Wednesday, January 15, 2014

If a Blog Falls in the Forest: a Jazz Meditation

The My Musical Family blog has been way too quiet lately. Not good, especially for a blog that revolves around music! It would make more sense if I wrote about meditation.

The good news is I have not been idle. I have been working diligently on my book about G. Oliver Riggs and his extraordinary career as a real-life music man. I have had limited time for writing lately (writing for myself, I should say – I have plenty of paid writing and editing work that is keeping my schedule full), and when faced with the choice of writing a blog entry or working on a scene from the book, I have chosen to work on the book. But the blogging is an important part of the project, too, so I hope to get back to posting at least once a week.

My writing space
What else is new in My Musical Family-land? Before Christmas break, I finished my six-week online class through the Loft Literary Center, called The Art of Narrative Nonfiction. It was a fantastic class, and I am hoping the teacher, Ashley Shelby, will offer a part 2 later this spring or summer. In the meantime, I am trying to maintain my momentum by setting personal deadlines for myself, and I’m meeting one night a week with my friends Chris Lienke and Myrna Mibus to work on our respective writing projects.

I have also been busy serving on three music-related boards, the Northfield Fine Arts Boosters, the Northfield Youth Choirs, and the Vintage Band Festival. And I have attended some delightful concerts, including Monday evening’s middle school and high school jazz bands concert, featuring guest band Jazz MN of Minneapolis.

There’s a story about the concert in today’s Northfield News: Jazz Bands rock the house at Northfield Middle School.

The Northfield Fine Arts Boosters provided a grant to help bring Jazz MN to town from the Twin Cities. The professional jazz musicians had a clinic with the students after school and then performed that night at the concert, after the middle school jazz band and the two high school jazz bands. It was a great example of why I am proud to be involved with NFAB.

Sebastian plays the trumpet in the NHS Jazz Band Two, and he had a solo during his band’s rendition of “Chameleon” by Herbie Hancock. Since it seems appropriate to end this meditation with some music, I have included the clip of Seb’s solo, followed by Jazz MN playing the jazz standard “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” which happens to be the title of one of my book chapters.



  1. Did you ever hear from the grandson of Harry Chesterman? I'm guessing it was my cousin Tom Beatson? My grandfather was Charles E. Chesterman, Harry's youngest brother. Hope he was able to help you out!
    Mary Anne Thompson

  2. Hi, Mary Anne! Yes, your cousin Tom contacted me back in the summer of 2010. He provided me with some great information about his grandfather Harry and his photo studio. Tom said he didn't have any photos from the time period I was interested in, but he was going to check with some relatives in California who had a box of materials that had belonged to his grandparents. I haven't heard from him since then - I hope he is doing well!