Saturday, September 29, 2012

Colony Music - Sad to Lose this Music Legend

Colony Music

As I attempted to enter the doors of this great historical landmark, I stepped around a large tripod and camera, obviously set up to grasp a few final pics of the great icon, Colony Music. The man at the camera looked sheepishly toward me and said, "It's sad to see it go," to which I replied, "I feel your pain... this is where I've gone for music for the past couple of decades and now it's closing?" "Do you know why?" I asked.  "I heard the landlords are shutting it down... tripled the rent," he lamented.  To this I had no reply, only a mutually tearful eye contact with this stranger, 
one who shared my intense feelings of loss.

So I entered Colony Music for the last time.  It closed it's doors on the 15th of this September, 2012. I was there the first of September. As I walked through these heavy doors, my heart felt it heavy, too.  I carefully took in every sight and sound, trying to memorize it's place in the music world for all time. 

Colony Music was located on Broadway. It was just a couple of blocks from Times Square.  It has been there for over half a century, delivering sheet music to the masses. I have gone there EVERY time I've been in NYC - it's one of those places I cherished as an experience... not to be missed.  Now it will be forever gone.  It was not unusual to see some of the major broadway stars at Colony.  The staff was  been employed for a long, long time. They recounted countless visits to Colony Music from the great producers, musicians, and musical theatre people.

So I strolled through the sheet music and purchased way too much that day a few weeks ago. I talked with the salesmen on the floor. Some were sale folks I've visited with via phone for years and years... it's always been a cheerful interchange, working diligently to help me find the score no matter how difficult the task.

This personal touch will be sorely missed.  This is a pic of one of my favorites... he's been there for 15 years. He recounted his grief over the closing of Colony Music... indicating that the rent had gotten too high for them to carry on.  He was looking for jobs in the city doing what he loves best... helping people find sheet music... what a career! His smile speaks volumes for the cheerfulness of this place.

Here is one of the shelves of classical voice music. There were thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of selections at Colony Music. Stores like this are being replaced by internet music stores.
There are soon going to be no stores where we can go and browse on a Saturday afternoon.

Colony's shelves were filled with paraphernalia and musical do-dads, too... a.k.a. junk stuff... items which caught the attention of the shopper. The entire store looked like it belonged back in the 50's... nothing much changed from visit to visit. I love the authentic retro look!

Who knows how long this sign has been 
hanging outside the entrance to Colony Music!
Right there on Broadway!

Alas, a final look at the store. I feel a sense of sadness just writing this post. It was important for me to mark this passage in my blog. Times Square and Midtown has reshaped itself in the last decade. Disney moved into the center of the Big Apple, replacing many sites and institutions that needed replacing. Times Square is a family friendly place now, and that is a good thing. Most of the dismal, dark, crime infested institutions are now gone. But, too bad the real estate market has forced the closing of some of the positive places... such as Colony Music!

Goodbye to one of the classiest places on Broadway.
Goodbye to a store dedicated to sheet music of all kinds.
Goodbye to a New York City landmark.
Goodbye to you, Colony Music... and thanks for the memories!!

La ~ Ti ~ Do...


Friday, September 28, 2012

Running and Singing - Pride and Purpose

A Purposeful Pride

Today, I ran...  approximately four and a half miles, I think.  I planned on three, but as I turned the corner at about the 2 mile mark, I met up with a couple of multi-marathoners (these ladies are committed and have completed marathons in all 50 states!!)

...and so, NOT wanting to be humiliated... and NOT wanting to wimp out... I ran along with them, talked with them as I ran... pushing myself to stay with them for approximately a mile. Thankfully, I was already warmed up and could keep up. We weren't running extremely fast, but still, I was delighted to be able to jog along with these fine female runners.

As I turned toward home, I felt immensely grateful that my pride wouldn't let me give up... that pride which pushed me to do what I wouldn't normally have elected to do.. that I wouldn't normally have thought I could do... I was SO thankful that I did not entirely embarrass myself, for you see, I used to be a fairly fast runner... but, with the knee injury I have been off the trail for quite some time... and it's a long way back!

Life is funny.  Pride often gets a bad rap. I like to think that pride is an awfully good personality characteristic (when not taken too far) - it gives us incentive to do our best... to push ourselves harder for a nobel cause - it creates a sense of personal dignity as reward for our efforts. This proved true today on my morning run.

The same can be said of singing.  Lately, I have been rehearsing some fairly difficult music.  One  selection proposes a great challenge for me... the tessitura is extremely high and the passages consist of long phrases, each of which need to "float!"  (Bellezza della voce!) I'm quite sure I haven't been challenged this much vocally in many years... Strauss' "Der Rosenkavalier" requires full body strength, to say the least!

But, as I work on this terrific music, I have a deep incentive to do my best... to push myself harder for a noble cause - to feel the sense of personal dignity as reward for my effort. Once again, it's pride that pushes me and will not allow me to give up. And it's fun!

So I've been thinking that running and singing are very similar:

Each require mental toughness. 
Both present a physical challenge.
It's helpful to have some degree of talent for these two physical activities, but all can learn and improve.
Muscle tone and muscle memory are  developed in each.
Both enhance physical endurance over time.
Form is essential for either and will produce excellent results. 
For me... I need a good dose of protein before running or singing so that I'll have energy enough for the task.
Endorphins are released in the body, both during and after these two activities occur.
Each result in a grounded - centeredness of the mind, body, and spirit, which encourages relaxation and lowers anxiety.
When emotional pain wreaks havoc on our psyche, running and singing bring a physical release like none other!

... I could go on...  the similarities are vast! 

Running and singing deliver a purposeful kind of living. One that creates self-worth, authentic pride... it takes a lot of effort from us and in turn gives back a sense of completeness... of beauty.
So, great effort gives great reward! 

That's why I run. That's why I sing. 

That's all my ramblings for today!  I am thankful for the music and for the trail!

La ~ Ti ~ Do! (on some really high notes...)


Monday, September 17, 2012

Seashores, Sunsets and Serenity

I thought you might like
to see some different visuals from my
favorite coastal island...
Anna Maria Island!

It's a place where God paints the sky each and every day.

It's a place where God designs beautiful landscapes,
serene sounds, colorful palettes of turquoise blue
and sea foam green,
not to mention more colorful visuals than one can imagine!

Here are some vistas!

This one is sunrise... 
      taken by my daughter... it captures a quiet place.

No matter where you go...

Breathe ~ Sing ~ Take in all of God's creation...
and make this a day of appreciation and wonder!

La - Ti - Do!!