By Chuck Wiser, I write the words to share what my eyes see and my heart feels
Kind of ironic but last week I did a segment in my Wramblings where I discussed the location and/or the placement of road construction flag people. Yesterday on my weekly Wednesday Walmart sojourn I had another episode with flaggers on County Rte. 31. As we approached the actual work zone, a couple of miles past the sign signaling that there was a flag person ahead, we didn’t see any flag people ahead but as we observed the work truck on the side of the road, we saw a hand come out the window, and kind of wiggled at us in a “come on ahead” gesture. Good thing we did too as the mower/trimmer was right there around the bend far enough out into our lane that we had to pull over into the other lane to get around. We laughed at that, and my wife commented that I could add that to my next column. She doesn’t read my columns, but in her own passive way seems to have accepted, and endorsed, them. The flagging story is not flagging in content, so I continue.
On our way back from Olean, on the same Rte. 31, as we approached the flagging truck from behind, we couldn’t see the hand wiggling out of the window of the truck. “No wonder!” we exclaimed as we passed by, you could see the flag person in the truck with his phone held up as he was texting or doing something on the phone.
Note the gender neutrality as I discuss the “person” flagging in their duty.
Following the Genesee Valley Chorus (GVC) birthday sing out at Eden Heights last Saturday I was asked if the chorus would be interested in performing a Christmas sing out for them this year. Upon sharing a note of gratefulness from the daughter of the Birthday recipient on Facebook, I received two more inquiries as to availability of the chorus to perform a Christmas sing out at two additional Nursing/Assisted Living homes. This request has been conveyed to the GVC.
Following is an excerpt from a message sent to me by the daughter of Polly (Weart) Lucas, the recipient of the recent 98th Birthday celebration by the Genesee Valley Chorus.
“Sorry to bother u again.. but I just wanted to let u know that I have had numerous calls from my Mom since you were there on Saturday and she is still riding the high!! She was so overwhelmed with joy… and everyone both residents and staff have commented to her all weekend how much they enjoyed the music.. how it brightened their entire weekend, brought life to the entire facility, put smiles on everyone’s faces, they haven’t heard such beautiful music, they loved hearing the music they all knew and recognized, I can’t even remember all of the compliments she has received. So not only was it the highlight of Mom’s year apparently it brightened the whole place up!!! So … please express my thanks to everyone who took the time out of their day and weekend to go over. She has been on cloud nine all weekend and I suspect will be for quite a while. I know it took time and effort on your part to put it all together and it was truly an incredible blessing to not only Mom but all the residents and staff”
As a former member of the Olean Mixed A Cappella Chorus, and current member of the Maple City Barbershop Chorus, out of Hornell, NY, I had previously participated in similar such events around the Allegany, Cattaraugus, and Steuben County areas. It’s a little easier for the Barbershop Groups to perform this type of “public service” activity due to the nature of the arrangement of the music, the number of singers required to perform on short notice, and the overall logistics. As a performer with both Mixed SATB (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass) and Barbershop Choruses, my recent experience with the GVC sing out was that there was a slight difference in the energy level of the audience in its response to the larger, “brighter sounding,” SATB Chorus, albeit not all singing Christmas songs. Regardless of which group of singers perform, the sing outs are always enthusiastically received and appreciated. The secondary “Joy” is achieved in the hearts and minds of the chorus members that give of their time, both in practice and preparation, and in traveling for the performances, as they watch the expressions and beaming faces in the audience.
On a related thought line, I wondered if there would be interest in the development of a special, seasonal, community SATB group whose primary objective would be perform Christmas sing outs, specifically at these local “Care Facilities.” This would only require an ensemble, or smaller more flexible and versatile group of people, which would rehearse starting in November and singing out at local “care facilities”, through, and ending after, the Christmas Holiday season. Since most of the music would be ‘traditional,” popular, Christmas season music, less learning and practice would be required and singing could be from “booklets” and sight read, as opposed to, memorized, and sung sans music books.
If you think this would be a good idea, and would be interested, suggest it to someone who could/would direct it, and have them contact me. That sounds like an odd request, but I can’t lead such a group, and that person would be key to being able to do this.
This Saturday at 1:00 PM at the First Presbyterian Church, 19 North Main Street, in Portville, NY there will be a Celebration of Life for Dave (David C.) Dunbar, former vocal music director at Portville Central School. I had written a piece a few months ago following his passing. Dave was a great friend to me, and to the world of music, as a whole. There will be a few notes missing in many chords from now on. Locally, Dave had directed the Genesee Valley Chorus for several years in the early 80’s. Upon leaving there, he, alongside his wife Peg Dunbar, founded the Keynote Chorus in Portville. Dave and I had composed several High School and Church Choir musical arrangements which were performed in many local schools and churches. The “formalities will be at 1:00 PM with a social time to share following.
Here is a link to the Celebration notice: https://www.facebook.com/events/5568400216528457/
I guess this next is apolitical, as I do attempt to avoid presenting the “side” I lean toward. I do have a world news perspective theory that I would like to share. As I have mentioned previously, perhaps ad nauseum, I am a voracious reader, and one venue is action spy/terrorist fighters. The theory I will mention has been offered “generically” before, but usually somehow involves Russia or Middle East terrorist factions. The Crimean Bridge damage has been credited somewhat to Ukrainian activities; however, they have been pretty much “mum” on the event, not openly taking credit for it. Russia used this explosion, to justify sending missiles into Ukraine causing severe damage, and producing a significant loss of civilian lives. Ironically the explosion only damaged a portion of the bridge instead of destroying it completely. Traffic is still able to flow.
My terrorist intrigue theory is that Russia themselves caused the explosion, giving them an excuse and justification to up the ante and send more aggressive bombardments into Ukraine. This has been a common “strategy” employed in the “plots” of several of the “fiction” novels I read.
I often wonder which is the chicken and which is the egg? Are the “clandestine” activities we read about and see in movies actually “pure fiction” or do they actually occur, unreported or covered up with the interests of national security and, or an effort to dampen negative public opinion?
Yesterday prior to my trip to Olean I travelled west on County Rte, 31 to its intersection with 31A on what Friendship old timers call “East Hill.” On local maps the road is referred to as either Corbin Hill Road or Middaugh Hill Road, I can’t recall which, as they are both on “East Hill”😉. The East Hill Road is a North-South Road on top of the hill, that winds its way toward Inavale. It is just before the Friendship Rod and Gun Club as you are headed east. I took several pictures of the foliage. It is still very colorful but gone on the down hill (one of them) side of its peak. As I moved from spot to spot, stopping to take pictures along the way, I was ever vigilant, watching for, and hoping for an Eagle. None to be seen. Upon completing my foliage photo mission, I returned home, picked up my wife, and headed to Olean. Guess what I saw soaring high above the hills at the same location as one of the sites I had visited for my pictures. Yep! There was the Eagle, soaring above, and no camera in the car.
Many Facebook people marvel at the photographs posted on Facebook, and individually published on a regular basis elsewhere, by photographers Craig Braack, Dan Jordan, and John Kucko. I have used many of their photos to adorn my poems. Saves me a lot of writing, as, an old “sage” once said; “A picture is worth a thousand words.” My Kodak Brownie can’t match their quality.
In memory of Dave Dunbar, who I mentioned above, I have used the picture of one of our songs as my Facebook profile picture, and which is shown above in place of my individual face photo.
The lyric from the song Share My Dream, was only partially written by me. It is special to me for a number of reasons, and particularly because I was called into its writing mid-stream after Dave and Peg had already started writing it. They were creating a song for their (and other) high school chorus. It does exactly as the name implies. I guess they got “writer’s block” and needed more words from a wordy self-proclaimed poet. This is the only collaboratively published song that was not generated as a result of a poem originally written completely by me, but is probably the most notable and memorable, popular in numerous high schools, and we did it together as a team.