Twinkle Twinkle Mega Star

Fancy experiencing a high tech, virtual encounter with a musical prodigy… courtesy of Al Gorithm and Otto Play… my humanizing nicknames for YouTube’s recommendation algorithm and autoplay tech.

Well, that’s precisely what had happened, recently, while viewing keyboardist extraordinaire Keith Emerson… best known for his legendary live and recorded performances with the rock ensemble ELP… an acronym representing the surnames of keyboardist Emerson, guitarist / vocalist Greg Lake and percussionist Carl Palmer.

On that fateful Friday evening, I had wandered off while this triumvirate was rapidly heading for yet another of their masterpiece concluding crescendos. It was while meandering back through the dimly lit corridor, that I could already hear the next video featuring a key, keyboard selection from yet another ELP classic… The Endless Enigma.

Imagine my jaw dropping, “Oh Wow” mouthed speechlessness upon re-seating myself at my computer and discovering that [1] Emerson was seated nowhere near his stock in trade, spectacular keyboard array and [2] this note for note perfection was being accomplished by a heretofore, unknown to me, keyboard virtuoso, Ms. Rachel Flowers…

Seeing this confident young woman’s nimble fingers so skillfully spanning the entire keyboard was as if she’d been possessed… in the very best of ways… by the spirit of the recently passed away Emerson…who just happens to be a hero of hers (and mine, too).

Imagine my teary eyed response upon later learning that Ms. Flowers had overcome some of life’s toughest challenges.

Those difficulties get backdated to December 21, 1993, the day she had made her grand entrance into our world… 15 weeks early and weighing a scant 0.595 kgs / 1 lb 5 oz. Then, 3 months later, yet another medical complication arose… Retinopathy of Prematurity… which denied Rachel her eyesight.

Her parents Dan and Jeanie did all they could to encourage their daughter to stay positive and make the most of her life. Her mom even introduced her (then) 2-year-old girl to the joys of music… seated her at their piano to teach her how to play her very first song, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Rachel picked up on the melody quite quickly. Soon, her pitch perfect ear allowed her to recreate whatever songs she fancied. A keyboard star was born… and on the rise.

By age 4 1/2… younger than a kindergartner… Rachel began her formal training at Southern California Conservatory of Music where her studies included piano, music theory, ear training, music history, Braille music code, and adaptive computer music applications. [My thanks to Wikipedia for supplying Rachel’s biographical info]

And the rest… as they say… is Her-story. She’s accomplished so much in life that the easiest ways for us to learn more about her music, life and times is to type in her name to initiate both Internet and YouTube searches. BTW, do plan on finding veritable hours worth of inspirational reading and listening enjoyment.

The Rachel Flowers Story is all about the indomitable human spirit and living life to the fullest. She is the embodiment of those qualities. For proof, one look no further than seeing her ear to ear grin and jumping for joy while seated on the piano bench at the conclusion of many of her performances. Such reactions are as integral to her piano recitals as the music itself! Her happiness is our happiness!

One shudders upon the realization that, had she been born in an earlier era, she’d have been denied her chance at beating the nearly overwhelming medical odds… that we’d have been denied being eye and ear witnesses to the musical genius of Rachel Flowers… The Personification of Joy.

I cannot imagine a better way to wrap up this post than for us to express our appreciation…

Bravo Rachel! Encore! Encore! Encore!

 

 

 

BlogCast: Tom’s Top 20 Countdown “2” Christmas: Song 3

Mere words can hardly describe the mighty mind and vibrant voice of singer / song writer / guitarist and progressive rock pioneer Greg Lake. During his nearly five decade long professional career he played in the bands King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP).

Considering how much life Lake breathed into damned nearly every song he ever performed and recorded… how his subject matter was typically “dark”… how the body of his mind-blowing work, which he leaves behind, still gives off so much figurative heat… the reports of his death on Wednesday, December 7, 2016… even now, one year later… still seems surreal.

Since highlighting Lake’s music is the best way to pay tribute to him, I’m offering up a linked to YouTube mini-discography. These five compositions do support the undeniable truth… Lake had been a force to be reckoned with.

Stated in sixties vernacular, the five tracks to follow are the quintessence of “progressive rock”… terminology that not only aptly describes the music, itself, but also the radio stations that originally aired it. Courtesy of those bygone broadcast towers, us “hippies” first heard the King Crimson track, Epitaph and the ELP tracks Lucky Man, Battlefield, From The Beginning and Karn Evil 9 1st Impression Part 2.

True, it’ll mostly be diehard Lake fans (such as yours truly), who will gleefully playback these songs, in their entirety. Still, I do encourage everyone else to sample each track. Even if this isn’t your “cup of tea”, musically, consider the lyrics themselves. I know that many of my readers and followers who are poets will be impressed in that latter regard.

I do know that my being fully impressed by both Lake’s music and lyrics weighed heavily in my decision to BlogCast his compostion… I Believe In Father Christmas… his take on the over-commercialization of this holiday… an overall POV I share with him.

On a more personal note… there was one other consideration in my BlogCasting his holiday commentary.

You see, on this very day 43 years ago, (@5 p.m. in the U.S. Eastern timezone) ELP’s Karn Evil 9 1st Impression Part 2 became the very first song I played on my very first on the air radio broadcast. My substitute DJ, weeklong gig, which followed, certainly made my Christmas 1974 extra special… all of that ranking right up there as one of the best gifts I have ever received.

Returning now to the music… while auditioning YouTube offerings, I did discover a couple more view-worthy vids… the first clip features Lake’s reprise of I Believe In Father Christmas set to alternative imagery… the second performance features Thomas McKanna’s fine piano cover medley.

I now thank you for your listenership and cordially invite you back for the remainder of my Top 20 Countdown “2” Christmas… where I’ll be presenting select holiday classics… one-a-day… from now until we reach #1 on the 25th.

You’re also cordially invited to click back here for my regular monthly BlogCast… one that typically features anywhere from 3 to 5 songs that, when segued, transform everything into an appealing theme… this program slated to hit the www “airwaves” on Sunday, December 24, 2017.

 

Till next time…

 

Here’s hoping that you have a

Merry Melodious Christmas and Happy Harmonious Holiday Season!

 

 

FYI, my past musical presentations are archived within my BlogCast and music categories.

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