careful not to hurt me.

It is a long road from pre-school to high school graduation, and that makes it extra special. When you started Caalab playing his guitaryour school career, it seemed like it would be a long time before graduation, but in reality, the time slips by so quickly. Now, all those years are behind you, and you are looking toward a whole new life. Your journey is going to take you far away, and that is really hard for me, but I know that this is your dream career. Music has been your life for as long as I can remember, and yet it was a bit of a surprise to hear that you want to build guitars. It shouldn’t have been I suppose. It really was the next logical step, and I know that you will be great at it. Still, you are leaving and you won’t be able to come home for a weekend here and there. The next time I see you, you will be changed in many ways. You will have spent time in a bigger city, and broadened your horizons. Your life journey will be much different than what I had expected, but that is because your dreams are uniquely yours…and no one else’s. You have to follow your heart and live your dreams…you have to be true to yourself, and be who you were born to be. And I know that you will be very successful at it, because you are an amazing young man.

When it comes to my babies, my heart just can’t seem to understand the whole saying goodbye thing, and that makes this so very hard. Nevertheless, I would ever want to hold you back. You will go forward and you will be Caalab Rolles Roycesuccessful at all you do, wherever life takes you. Still, I want you to always remember where you came from. Remember the good moral values you have been taught, and always keep God first place in your life, because it was God who made you and gave you the skills you have. As you go through life, you will come to realize more and more that every skill you have came from Him to make you into the wonderful man you have become. I know that your new life will be filled with excitement and interesting new things, so all I can ask is that you remember to call your grandparents once in a while, because we will miss you very much, so don’t forget the way home. Words cannot fully express just how proud we are of you. We love you so much. Congratulations on your high school graduation, my dear grandson, Caalab. Way to go!!

Rockin' Out at The Shooting RangeMy niece, Jenny and her husband, Steve like to go to the shooting range and shoot their guns with their boys, Xander, Zack, and Isaac. Jenny and Steve also have a little daughter, Aleesia, who is still a baby. Obviously, Aleesia is too young to shoot a gun, but that doesn’t mean she can’t go along to watch the action. Aleesia doesn’t like being left out of the action. In fact, she thinks that everything they do is interesting. She loves watching her brothers, and all their activities. And they love making her smile, so leaving her out of this activity just wouldn’t be fair.

A couple of days ago, Aleesia got her first chance to go to the shooting range with her family. Of course, Jenny and Steve take all the normal precautions to protect their children, including earmuffs to protect their hearing. Aleesia is big enough now to wear the earmuffs, but they are very big on her. They remind me of the old style headphones, and Aleesia, being the happy baby that she is didn’t mind the earmuffs at all. In fact, she thought they were pretty cool!!

I’m sure that for Aleesia, everything sounded very different, and even funny. Because if the muffled noises sound to her like they do to me, it is pretty funny. It kind of sounds like echoes, and who knows what it would sound like to a baby…maybe music. I suppose it could be, and maybe that is what was making her so happy, or maybe she just thought everything sounded weird, so she was smiling. Another possibility is that she just thought it was a funny hat. She is used to headbands, and really likes the way they make her feel girly. And feeling girly in the middle of a shooting range might be difficult for a girly girl.

I know that Aleesia will grow up knowing how to shoot, and how to be safe at it. Her Steve shootingmommy and daddy will make sure of that. It’s something they plan to pass down to all of their children. They will know how to handle all sorts of guns, and they will know that every single life is valuable and precious. I am very proud of what Jenny and Steve are teaching the kids. They are great parents.

As to Aleesia, I’m sure everyone will have their own opinion on just what she was thinking. My personal opinion is that she thought everything she was hearing sounded just like music…or maybe a drum beat. As for me…I think she liked the way it all sounded, and she was just rockin’ out at the shooting range.

Travis at a remoteMy son-in-law, Travis has always loved the world of music and radio. He is totally in his element when he is hamming it up on the radio, or at remotes that he is working. He has such a quick wit, that few people can keep up with his ability to ad lib. I suppose you could say that it is a talent born of necessity. When you are on the radio, you are basically talking to yourself for and hour or more at a time. Sure, you are talking to the audience, but they are not adding to the conversation, so you are still talking to yourself. You are then responsible to the joke and the punch line. Sure, sometimes he has a partner on air, but most of the time he doesn’t. And I’m sure that many people think that he is maybe reading a script, and I can’t say for sure that he isn’t sometimes, but being around him, off air, I can tell you that his personality…at least in the joking area, is very much like his personality on air. He is a natural comedian. I guess that is what makes him such a natural on the radio. Travis has worked at several other jobs, but none that fit him so totally, like the radio has.

Travis’ taste in music is maybe different than many people would expect of someone his age. He has always liked Rock, which is not so unusual, but for someone his age to like Blues is a bit unusual. And then, there is the fact that his all time favorite musician is Bob Marley. I have listened to a little bit of Bob Marley’s music, but as a girl who likes Gospel and Country, I guess I probably just don’t get Bob Marley’s style. And as to Blues, I never really got into that or Jazz. Travis and I can agree on Jazz, and on Opera… we both hate those!! Now if I find that I am wrong on that one, and Travis doesn’t mind, or even likes Opera…well, I’ll totally pass out.

More recently, Travis, and my daughter, Amy have found a new hobby. They discovered that they have a real interest in…wine making. I was a little surprised about that one, but my dad always liked making wine too, so I know it is fun. Some friends of theirs introduced Travis making winethem to the process of wine making a while back and each week they get together and work on new flavors and recipes. Amy and Travis haven’t had the opportunity to taste their own wine yet, and I’m quite sure the waiting isn’t easy, but wine making is not something that can be rushed. So for now they will have to be patient, and content to work on their different flavor ideas, until the day arrives when they will be able to try their creations. They have come up with so may different flavors. Flavors like  Peach, Strawberry Orange, Asian Pear, Blackberry, and Plum, are among those wine flavors they will be trying, whenever they are ready to drink. Today is Travis’ birthday. Happy birthday Travis!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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