Sound of the Season: Gary Schocker’s Cherry Blossoms

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a photograph looking at a blue sky through the branches of an ornamental cherry tree in bloom; this pale pink variety is called 'Akebono', which means "dawn"
This is a variety called ‘Akebono’ which means ‘Daybreak’ or ‘Dawn’.

“A simple phrase can say a thousand words that a thousand notes cannot. This is my attraction to Gary’s music. I have always identified with his music; his beautiful, elegant melodies and corresponding harmonies free of excess. It’s my legacy to share his music with the harp world.”

harpist Emily Mitchell,
check out an interview here

Over the past three decades, American flutist-composer Gary Schocker has written well over 100 pieces for harp. Only a small percentage of that abundance has been recorded, but it includes a septet called Cherry Blossoms. Written in 2006 for flute, clarinet, harp, and string quartet, Cherry Blossoms may recall the instrumentation of another piece now a century old. In case the unusual instrumentation seems familiar, that’s because Read more

Why Didn’t Macon, Georgia Learn This Lesson from History?

Monoculture shouldn’t be encouraged the way this one has been.

Listen patiently, quietly, and reverently to the lessons, one by one, which Mother Nature has to teach, shedding light on that which was before a mystery, so that all who will may see and know.

Luther Burbank

If you violate Nature’s laws you are your own prosecuting attorney, judge, jury, and hangman.

Luther Burbank

a color photograph of double white cherry blossoms against a clear blue sky with tiny green leaves and dark branches nearly blackAs spring arrives, communities nationwide are holding blossom festivals that of course have no connection to the pagan cultures we often rebuke and nature worship that predates Christianity. No, they’re about tourism and promoting the local economy. They’re also about bringing people together, creating unity rather than division based on wealth, religious beliefs, and politics that often yield acrimony.

As we crown blossom queens and spoof kings who were added not long ago to remedy the inequality and sexism of a beauty pageant (note to self: watch Drop Dead Gorgeous again), there’s a glaring problem behind some of these festivals that many people in the community aren’t aware of Read more

The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom by Lucy Walker

An early 20th Century copy of Japanese woodcut The Great Wave off Kanagawa (神奈川沖波裏), from 36 Views of Mount Fuji by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849).

Think back a few years and you probably remember the immense, destructive waves that hit Japan. On March 11, 2011, an earthquake off the coast of the largest island, Honshu, triggered tsunamis over 100 feet high that traveled more than a mile inland once they reached the coast. Thousands of people were injured or died, and in the days that followed, aftershocks woke survivors in the night and brought disturbing reminders of the whelming force of nature during the day.

British documentary filmmaker Lucy WalkerFor obvious reasons, foreigners who could were leaving, but British filmmaker Lucy Walker went to Japan just after one of the greatest natural disasters in its history. Read more

The Ornamental Cherry ‘Okame’ Offers a Celebration of February Plus Symbolic Luck and Happiness

note: Often the purpose of links is to indicate further information is available on related topics. Most links are independent, but some help support this web site. If you prefer, feel free to donate instead.

branches of the ornamental cherry 'Okame' loaded with pink flowers in late February 2017

Over most of its range, this tree comes into bloom before March. In the area around Philadelphia, where it was introduced to this country, it is also among the first trees to flower, usually between late March and mid-April. ‘Okame’ will grow as far north as zone 5 although it’s not commonly sold some places where it would grow. Since the flowers open so early, you might be worried about their ability to withstand late freezes. Worry not! Like other plants of very early spring, it can take a night or two below 32 without harm in bud or in bloom. In fact, I’ve seen it endure 17 degrees after flowering just ended.

So who or what is Okame? Read more

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