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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Courage

I have three close friends with painful, debilitating and potentially fatal diseases.  One has suffered for many years; the two others were recently afflicted.


We all get together several times a year.  They usually exhaust me.


This is a group that gets up slowly and eases into the day.  Meds need to kick in.  Rooms stay dark and the house is quiet.  But just for a while.


I consider myself a go-ahead girl - pretty brave when things are tough and willing to work through the challenges that face me.


I am truly a light-weight in the company of these remarkable friends.


We have never come to visit when there has not been a houseful of guests: college roommates, widows, friends down on their luck, and other fortunate freeloaders there for a good time.


Once the day gets rolling, our hosts work-out, attend charity board meetings, help friends during the day, take in stray pets.  We shop and cook together and have an army for dinner every night.  We screech with laughter, stay up late, reminisce, and celebrate life together with unbridled joy.


The atmosphere is filled with light and love.  We carry on with jubilation for days at a time.  And there is never a mention of pain, or illness . . . or fear.  No complaints.  No limitations.


It’s just in those early morning hours when the house is still that one can sense the silent suffering.  A few hours at the start of the day when disease is in charge.  I feel so helpless.  There is nothing I can do to make it better.


Other than pick up some strawberries and the fish for diner and call the neighbors to see how many will join us this evening.  Send Tony out for some nice red wine.  And be there to share the laughter.


I get to go home pain free.  They don’t.  They just keep on keepin’ on.


That is courage.


God bless you, my dears.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

EASTERN SHORE RESIDENT WINS 2012 INDIVIDUAL ARTIST AWARD FROM MARYLAND STATE ARTS COUNCIL

Easton, MD (February 21, 2012) – The Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC), an agency of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, has recognized jazz vocalist Erin Dickins from Talbot County for creating work of exceptional quality. Ms. Dickins has been awarded the 2012 Individual Artist Award for Non-Classical Music Solo Performance for her CD, Nice Girls (Champagne Records) recorded in New York and Los Angeles and produced by Jesse Frederick.  Ms. Dickins is a longtime resident of Easton and a founding member of the jazz vocal group, Manhattan Transfer.

“Artists of this high caliber are the core of Maryland's modern creative economy,” said Hannah Byron, Assistant Secretary, Department of Tourism, Film and the Arts, “their work is essential to the arts, which generate a billion dollars a year in Maryland and improve our quality of life across the board.”

Administered by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the MSAC's highly competitive Individual Artists Award (IAA) Program recognizes the unique contribution made by artists to the cultural vitality of Maryland. An out-of-state jury reviews submissions anonymously and recommends awards for Maryland artists.

The IAA Program reviews 18 artistic disciplines, which are separated into 3 competition groups that are awarded on a triennial basis. 2012 award categories include playwriting, crafts, photography, non-classical music composition, and non-classical music solo performance. Approximately one-third of the awards were made in the photography category, which also received the most submissions this year.

“I an extremely honored to have been selected among this year’s winners,” said Dickins. “It is a great source of encouragement to receive such recognition.”

Dickins will begin a European tour in April, and is planning concert dates in Asia later this year. For more information visit: www.ErinDickins.com

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Do You Know Who Your Friends Are?


For me writing a blog is about learning. Writing brings to light the things that are of my essense, things that make me tick. And writing also helps me to understand what it is that I can do to best contribute to the good of the order, so to speak. I wish I'd started writing earlier.


In recent years, a source of great delight for me has been that I now can clearly see brilliance in my friends. Thanks to FaceBook and the internet in general, I have had the good fortune to re-connect with many extraordinary old friends from early childhood, school and college and in the music biz. And witnessing them as fully self-realized adults (sorry I missed so many years of the process) is a revelation.


My years in New York, when I was young and impressionable, were a hell of a lot of fun.  As studio musicians, we were at the center of the music industry universe. We worked hard to be the best.  As personalities, we filled the spectrum. Some of us paralyzed by self-doubt. A few self-destructive.  Some confused by having such power at an early age.  Many just grooving along on the wonderful journey. We were surrounded by great genius and madness. Love and competitiveness. And fantastic creativity.


Imagine. I worked on a daily basis with the likes of players like Will Lee, Gordon Edwards, Steve Gadd, Chris Parker, Marvin Stamm, Jon Faddis, Randy Becker, Sid McGinnis, Steve Khan, Rob Mounsey, Tom Malone and a zillion others. Really?


And singers like Patti Austin, Valerie Simpson, Luther Vandross, Daryl Hall, Gordon Grody, Irene Cara, Melissa Manchester.

These were all well-known names in the business and their extraordinary level of excellence was taken for granted. As was the fact that this was a bunch of bright, well-educated, articulate and funny 20-somethings, experiencing success at a level most cannot hope to achieve in a lifetime. And I am only considering a handful of the musicians. There were literally hundreds of writers, producers, arrangers, engineers and assistants who were just as talented. And nobody outside the industry even knew their names.


So what are they like now? Even better. Powerful, centered, wise and still funny. 


There was a young assistant engineer in the 70’s of whom we were all quite fond. A kid named Glenn Berger, with a shock of red hair and super dedication to his work. I found him a couple of years ago on FaceBook He is now a psycho-therapist and author, and still a super cool, wonderful person. Glenn’s most recent blog post is just about the best thing I have ever read.


I have attached a link for you to enjoy his work. It’s about recording with Mick Jagger, babies and life. Bravo, Glenn. You ROCK!


Boy, it’s really fun to be a grown-up.