Quote of the Day:  …You see, my dear friend, that I am made up of contradictions, and I have reached a very mature age without resting on anything positive, without having calmed my restless spirit either by religion or philosophy. Undoubtedly, I should have gone mad but for music. Music is indeed the most beautiful of all Heaven’s gifts to humanity wandering in the darkness. Alone it calms, enlightens, and stills our souls. It is not the straw to which the drowning man clings; but a true friend, refuge, and comforter, for whose sake life is worth living. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Man, that’s a hard name to spell! And, pronouncing it!? It takes a true Russian to get it right.)

DSC_0244Tonight, I had the great pleasure (and by pleasure, I mean all of my senses came alive) to hear the amazing talents of musicians from around the country come together in our own Brainerd, MN for the Lakes Area Music Festival. The Festival has been running from August 3-24, 2014. If you’re reading this before 3:00 pm on Sunday, Aug. 24, and you are anywhere near the Brainerd lakes area, you still have time to catch the final performance. I am telling you that you will be transported around the world, perhaps even out of it. As we were standing for one of the many standing ovations for the performance tonight, I said to Krista, “I think we’ve been transported to New York City.” (because of the quality of the performance) Then, I heard more, felt more, listened with all my senses, and I said, “No, we were in Moscow.” I think we were also in Sweden for the “Midsommer Vigil,” and a few nights ago, we were in Austria with Mozart, and before that we experienced Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, where I came to realize that Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter all have moments of quiet ponder and wild excitement. Tonight, especially during some of Tchaikovsky’s music, I had visions of knights, battles, forests with dancing fairies and golden sunlight, castles, kings, queens, heroes, tragedy, and inspiration. I attended just three of the performances this month. Unfortunately, I missed the first part of the festival and the opera Hansel and Gretel, but I heard they were extraordinary.

Here’s a snippet they posted on their facebook page from the Four Season’s concert. (caution: The tune tends to stick in your head. I’m still humming it!)
This spectacular music festival was born from the creative spirit of Scott Lykins, a Brainerd native, and his friend John Taylor Ward. They started doing concerts here, about six years ago, in the summer while working at a local resort. This grew to more musicians, and bigger concerts, with about 100 musicians this year from the Minnesota Orchestra, Eastman School of Music, The Julliard School, and members of orchestras around the country. Many professional, accomplished musicians, came together here in the Brainerd lakes area to make music together, teach classes to the kids, welcome local musicians to play with them for the community concert, and they played for us, DSC_0242asking only a free-will donation so that it would be available to everyone. Amazing. They ended up with sponsors, grants, and very generous donations from audience members and supporters. People in the area opened their homes to the musicians. I was one of the people who brought snacks (the Chef’s gluten free scones) for the musicians on one of the performance nights. I’m here using my website to promote the event. But, that’s small potatoes compared to the board members and the creative team that put this together. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you’ve done to build up the community and share your talents. I look forward to next year’s Festival. Thank you for transporting me, and the rest of the audience, to places beyond our own midwestern homes, back in time to when Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Stravinsky, the other composers, and even the brothers Grimm were creating, dreaming, feeling, and responding to the world.
DSC_0237A few behind the scenes photos from the night I helped bring and set up the snacks for the musicians. They had the very non-glamorous old gymnasium accommodations for their warm-ups, but they made the best of it!
Scott Lykins, smiling after admiring the Chef's gluten free scones!

Scott Lykins, smiling after admiring the Chef’s gluten free scones!

The Biker Chef's delicious blueberry white chocolate and raspberry white chocolate scones.

The Biker Chef’s delicious blueberry white chocolate and raspberry white chocolate scones.

The Lakes Area Music Festival’s website has some great photos and audio clips.
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt:  What instrument(s), including your own voice, would you like to master?