Sing Us a Story

“It’s always been a gift with me, hearing music the way I do. I don’t know where it comes from, it’s just there and I don’t question it.” ~  Miles Davis

Pine Island House Concerts

We have discovered a new way to enjoy music. Attending local outdoor house concerts.

The rules are:

Make a reservation right away as only 30-35 spaces are available. You can choose to come by boat for the concert and then you’re not taking up a lawn chair space.

Show up on time. Bring food to share. BYOB if you so desire.

Turn off your cell phone. Turn off your cell phone.  Turn off your cell phone or you’ll never be invited back.

Enjoy the twinkle of the lights strung on the trees. Sit back under the winter time Florida moonlit sky and listen to a story.

We have been to several concerts in the past month at two different homes. It is a great way to support independent musicians who are discouraged by the bar scene and just want to be listened to and respected for their art in a small, intimate venue. The quality of these musicians is what keeps us coming back. Besides, what musician wouldn’t want to be in Florida right now and their enthusiasm to perform is genuine.

For me, I particularly enjoy the “back story” the musician provides before he strums his guitar. What strikes me is the writing process the song writer goes through. Some keep journals where they write down a particular word, phrase, or story that inspires them. For some, their creativity flows better when they collaborate with fellow musicians. For most, it is drawn from life experiences and for others it comes from making oneself write daily. Sound familiar?

One of these musicians, Tom Prasada Rao, teaches songwriting workshops nationally and Pine Island House Concerts-2was the songwriting instructor at the University of Virginia’s “Young Writer’s Workshops from 2000 to 2007. That program was modeled after The University of Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop. It was there at UVA while creating the songwriting curriculum that Tom developed his craft. He uses writing prompts to guide his students. He also encourages them to come up with prompts of their own to put on a Share Board free for any participant to use… including the teacher.

One of the most entertaining songs we listened to one evening came from a classroom writing prompt:

                  “Your small child comes to you and wonders what those sounds are that come                     from Mommy and Daddy’s bedroom at night.”

The response was creative, imaginative and in good taste. I’ll leave you to wonder.

The host for this outdoor concert was Annie Wenz, an incredibly talented musician herself. She backed up Tom with percussion.

Pine Island House Concerts

Most of the song writers/ musicians that come through this area are of the Trop/Rock Island (Jimmy Buffet) genre and others fall into blends of blues, folk, country and you name it. We have listened to John Frinzi, Hugo Duarte, Brent Burns, James “Sunny Jim” White and a couple from Austin, Thom Shepard and Coley McCabe.

One ambition they seem to have in common is that they are still trying to write the perfect song.

Tom Prasada- Rao said, “As I grow older I care less about the music business than I probably should. I care more about life as poetry, trying to play like there are no wrong notes anymore.”

I’ll leave you with some scenes and water views from two of the concerts. Click on any image to enlarge.

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About travelerlynne

Traveler. Writer. Retired Educator.Traveling on and off the beaten path with my photographer husband. Volunteering locally as well as in Haiti and Tanzania, an enriching and humbling experience. A sun lover! Shelling, boating, fishing and watching sunsets. Growing mango, banana, key lime,and pineapple.Making smoothies and chutneys. Enjoying family and friends! Savoring each new day!
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33 Responses to Sing Us a Story

  1. What a wonderful experience Lynne. The music in the soft Florida night! The photos are very evocative. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you for your lovely comment, Elaine. We feel so fortunate and blessed to be in such a creative environment. Not just musicians, but writers and artists abound. Fishermen, too. 🙂

  2. aedmonds315 says:

    Sounds perfect, And since it’s freezing here in Jersey it makes me just want to retire and down there even sooner. Thank you for making me feel just a little warmer today..

  3. you two win hands down on the most-wholesome local escape! no phones no phones – that’s so great!  it makes me so upset when people chatter when a talented musician is performing.

    i wish i were there w/all of you!

    z

    ________________________________

  4. What a wonderful idea, Lynne. I’d really enjoy those concerts, and definitely wouldn’t bring my cell phone. A great way to spend an evening. Your photos are very enticing. I would be there in a heartbeat. 🙂

    • Glad you enjoyed the pictures. I never thought to take my camera to any of the concerts until these last two. Glad I did. It’s definitely a laid back way to hear music. Nothing to get dressed up for. Just enjoyable. 🙂

  5. I wish I could join you! Perfect location, great food, no distractions, and musical storytelling…I love it! By the way, when our son was young and he wondered what the sounds were coming from our bedroom, we told him we were moving furniture. LOL

    • Thanks Debbie. With all the above comments looks like we can fill a boat up with fellow bloggers who enjoy a fun way to hear music and spend an evening, Pine Island style. I love your answer to the bedroom question. 🙂

  6. Gigi Galore says:

    Beautiful and oh so balmy! I too would enjoy performing or listening to music here rather than a bar, rather than almost anywhere! Beautifully described Lynne and very pretty pictures! 🙂

  7. Hi Gigi. I know these writers/musicians are playing to an older audience, but we really have fun and laugh a lot. We feel fortunate to have this on the island and in our neighborhood. It’s not open to the public…thank goodness. Only one time it was cold enough to drive us in doors. Try squeezing 30 people into a tiny living room. Some how we managed. 🙂

  8. Wow! Sounds like an evening well spent away from the gadgets that ruin our lives. Your pictures captured the cosy evening so completely. Nothing brings people together like music. 🙂

    • Sumithra. What a pleasure to hear from you. You are right about music bringing people together and that is a world wide concept. Leaving the cell phone off and not texting just enriches the experience. 🙂

  9. Wonderful post and atmosphere, and what an insight into song-writing. Loved Tom Prasada -Rao’s last quote… very moving and inspiring

  10. Dear Valerie. So glad you zeroed in on the quote. Tom was born in Ethiopia of Indian parents. His heritage blends well with the musical sounds he produces. We were fortunate to hear him.

  11. restlessjo says:

    What a lovely way to spend time, Lynne. I can just picture us there in those two chairs on the deck, with the music wafting around us. Making perfect music! How impossible a task is that? And how I wish I could make any! 🙂

  12. I can’t make music, either. My only contribution to the house concert is trying to clap to the music at the right time. 🙂 Yes, I can see you sitting in that chair, waving to the boaters, listening to the music and sipping a glass of your favorite wine. Come join us. 🙂

  13. Madhu says:

    What a great way to enjoy music! And to encourage deserving talent. Your photos and Ron’s happy smile, speak for themselves 🙂

  14. Letizia says:

    By boat! What a fun and lovely way to listen to a concert 🙂

  15. We didn’t come by boat this time, but we have before. This is such a laid back kind of place. Glad we retired here. 🙂

  16. Marko says:

    Hello! Feel free to watch my new photo album. I greet and wish you a beautiful weekend!
    http://marciento.wordpress.com/2014/02/23/ducks-and-pigeons-kaczki-i-golebie/

  17. Thank you, Marko and the same to you. I look forward to your new album.

  18. vbholmes says:

    What an enticing scene you paint, Lynne–you’re so lucky to have the opportunity to hear music played in an informal setting and I envy you. There’s a couple in the neighborhood who put on musicals (such as Gilbert and Sullivan and Broadway shows that could be presented without a cast of thousands) in their home for 30-40 people. It was such a privilege to attend. Unfortunately, one of the guests tripped, broke her ankle and sued the hosts. That was the end of our special evenings. Hopefully, her kind stays away from your concerts and you’ll continue to have these wonderful performances. Enjoy!

  19. Ouch! I just tripped on your scenario. You’re right. All it takes is one such mishap and that is the end.Hopefully all these snow birds are just so grateful to be out of the north that they won’t hold the host liable for their misfortune. But that is naive. 🙂 One more concert to go to (tonight) and that is it for awhile.

  20. Music how it should be enjoyed! I’m excited by some of the things going on in the arts lately. There’s an energy coming back that I don’t feel has been around for a while…

  21. Energy is a good term for this movement. Our little area creates its own artistic diversions.

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