Smile, it’s contagious

African Djembe Player

Seny Daffe from Guinea teaches African drumming at the Zenbarn Studio in Waterbury, VT.

When my mom was alive. She’d come to see some of my shows. She’d sit in the audience, clap loudly, tap her foot and let everyone around her know that her daughter was the one playing fiddle on stage. She’d watch me with a big-ass grin on her face. It didn’t matter what I played or whether I played well or not, I could tell she was proud of me.

There was however, one critique she always gave me. Every show she went to she’d say “Trina, you need to smile more.”

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Making music to comfort the dead

Today is a very sad day. In the town I live in, a 3-year-old boy named Parker Berry passed away after being lost at daycare and found drowned in a local brook. Though I don’t know the whole story or the little boy, this hits close to home as it happened in my little town.

Living with the loss of my mother, I can’t even imagine what it is like to lose your own child. It’s not the natural process. My heart goes out to the family for this unspeakable loss. It also goes out to the daycare who was in charge of taking care of the child and who I’m sure is also feeling a loss beyond words. This is truly a tragedy.

Some believe that it take three days for the soul to move on and music can help in the passing. So today, as I play some tunes at a book fair in Richmond, I will dedicate our performance to this little boy and his family.

In the meantime, I dedicate this song to you, Parker. May you rest in peace and may your journey be safe and filled with love.

Ode to my mom

Carole Quarrrington

Carole A. Quarrington
3/24/44-6/15/11

Today would have been my mother’s 71st birthday. She passed 4 years ago and not a day goes by that I don’t miss her.

Though she never played any instruments, I remember my childhood being filled with music. She’d listen to broadway shows, the Carpenters, Simon and Garfunkel, Cat Stevens, the Moody Blues and she absolutely loved Phil Collins. All a far cry from Irish music but music nonetheless.

My fondest memories of my mother include the time she was driving through town in her 300ZX with the T-roofs off blaring Don’t Worry Be Happy and singing along at the top of her lungs. I have to admit at the time I was hoping she’d be blaring The Rolling Stones or Aerosmith and so I could really impress my friends.

I also remember the time I auditioned for The Boston Conservatory of Music without an ounce of musical training. When I got my rejection letter in the mail my mom marched straight into the Dean’s office with steam coming out of her ears. You could hear her in the hallway as she screamed at them wondering how I was supposed to learn music if they wouldn’t let me in.

My fondest memory of all is the 4th of July. For as many years as I can remember, we spent the 4th of July on the esplanade in Boston awaiting the fireworks and the Boston Pops to play Stars and Stripes Forever (which she dubbed as The Duck Song). We’d sit there all day, my mom and friends would picnic, chat, and drink wine while my sister and I would roller skate around the hatch shell until the moment the fireworks went off. We’d all get together and sing as loud as we can “for a duck maybe somebody’s mother…”

So although it’s been hard living without my mother for the past 4 years, today I don’t want to be sad. Today I want to celebrate her birthday and honor her for bringing music into my life the only way she knew how.

I love you and miss you mom. Happy Birthday. This one is for you:

How practicing is like training for the olympics

by Katrina VanTyne

olympicsI love watching the Olympics. It doesn’t matter who wins the gold, it always brings tears to my eyes when an athlete gets awarded their medal on the podium.

Though I can’t claim to be anything close to an Olympic athlete (though I did mountain bike race in my youth),  I can attest to knowing what goes into the training it takes to be good at something you love.

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Tunes in The Tap Room

I believe music is magical. It can improve your health, your mood, your life. It can express deep emotions. It can make you feel good playing it and it can make someone else feel good listening to it. But can it make beer taste good? We think so.

This week we had the opportunity to play at my friend’s new brewery, Four Quarters Brewing. We weren’t playing for the public though, we were practicing “in the tap room” just for fun while they brewed their Irish Red ale. I’m not sure our music will make the beer actually taste better, what they brewed already tasted pretty darn good, but it sure brought a festive feel to the brewing process and we’re hoping some of our Irish-ness dripped off into the mix.

Here are some photos from the evening:

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6 Ways playing music is good for your health

playing music

credit: freedigitalphotos.net

If your New Year’s resolution includes taking better care of your health, one way to stick to it is to play more music. I’m no doctor, and I don’t play one on TV, but research shows there are health benefits to being a musician. And don’t worry, you don’t have to be a professional to reap the benefits.

Recently, at my job, we launched a wellness contest to help encourage people to get on the path to wellness. When I think of wellness for some reason I think of exercise and losing weight. But wellness is much more than that. It’s about being healthy in mind, body and spirit. And what better way to accomplish that but with music. Here is a list of how playing music is good for your health:

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