Jilted by the Grammys

Diana Ross was nominated twelve times for a Grammy but never received one. Her first nomination was in 1964 for Baby Love. Between 1970 and 1982 hits like Upside Down, Love Hangover, Stop in the Name of Love, and Touch Me in the Morning were all overlooked.

Is Jazz Hopeful?

I didn’t use to think so. I thought jazz was heavy and sorrowful and sad. Singing the blues was what it was about. When Billie Holliday wasn’t singing the blues she was warbling Goodmorning Heartache. Ella Fitzgerald croons about her time spent in regret in Cry Me a River. And then Nina Simone’s rendition of Sinner Man is haunting but quite the opposite of cheerful.

Maybe the crackly recordings added to an unsatisfactory listening experience. Because it certainly wasn’t the quality of the voices. Heavens. The remastered versions of their performances show off the extraordinary voices which made them famous.

It wasn’t too many months ago that I was running the search on my car radio hoping desperately for a break from earworm pop and classical MPR when I stumbled on Jazz 88.5 FM. It made my day- a real DJ was selecting and talking about the cuts he or she had chosen. Some are performers themselves and give insights into their preferences. But most of all the music was joyful and upbeat.

The station operates in conjuntion with the Minneapolis Public Schools. From its website:

Listener-Driven Jazz, Roots, News and Traffic


Jazz88 is the Twin Cities’ source for jazz & roots music, MnDOT traffic, and BBC World News.  Jazz88 is one of the highest-rated full-time jazz stations in the nation and an Ampers Station of the Year recipient.  A self-supporting service of Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), Jazz88 receives nearly half of our annual revenue from individual listeners.  Your gift supports the radio and digital services, live events, and our hands-on educational program.

The comfort of the human voice

Many schools are known for their athletics. There’s money in it. The teams bring in revenue from ticket sales at games and in exchange for their viewing rights. My alma mater is known for its choir. The St. Olaf Choir is a frequent world traveler, bringing the beauty of the human voice to places near and far.

This year’s Christmas Concert performance, Promise of Peace, was performed at Orchestra Hall. It’s a beautiful venue with spectacular acoustics. But it’s the voices of 500 choir members who perform which make the event memorable.

Beautiful Savior is a favorite. Have a listen.

Of Our New Day

We were in Northfield this afternoon for parent’s weekend at St. Olaf College. After lunch at the Reunion on Main Street and a walk along the nature trail behind Skogland, we went to listen to the Family Music Performance. The freshmen male choir, directed by Tesfa Wondemagegnehu, formed a half moon on the risers first, and they did not disappoint. I had several friends in choir back so many years ago now, that these new fresh faces simply met their level of excellence.

Having no expectations for the St Olaf Band, however, led to a delightful sense of discovering something exceptional. The variety of instruments and tones and tempos! Well, listen for yourself.

Storytelling then and now

You know how all the marketing people like to say- let the ad tell your story? The whole story method seems to crop up on LinkedIn or on how-to advice to promote businesses on social media. One simply must come up with an interesting backdrop.

Storytelling now doesn’t hold a candle to storytelling back in Bach’s day. In the 1700’s the account of the death and resurrection of Christ was sung out on Good Friday over a three plus hour service. Have a listen to the Netherlands Bach Society interpretation of the piece.

Personally, I prefer the time when a story was spun into something beautiful instead of a soft shoe move to peak the interest of a commercial audience.

What Child is this- 1983 Edition

The St. Olaf Choir is a premier a cappella choir based in Northfield, Minnesota. Founded in 1912 by Norwegian immigrant F. Melius Christiansen, the choir has been influential to other church and college choirs for its performance of unaccompanied sacred music.[1] Conducted since 1990 by Anton Armstrong, there have been four conductors in the choir’s 109 year history.