Joy No. 44: A new word and an amazing event

A murmuration of starlings.

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Joy No. 26: Music from a tree

I love re-purposing things. This summer, we made tin cans into table lanterns, paper plates into wind streamers, cool packing paper into wall decor … you get the idea.

But this evening I heard about someone who takes re-purposing to a whole new level. Diego Stocco, a composer and sound designer, creates music using trees. And sand. And a dry-cleaning shop. It’s really worth a listen. It will make you smile.

Read the story and listen to the NPR podcast of “The Mad Musical Scientist of Burbank, Calif.”

Bonus: Stocco plays a bonsai tree on YouTube!

Joy No. 11: Getting reintroduced to an old passion

The little guy tickles the ivories

After a day filled with excitement — first solo bus ride, first day of kindergarten, first hot lunch, first music class, snacks, recesses, a movie and then falling asleep on the bus ride home (“They’re waking him up,” explained the knowing bus driver. “This isn’t unusual.”) — our son wanted to ride bikes with me around the yard and then, after a snack, to take turns playing the dusty piano.

This is the only time I play the piano these days: when, after pounding out some pretty powerful but appealing dissonance, he tells me, “Your turn.” I take to the bench, open the hymnal or whatever book happens to be around and dive in, no longer remembering the  thousands of hours I spent striving for perfection, no longer keeping track of missed notes or flat phrasing; just experiencing the pure joy of creating music. Thank you, little one.

Joy No. 6: An amazing song

My little buddy and I spent 2 1/2 hours in the car this early evening trying to get home from a place that should only be 50 minutes away and is only 50 minutes away when we visit in the late morning.

But this was the late-afternoon rush, and we were in trouble. Soon we were parked on the highway. Then we were parked in a tunnel (shudder). We were just about to merge onto a high bridge, where I could see that we would be parked for a long, long time (double shudder), so I made a last-ditch change to our destination. Re-rerouted, I called my husband and said, “We’re headed south.”

Long story short, we drove southward till we could connect with a less-jammed highway that would take us back north. It was a long drive, but my buddy was a trooper — in part because I had actually remembered to bring some new music.

The audio post below features “Hardliners” by Holcombe Waller, the runaway best song of the afternoon and, for that matter, the summer. Whether you think of the voice speaking to you as friend, lover, parent or God, I think you’ll see why this is a joy-inducing song. Special bonus: HW is from Portland. Enjoy!