“Don’t let the complexity of the question distract you from the simplicity of the answer.” ~ Nathan Hamm
Any day spent with Marlon is a great day in my world.
Any day spent with Marlon is a great day in my world.
I knew it was going to be a great night when I walked in to find colleague, friend, and fellow drummers Kathryn Lybarger and her husband, Jack Schmidt (bottom photo), preparing to perform as part of the drum line performing the part of the Borneo Drummers from Joni Mitchell’s Hejira (I think that’s what they said, I didn’t catch all the details). Well known Lexington drummers David Farris, Tripp Bratton, and Dave Hamon were also part of the line (below). But it was Kathryn that inspired me. Every time I see a photo of her playing drums, usually as part of the March Madness Marching Band, she’s all smiles just like the photo above. Drummers who smile while they play bring a little something extra to the song, a certain joy that otherwise remains hidden. Omar Hakim, Simon Phillips, and Carter Beaufort all smile when they play and their tracks always sound extra joyful.
I’m really proud of Kathryn for taking up drumming. She’s never afraid of trying new things, in fact she loves trying new things, and she’s really taken to drumming like a duck to water. She and Jack have been playing for several years now and I hope they continue. Drumming in good for the soul and so are smiling drummers.
Once more I was honored to photograph a very special event this evening; the Joni Mitchell Tribute concert at First Presbyterian Church. The show was part of their Music for Mission series, this time organized by Anita Courtney, the same brilliant woman who organized last year’s Leonard Cohen Tribute. A few of the artists performed in both shows, but tonight featured a few new acts, one of which was my friend Melissa Snow-Groves. I just photographed Melissa and her family (David Hurst, Juni, and newborn Rory) last weekend, so it was really cool to see her again so soon. I’d heard Melissa sing in the church choir and the Bach Choir, but I had no idea until tonight just how truly powerful and gorgeous her voice is. She sang Blue, the title track from Joni’s 1971 album of the same name. I made myself as small as I could in the seat by the piano so I could try to capture a somewhat unique angle that you don’t usually see. I don’t know if the rest of the audience could feel the power of her voice, but from where I was, I was absolutely blown away, and I just can’t say that about too many vocalists. Did I mention she’s an excellent pianist, too? If I had heard nothing else tonight but Melissa I would have called it a great night. As it happened, there were a lot of beautiful music and musicians in this show. It was anything but a blue mood, and I’m still just floored over how gifted Melissa is. If you ever have a chance to hear her sing, don’t miss it.
There’s this place on Limestone between two buildings where you can see both Christ Church Episcopal and First Presbyterian Churches. On Monday, as Stacy and I were walking from Lowell’s, I stopped to snap a pic. I’d seen this view before, and I think I even snapped a pic, but it didn’t do anything for me, so I didn’t share it. This composition still doesn’t do it for me, but I love the reflecting colors of the buildings. One of these days I’m going to have the right lens with me at the right time of day in the right season and the way I see this scene from the sidewalk will magically appear as an image. Until then, I’ll keep practicing.
I was at the Bach Choir last night where I ran into a number of friends. One I managed to photograph was Cliff Sullivan. You first met Cliff way back in 2012 when he was still working for UK Libraries, but just a year later, and still today, he works at South Hill Gallery. That’s where I usually see Cliff these days, so it was a nice surprise to see him outside of work. The thing about Cliff is that he never ages. He must be living right.
I mentioned last year (I think it was last year) that Advent has become a time for introspection for me: A time to calm down when everyone else is ramping up with parties and shopping and such. It’s not that I don’t participate, I do and I enjoy it very much, it’s just that Advent has helped make me aware of things in life that are more important. It just helps me to stop and be grateful for those things. Today was the second Sunday of Advent. It was also Communion Sunday. Marlon (above) led the choir in beautiful song as usual, and Associate Pastor Caitlyn Foeshe (below) delivered a good message with a few laughs along the way (always a plus in my book). Meanwhile, I sat in the back snapping away. That, and Advent at First Presbyterian in Lexington, makes a happy combination for me. However, I have yet to capture First Church in a way that reflects how I sense the place. I’ll keep trying as long as they let me.
Last night, I got to the church before the wedding party. I went inside. The street lights through the stained glass windows were my only light. I set the camera on the tripod (not that easy in the dark). As I let the silent beauty fill me, I gave thanks for my family, and for the families joining their lives together. Today, on Thanksgiving, I have processed about half of what I shot last night. With each one I’ve counted my blessings, and there’s plenty left to count. I’m extremely fortunate, and I know it. I hope I never take it for granted.
It was nearing the Golden Hour when I got to the church for Allen’s service Saturday evening. Despite my reason for being there, I had to stop to snap the steeple standing so beautifully against the sky. You can just make out in the shadows a small mob of people entering the scene. There must have been 15-20 in total, all walking with their heads down in their phones. They stopped in front of Henry Clay’s law office. Pokémon Go continues with or without a church, a memorial service, a Saturday night, or much of anything else as far as I can tell. It made me giggle. I don’t get the whole Pokémon craze, but it seems to bring people a great deal of joy, so more power to them. The world needs all the joy it can get.
A small building stands beside the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Lexington. It belonged to Henry Clay; the great compromiser. The building’s historic marker reads, “Erected 1803-4, this is the only office standing used by Clay; he occupied it 1804 until ca. 1810. During these significant years in his career, Clay was elected to successive terms in legislature and to unexpired terms in United States Senate. Builders Stephens and Winslow used their characteristic brick basement. Original floorboards remain.” It’s astounding to think so much significant American politics was orchestrated from such a tiny space. Henry Clay may be the great great grandfather of the tiny house movement….except his house was larger; much larger.