Our Musical Adventure in Prague!

One year ago my husband and I embarked on a trip of a lifetime. The trip took us to an unexpected layover in Frankfurt, then on to Prague, Helsinki and Vienna. Singing with the Berkshire Choral International in Prague, we began learning the score of Dvorak’s Stabat Mater and later practiced with CDs, sometimes filling our house with music for hours daily.

We allowed a few extra days for sightseeing in Prague before the Berkshire week commenced with about 5 hours of singing daily. Choristers from 7 countries numbered 163. Added were apprentices, faculty and native Czech singers so our ranks swelled to more than 175. The Bohemian Symphony Orchestra accompanied us and had some 80 members. Additionally, we had 4 wonderful soloists. Maestro Heinz Ferlesch of Vienna, Austria conducted us daily.

The venue for the August 10, 2019 performance was the Zofin Palace and where Dvorak also performed his Stabat Mater. It was a stellar venue and elegant inside with chandeliers hanging from ornate ceilings. It just doesn’t get any better than this! Music forges bonds between people and countries.

The photos will speak for themselves. Music still swirls in our heads, and the memories remain forever etched in our hearts and minds.

Posted in Antonin Dvorak, Czech Republic, Maestro Heinz Ferlesch, Stabat Mater, Zofin Palace | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Summer’s Beauty

Behold our garden!
Radiating warmth and peace.
Vacation time now!

Author’s note: Wherever you may be this summer, enjoy your vacations and take time to smell the roses. Let this haiku poem accompany you on your journey. Back in August!

Posted in summer haiku, vacation time | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Making Lists


Endless details for the list.
Who said packing was pure bliss?
Travel items – please assist!
Music folders, scores, a gift.
Practice singing I insist!
Adapter plugs, not to miss!
Have to enlist an assist!
My goodness – what a checklist!

Today I tried my hand at a Welsh form of poetry called the cyrch a chwta (kirch-a-chóo-tah ) The basic guidelines consist of the following:

-octave or eight line stanzas
-seven syllables per line
-lines 1-6 and 8 share the same end rhyme
-line 7 cross rhymes with line 8 (internally) on either the third, fourth, or fifth syllable
Hint: picking a versatile end rhyme that can carry seven or eight lines is the key to this form.

Posted in cyrch a chwta (Welsh), packing suitcases, passports, Welsh form of poetry | Tagged , , , , , | 22 Comments

In Praise and Gratitude

For eyes that see and ears that hear,
For family and friends far and near,

I sing praises and blow a kiss.
Permit me to reminisce:

For countless hours of practice, I am
grateful to sing in choral groups.

Shakespeare wrote that the eyes
are the window to your soul.

For the eyes that have seen the
beauty of nature, I am thankful.

For hugs that show affection and
handshakes with a light squeeze,

I offer thanks and praise. Grateful for the
wonder and power of music.

For parents who taught us and
children who learned from us,

Thank you for the privilege.
For it is in hearing, seeing and

understanding that we are who
we are. The little Brownie in

Massachusetts carrying the flag in
the parade. Thank you for God and country.

Thank you for traveling to other
countries. It is thus that I am grateful for home.

Posted in gratitude, Massachusetts, music, praise, Shakespeare | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Mr. Rabbit Pays a Visit


In the garden corner, perches on hind
legs; unmoving, watchful – what a find!
Husband on front porch, phone now inclined,
quietly takes photo unassigned.
Poised to hop at slightest noise or movement;
proves it can be sly; rabbit has dined.



Today’s poetic form is called: hir a thoddaid. It is a Welsh poetic form consisting of 6 lines. Lines 1-4 and 6 have nine syllables and share the same end rhyme. Line 5 has ten syllables. There is also a “b” rhyme somewhere near the end of the fifth line and beginning of the sixth line.


Posted in garden visitor, hir a thoddaid Welsh poetic form, hungry rabbit | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Chuckling at My End of the Pond

My Dad subscribed to the “screwdriver method”
of removing dandelions. As a retiree caring for
his Kentucky blue grass lawn in Colorado, he
would grab a long screwdriver, sit in the yard

and patiently and painstakingly push that
screwdriver parallel to the stem and get
to the root which he then carefully removed
from the grass. Frankly, I think this is a

method for retirees. Reading up on the
various methods to remove them without
the use of pesticides was quite intriguing.
There are even tools similar to my Dad’s

long screwdriver. These are but some of
the methods I learned about: mow often;
root them out(my Dad’s method); poach them
using boiling water; mulch them; pickle them;

apply corn gluten meal; BBQ them and improve
your soil. I do not have a green thumb and any
labor-intensive method to remove dandelions
is of no interest to me. Other retirees resort

to odd methods such as attaching something
to a riding mower and pulling it around where the
weeds are. Not very efficient. Personally, I
like the method children employ: pick bouquets.

In the supermarket, organic dandelion greens are
available and quite tasty and nutritious. Dandelion
wine? No thanks. Do you have a preferred
method without using pesticides?

I think I’ll just sit on the front porch with a
good book and chuckle at my end of the pond.
Life is too short to spend time trying to
rid our lawn of dandelions.

Posted in bouquets, dandelions, Kentucky blue grass in Colorado, organic dandelion greens, retirees | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Massachusetts-born Poet: Katharine Lee Bates

Today is Flag Day so as I hung our American flag
from the front porch, I started to sing America
the Beautiful and began to research the
back story of the beautiful piece of music.

Katharine Lee Bates was head of the English
Department at Wellesley College who spent
the summer of 1893 teaching at Colorado
College in Colorado Springs. She and

other teachers decided to go on a trip
up the 14, 110′ high Pikes Peak. What a
trip that must have been in a hired prairie
wagon. Bumpy ride. Near the summit,

the group had to go the rest of the way
on mules. Katharine was tired but felt
enormous joy at the wonder she viewed
at the summit. She later wrote the

poem which was published in 1895. Samuel
A. Ward composed a hymn tune which used
Bates’ poem in 1910 and called it America
the Beautiful. Bates was ahead of her time.

So as we celebrate Flag Day this June 14
and Father’s Day on Sunday June 16, let
us be grateful for what we have in our
lives and in this country called the U. S. A.

Happy Flag Day!         Happy Father’s Day!


America the Beautiful

O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain
For purple mountain majesties, above the fruited plain
America, America, God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea

O beautiful for Pilgrim feet, whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat, across the wilderness
America, America, God mend thine every flaw
Confirm thy soul in self control, Thy liberty in law

O beautiful for heroes proved, in liberating strife
Who more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life
America, America, May God they gold refine
Till all success be nobleness, and every gain divine

O beautiful for patriot dream, that sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam, undimmed by human tears
America, America, God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQOLdwT43mI(Pikes Peak Cog Railway)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jF2Wq1ikMMA(from the Summitt of Pikes Peak)

Posted in America the Beautiful, Flag Day, Happy Father's Day, Katharine Lee Bates, Pikes Peak Colorado, Samuel A. Ward | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments