Celebrate the New Year with music and laughter…


mms-Get Your Happy On

 

“Life is a jest of the gods, Merlin liked to claim, and there is no justice. You must learn to laugh, he once told me, or else you’ll just weep yourself to death.” – Spoken by a young King Arthur  in The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell

Recently, I was at the home of a relative, and as she was loading the dishwasher after an excellent holiday meal she had prepared, we were all standing about telling jokes. Obviously, the banter was lost on her, as she admitted, “I don’t remember the last time I laughed. I think I’ve forgotten how to.”

I felt truly sad for this person I love. It has been a difficult year for her, struggling with family issues and an ailing parent.  If I could have made her gaffaw and cackle at that moment, it would have indeed been a wonderful and welcome gift.

Laughter, while often not easy to come by, is the equivalent of grabbing a breath of air after being plunged underwater.  The rich, deep breath encouraged by laughter whisks oxygen enriched blood and nutrients throughout the body.

“Laughter can be a great workout for your diaphragm, abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles. It massages abdominal organs, tones intestinal functioning, and strengthens the muscles that hold the abdominal organs in place.” says helpguide.org. ” Not only does laughter give your midsection a workout, it can benefit digestion and absorption functioning as well. It is estimated that hearty laughter can burn calories equivalent to several minutes on the rowing machine or the exercise bike. “

There’s been alot of stuff to deal with this year. The gas crisis, the mucky economy, the dishonesty of public officials, job losses, rising prices and plunging home values are just a few of the seemingly endless parade of bad news items making headlines.

Instead of indulging in another bout of CNN, try substituting a silly sitcom. Belive me, the news will be repeated in full with enhanced boxes and more information that we need to know in the next 30 minutes.  Take a break from news and information today and let your mind and body be massaged by the sweet gift of laughter.

Boxing Day


boxing day

Practicing the Law of Giving is actually very simple. If you want joy, give joy to others; if you want love, learn to give love; if you want attention and appreciation, learn to give attention and appreciation. ~ Deepak Chopra

The celebration of Boxing Day has a long, rich and varied history. As a common point, the day involved the gift of a bonus of some sort to employees. In an English manor house, servants worked on Christmas Day, but were permitted to “box” up the leftovers from Christmas and carry them home to their families. No doubt this fine food was a welcome bonus to the mundane meals to which  the servant class was accustomed. Boxing also refers to servants  bringing a box to work the day after Christmas to be filled by the employer with coins and gifts.

For laborers and apprenticies of artisan shops, the day meant the smashing of the Christmas Box, a clay vessel in which coins had been deposited over a period of time by visitors, customers and the master of the shop. The Christmas Box was broken and the coins divided among the shop workers. This was considered a year end bonus and kept the master of the shop from the prickly chore of doling out performance based bonuses.

In feudal times, the serfs would gather in the manor house the day after Christmas and the manor lord would distribute boxes of useful goods to them.  The lord was obliged to gift the people who worked his land a bonus of cloth, grain and tools.  Churches also took part in Boxing Day, opening their alms box and distributing the contents to the poor.

A bonus is a wonderful thing. It’s a way to express appreciation, warmth and well wishes during the last week of the year.  But bonuses are not confined to monetary gifts or presents.  A bonus carries meaning beyond symbols.  Dole out bonuses liberally between now and the new year.  A bonus can mean a plate of cookies for your neighbor, a note card telling your agent how much you appreciate their hard work and effort or the offer to give the kid next door who got his first guitar a free lesson or two.  A bonus can make someone’s year complete. Remember: to receive joy- spread joy. To acquire appreciation – show it. To garner the best- give it.

A fair and glorious gift….


MMS

Music is a fair and glorious gift of God proclaims Ecclesiastes and no other time holds the gift of music as Christmas. Carols, choirs, children’s voices all remind us we as musical people are blessed with a true and innate gift of spirit. As we fully enter the holiday season, it’s important to recognize and respect how different cultures celebrate the closing of the year.

This season is built around ancient celebrations of the winter solstice which falls on or about December 21. Before the birth of Christ, the Roman Empire already celebrated December 25 as the birthday of various pagan gods. Most of our symbols of Christmas are of pagan origin. And pagans, of course, are closely tied to the earth, our primary source, our first father and mother and teacher.

Nature makes its way indoors at Christmas as we bring Christmas trees, poinsettas, and holly into our homes. We light fires and burn Yule logs, which is a traditional Scandanavian ritual. In ancient times,  after 5 weeks of darkness, scouts were sent to the mountaintop to look for sunlight. When the light was discovered peeking over the mountain, the scouts would return to their homes to burn a Yule log and spread the joyous news that light had returned to the earth.

The birth of Christ, the enlightenment of Buddha, the numerous sun celebrations of ancient Rome and Ireland, Judas Maccabee’s miracle of eight days of continuous fire without enough oil to sustain the lamp, all symbolize the entrance of light and hope into the world after a time of darkness.

Create your own light this holiday season. Mark the month with your gift of music to others. Sing in the choir, offer your services as a musician to a church or synagogue or non profit organization. Learn a few carols and play at a school for children. Be aware of spreading good cheer as you entertain at holiday parties and functions. Try to remove yourself from the commercial concept of Christmas and focus on bringing the light, love energy and joy of your musical gifts to a weary world. “Look at the faces in the dancehall at the moment the music strikes up,” says Herman Hesse in Steppenwolf, “how eyes sparkle and faces begin to laugh. That is why one makes music.”

Yes, Virginia…..


MMS Christmas Unto Us

 

“Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.”- 1897 THE SUN NEWS in Chicago

Love, generosity and devotion are powerful gifts to give and receive. As performers, we are indeed blessed by this mighty triumvirate. By giving love in the form of music, we are blessed mightily by those who enjoy it. By generously giving of ourselves, our thoughts, our talents, our gift, we receive the warmth and gratitude of those who attend shows and buy our cds and tee shirts. By being devoted to and paying attention to our innate gifts of spirit, we create communities of fans, friends and family, all happily involved in our quest to spread the joy of music and performance.

Our highest joy and beauty, our most wonderful gifts are not confined to boxes with bows. Our most precious possessions are not things. Love, joy, beauty, friendship, camaraderie, passion, and creativity are the musician’s true and perfect treasures. Allow Christmas, with all its sweetness, to be part of your daily life. Believe in the magic of Christmas every day of the year.

Roland graduated from Berklee with a BA in Music Production!


MMSROLAND

Roland graduated from the Berklee College Of Music in Boston, MA with a Bachelor in Music Production & Engineering/Electronic Production. He has been playing and performing the drums since the early 2000’s, and continues to perform regularly in the NYC area. On piano, Roland began by teaching himself, than continued his studies while at Berklee College, taking piano, music theory, and songwriting courses. He’s been teaching since 2008, and offers pop, rock, blues, jazz, funk, fusion, gospel, hip-hop, electronic, and Latin styles.

Meet our new instructor Shannon in Pensacola Florida


MMS-ShannonC

Shannon attended Pensacola Christian Academy in Pensacola, FL for 3 years as a music major, than switched in her final year for a degree in Education and a music minor. During her years at the college, her courses included music theory, hymn playing, voice and piano lessons, brass and percussion, conducting, music philosophy, student teaching for private lessons and in a classroom setting, as well as performing in the choirs and ensembles. Shannon has been teaching since 2004, and offers classical, traditional, sacred music, and hymns, as well as most contemporary styles.

Our instructor Melanie has completed studies in vocal pathologies….


MMSMelanieW

Melanie holds a Bachelor in Music Education with a Voice Primary, from the Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ, graduating in 2004. She also completed additional studies in the diagnosis and correction of vocal pathologies, the study of vocal disease. Melanie began her involvement in music at the age of nine, beginning with private piano training, that quickly led to singing in choral ensembles in school. During high school, she performed in musicals, conducted high school choirs, performed at church, weddings, and funerals, and began teaching ear training and sight singing. She was chosen for the NH Concert and Jazz All State choir. During college, Melanie sang at the Lincoln Center with Westminster Choir College Chorale, and began teaching in 2004 for private lessons as well as chorus, music theory, general music, guitar, and piano in both public and private schools. Her styles include classical, Broadway, jazz, pop, gospel, country, and folk.

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