Benefit Concert for Veterans for Peace Chapter #161


The Family Folk Machine, the intergenerational musical group that has earned numerous accolades in its five-year history and of which I am a proud band member, will perform a benefit concert for Veterans For Peace Chapter #161 at the Unitarian Universalist Society on Sunday, February 17th at 3:00 pm.  The concert will feature FFM singers and instrumentalists ranging in age from five to 80, with an emphasis on  peace and justice themes.   Selections will range from familiar favorites by Iris DeMent, Pete Seeger, John Prine and Bob Dylan to original creations by local artists and members of the Family Folk Machine.

Veterans For Peace Chapter #161 is an organization of over 30 veterans and associates in eastern Iowa who have a simple mission — peace.  VFP #161 is part of the national Veterans For Peace organization, which was founded in 1985 and is headquartered in St. Louis.

Attending this fund-raising event is just one way you can support the cause for peace.  Any effort to promote peace and show that people can make a difference is worth supporting. Veterans For Peace aims to increase public awareness of the causes and costs of war.  It is dedicated to healing the wounds of war and building a culture of peace. Please join us for an inspirational hour at the Family Folk Machine event on Sunday, February 17.

Special thanks to Ed Flaherty for this excellent description of what is sure to be a wonderful event.

Congratulations to Mira!

Introducing Mira, my featured musician for January and February!

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Websites are great and all but I find that when a student finds me because of a recommendation by another longtime student, we have a much higher chance of clicking and having grand musical adventures. This has never been more true than in the case of Mira.

Mira descends from multiple generations of music making and music is highly valued among her family members. Even more beautiful than this is the fact that music is not the only valued pursuit. Witnessing how deeply a child gets to know herself when all of her interests are treated with so much respect and support is remarkable and heartwarming. It’s no wonder that Mira feels so free to play with such musicality and emotion. I am privileged that I get to be her audience so often.

I am so grateful that I am able to glean such valuable parenting inspiration from the families in my orbit like Mira’s family. When we encourage children in loving what they love, the connection we forge is priceless.

Counting My 2018 Blessings

2018 was quite the year!

My sincere thanks to everyone who has been part of the magic this year.

Onward and upward!

Congratulations to Althea & Naomi!

Introducing Althea and Naomi, my featured musicians for November and December!

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I am delighted to introduce a wonderful family who I have been very lucky to make music with for many, many years now. Althea and Naomi have been with me since I was teaching in our smaller house when my sons were very small, they stayed with me when I taught in the West Music conservatory for several years, and they are my stalwart Friday friends in my current home studio.

I have seen a huge amount of musical development from each of them over the years and I have also had the real privilege of being alongside them as they grew and gathered many other interests and continued to keep music in their lives while they explore ballet, taekwondo, basketball, art and many of the other pleasures of life. I encourage you to read their answers above to see all the wonder they find in the world.

As I’ve mentioned many times before, I get a real surge of joy from seeing my students making music with their family members and so I especially love when their dad Ryan joins them on mandolin and guitar and their mom Jen joins them on piano and flute. Our fellow beloved Family Folk Machiners and audience members also know what marvelous singers they all are.

This family of truth seekers and kindness givers weaves their love of music into the splendid landscape of life’s many treasures and I stand in awe of all the beauty they share with us.

Film Release

Copy of Cinema.jpgOur 11 year old son Atticus has been very busy. He decided some months ago that he wanted to create a live action version of one of his favorite fairy tales. When he decides something, so mote it be.

Atticus is the star of this new film version of Jack & the Beanstalk. He is also the scriptwriter/editor, the director, the cinematographer, the costumer, the prop master, the film editor, and the composer/performer of the musical score. His beloved accordion teacher Jill VanDorpe worked closely with him as a coach on this project and she does a beautiful job of playing Jack’s Mother.

Atticus expertly cast his father as the Giant (don’t miss his impeccable death scene!), his brother Liam as The Creepy Old Man (wearing my favorite costume in the film), and me as the Cow (who looks uncannily like a panda) and also as the Giant’s Wife.

Atticus has created a website that links directly to his YouTube channel to make viewing the film as easy and accessible as possible.

Please consider taking ten minutes from your day to view his film and to leave him some encouragement. You will be glad that you did. We are very grateful for your support of our young artist.