Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Christmas From Around the World

   When I lived near Peoria, IL I had the opportunity to attend some good concerts at the Peoria Civic Center. Mind you, they were all in the country music genre but still, it was nice having the availability there. On December 12, 2011 I was treated to a ‘big city’ experience in our small town of Birch Tree MO – a town of just over 600 people.

   On Monday, December 12, 2011. Members of the Krakow chamber orchestra Sinfonia, led by conductor Steven Byess, played a variety of traditional music. Between each song, Mr. Byess talked about the origin of the individual pieces, introduced the orchestra members and interacted with students Preschool through fifth grade.
   Classical music scores representing several countries captured students, teachers and visitors The students were knowledgeable of some of the instruments they were hearing and of where the countries represented were located.
   At the conclusion of the thirty-minute performance, Mr. Byess took questions from the assemblage. The students learned the performers had been playing most of their life. As part of the Polish culture, a child begins musical instruction at no later than age six. Most of the musicians practice for at least three to four hours a day. In preparation for this tour, they practiced an additional two to three hours per day as a group.
   If the music wasn’t enough to capture your soul, one preschooler certainly did. She was the first child Mr. Byess called on during the question and answer segment. She quietly folded her hands in her lap then looked at him and said, “That was beautiful.”
   The holiday spirit, to me, is all about giving someone something they might not have or be able to experience. Birch Tree Elementary school (as well as Winona Elementary and Faith Bible Fellowship Church in Houston) were given a precious gift.
    The students made Thank You cards which are being sent to Mr. Byess. But we also wanted a way for all of the members to view them. Some are easier to read than others. Please take a moment to enjoy the slideshow and see how much such a small act of kindness meant to them.


Welcome to my little corner of the Ozarks. I settled into the area about four years ago but from the first time I visited the Ozarks, I've had the feeling of 'coming home'. It's a good feeling to have and one that unleash a flood of things to experience... and write about.

As I move more into freelance mode, parallel to the novelist in me, I decided it was time for a place to get to know everyone a bit. So here we are. On my beautiful, secluded acreage in south central Missouri.

I'll talk about how the freelance is going, places for submission that have proven fruitful and some of the things of interest I come across in my research.  I hope you'll follow me on this journey and share your thoughts as well.