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The hands of the clock are once again moving…

 

Red River Valley
arranged and adapted by Arlo Guthrie

From this valley they say you are going
We will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile
For they say you are taking the sunshine
That has brightened our pathways awhile

Come and sit by my side, if you love me
Do not hasten to bid me adieu
Just remember the Red River Valley
And the cowboy who loved you so true

I’ve been thinking a long time, my darling
Of the sweet words you never would say
Now, alas, must my fond hopes all vanish
For they say you are gong away

Come and sit by my side, if you love me
Do not hasten to bid me adieu
Just remember the Red River Valley
And the cowboy who loved you so true

Come and sit by my side, if you love me
Do not hasten to bid me adieu
Just remember the Red River Valley
And the cowboy who loved you so true

Do you think of the valley you’re leaving
O how lonely and how dreary it will be
And do you think of the kind hearts you’re breaking
And the pain you are causing to me

Come and sit by my side, if you love me
Do not hasten to bid me adieu
Just remember the Red River Valley
And the cowboy who loved you so true

They will bury me where you have wandered
Near the hills where the daffodils grow
When you’re gone from the Red River Valley
For I can’t live without you I know

Come and sit by my side, if you love me
Do not hasten to bid me adieu
Just remember the Red River Valley
And the cowboy who loved you so true

 

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 A snowball at the top of a mountain has the potential to become huge, just by rolling down the mountain and gathering more snow. In a short time, this tiny snowball can become a force to be reckoned with. We humans are like this when it comes to exchanging energy and vision, and no matter how few people are involved at the beginning, there is the potential for massive change. As consciousness seekers, we are in the midst of this process, and it is amazing to see people we thought might never come around, waking up to their truth. Each time we see this, we can count ourselves blessed to be living at a time when the awareness of humanity seems to be at a tipping point, as more and more individuals open their minds and change their ways.

For some people, this revolves around an awareness of the environment, for others it is a spiritual awakening, and for many it is both. A great change in consciousness is sweeping through us all, as we recognize that things are not what they have seemed to be, that there is more to our lives than meets the eye. Many of us have the awareness and the energy at this time to break through old, outmoded ways of seeing things and to move into a new way of being in the world, and it is essential that we do so. The beauty of living at this time is that even small actions have a powerful ripple effect, and the reverberations of what we do have the power to reach and open many minds.

It is as if a scale is about to tip in favor of higher consciousness, and each one of us has the power to bring humanity closer to that point with the smallest of actions. Each time we move in the direction of our dreams and visions, we can visualize another small pebble dropping into the pond, or another gold weight on the scale, rippling and tipping our way to universal awakening.

 

Here are several of my favorite videos from some musicals…

Josh Groban singing “Anthem” from CHESS (rehearsal)

Julia Murney and Sutton Foster singing “I Know Him So Well” from CHESS (rehearsal)

Sutton Foster singing “Someone Else’s Story” from CHESS (rehearsal)

And my absolute favorite…

Lea Salonga singing a tune written for MISS SAIGON, but with different words – “Too Much for One Heart” but known as the duet “Please”. “Too Much For One Heart” was originally in the show, but was cut…

Donna Mae Clary-Barmes  (May 8, 1924 – June 27, 1992)

Donna Mae Clary. 1940

Today marks the anniversary of the passing of my maternal grandmother. One of the dearest, wittiest and most remarkable souls I have ever known.

Grandma Donna was the second child of John William Garrett Clary and Mary Belle Jones – Clary, both of Madison County, Indiana. Grandma Donna grew up in Boone Township, Madison County, Indiana near Summitville from where she graduated in 1940. She had an older brother, Ronald Monroe, who was killed from a fall from a horse at age 15 in 1936, and a younger sister, Joyce Ann Clary – Riser. Joyce currently lives in Alexandria, Indiana. My grandparents resided in Elwood, Indiana until 1973 when they took up residence near Lapel, Indiana in the home built by my great-grandfather (Virgil Barmes), grandfather, and great-uncle (Danny Joe Barmes).

In 1943, Donna married Leroy Barmes (1921-2004), and together they raised three children: Diana (1945), Ronald Dean (1952-1987), and Tommy Kent (1954). They were members of the Trinity Evangelical United Brethren Church of Elwood, Indiana and later Ford Street United Methodist church.

FOUR GENERATIONS: Mary Belle Clary, Darin, Diana, Donna. 1964

My grandmother was terribly witty, and loved a practical joke. Her smile and laughter were infectious, and her tenderness and understanding deep. As a small child, I was so fortunate to spend each day with her. Only 40 years old when I was born, she was still raising two sons at home who were 12 and 10. So, in many ways, she seemed like a second mother, and my uncles were more like older brothers. It was a unique situation in which to grow up, and one I shall always treasure. Not many grandchildren remember their grandparents’ 50th birthdays!

In 1978, Grandma was diagnosed with chronic lymphatic leukemia. The doctor said she would die withthe disease, not from it. The remaining years were filled with many family events that she never missed. Grandma and Grandpa were at every one of my band contests, and at least 90% of my college events. When I was doing the role of Joseph in JOSEPH & THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, Grandma loved my long hair and curls, and would often sit in church withher hand on the back of the pew so she could play withmy curls. Following one of the performances as Joseph later on, she and I posed for a photograph with me wearing my technicolor dreamcoat- what is not seen in the photo is her hand around my back playing with the curls.

June 12th, 1992, I received an urgent telephone call from Dad telling me Grandma had collapsed at the dinner table the night before. She was rushed to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Indianapolis where she was placed on life support. After exploratory surgery it was discovered she had colon cancer and there was no hope. Finally, the evening of June 26th, Mother made the painful decision to have the life support removed the following morning.

At 9:00am the following morning, the family gathered around Grandma’s bed. Once the life support was disconnected, we joined hands and recited the Lord’s Prayer. The attending nurse cautioned us that it could drag on for an hour or so. By 1:00pm, her heart was still beating strong. The family had a consultation with the doctor, and we agreed that he would increase her morphine drip, and remove her from the ventilator.

At 2:00pm, we gathered around her bed, the blood pressure began a sad, consistent decrease. At 2:15pm, I leaned over to say, “I love you. I’ll see you later… and remember, my first Tony Award is for you.” I then heard my cousin, Debbie, say, “She’s gone.”

Thus ended the life of one of the most beautiful people I have known in this life.

When I returned to Dayton that night, I went to my room and for some reason my eyes went to a table that contained several nick-knacks. On this table was an emerald frame and clock, gifts from my grandmother. The clock’s hands were stopped at 2:15. I had only replaced the battery the week before. The same battery remains in the clock, and the hands have not been changed in sixteen years.

However, today at 2:15pm, when I sit at the piano as I do each year to play Grandma’s favorite song, “Red River Valley,” I am going to replace the battery and set the clock moving again. I did this recently with a gold pocket watch given me by my Uncle Ron. When Uncle Ron was killed in June 1987, I never rewound the watch again. However, June 8th, 2008, I passed this watch on to my newest nephew and godson, Frederick Lee Haas, and before placing it in the bag, I rewound it. The watch was ticking away when I received it from my uncle, and it just seemed appropriate that it should be running when it was passed on to my own nephew.

I will always miss her, especially during those treasured family moments which she would have loved. But as I grow older, I realize, more and more, that so much of my grandmother (as well as my grandfather, and other beloved family and friends) is still with me. Now, it is up to me to carry on the torch, to strengthen the foundation, and to create even more wonderful memories for my son, my nephews and all those from this younger generation.

In some way, resetting the clock is a sense of moving on… but not forgetting.

 

Here is one of my favorite show choir numbers – a Gregorian chant followed by Madonna’s “Like A Prayer.” Northwestern High School, Indianapolis, Indiana, always has a delightful show, and this 2006 competition show was highly creative and entertaining.

This version is the full picture of the performance:

This version is from the stage where you can see more details:

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