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A Short Story Full of Thanks

abstract_noteOnce upon a time 40 years ago, a young woman got a full scholarship to a small college in North Carolina.  The school did not have a full music department, but it had a wonderful music Professor who was very encouraging to the young woman and her dreams of becoming a vocal music performer.  This professor got her many solo spots at local churches, folk music sites, and concerts and helped her prepare a senior concert that would provide a demo tape for the next pursuits.  Meanwhile the young woman majored in psychology and practiced and practiced and practiced her singing.  In her spare time, the young woman worked on voter registration, environmental justice, and anti-war efforts while developing a quilt project in Appalachia with buyers in New York.

A concert hall was rented, musicians hired and reception orchestrated.  Several lovely dresses were purchased for the various sections of the recital.   Advertising was designed and a sound team was engaged for recording.  The concert was slated for May Day.   But that concert was never to happen, because on Easter Sunday in early April the young woman found herself in the hospital undergoing massive surgery for kidney tumors and stones.

It was a slow and steady recovery process which cost a great deal of money.  There was no running or jogging and weight lifting to keep in shape and the muscles toned – breath supported.

The Professor felt very badly and quietly cancelled all the preparations and when the young woman was released found tutoring to help her graduate on time and go on to graduate school of a different kind.  He also arranged for a chapel in the woods, a comfortable stool and a reel to reel tape recorder to be set up for a small recital to be recorded.  One duet partner, the Philosophy Professor, even made time to join the small group and complete the duet section.  Over the last 3 weeks of school the arduous first part of the concert was recorded reel to reel as the young woman sat on the stool and the professor accompanied the vocals.  The Irish and local folks songs, musical numbers and contemporary pieces were not completed.

The young woman went other directions, but when she was discouraged, she would find a way to listen to her tape and found courage again.  The reel to reel tape was translated on to a small cassette.  Over the next years that tape was played so many times it stretched and distorted, but it still brought comfort.

Then the cassette player gave up and there was no way to hear the music.

Last year 2011, the young woman – now much matured wished to hear her music once again.  She could not find anyone to copy the cassette in its sad shape onto a CD.   Then she thought of Jannie Funster the amazing poet, songwriter and recorder of Funsterland in Austin, Texas  – who said yes she could figure it out….Jannie arranged, for a small fee, for her sound guru – GEORGE to take the tape and transfer it onto a CD.  George not only took out some of the distortion noise but also removed some background interference – it is still in an empty church and some of the words are unclear, but it is now on CD and the woman’s MP3 and on her computer.

I listened to it on my cellphone during my last morning walk….and all the energy and feelings of accomplishment returned.   All the joy of practicing, and people caring, and every effort being made to attain a goal is right there and fills my whole being.   It is the best concert ever.

I am left with only the humblest of thank you’s to say aloud.  It means so much to me I do not know how to thank each one of you.

Thank you!

Mr. Robinson, Jannie Funster, the Postal Service and George the Sound man.

Enclosed with this Thank you note, Please find a small piece of the concert I wish to share with you….

This is an excerpt from an arduous 4 part HYMN by Ralph Vaughn Williams.

Patricia’s Recital Track 3

Did someone do something special for you that you would like to share the story of such gift?

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.

Related Reading you might also enjoy
Happy Thanks Birthday
A Divine Listener
A Quiet and Necessary Thank You Note
An Apple of Appreciation for the Teacher 

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28 Responses to “A Short Story Full of Thanks”

  1. Jannie Funster Says:

    Ahhhh Patricia, it was a long journey to get the enjoyment back from your concert. So glad you are happy with the CD.

    Do you still have the original reel-to-reel?

    I bet your gowns for the concert were lovely, but not as lovely as you in them.

    Yes, someone did something VERY special for me. A woman I had only known maybe 6 months or so, and only in cyberspace, via blogging, arranged to have roses and champagne arrive for My Big Show on May 10th, 2009 at the release party / concert for my first CD — and that woman was YOU!! Thanks again from the far reaches of my heart for that.

    And for being mentioned in this nice post.

    Jannie Funster recently posted..A Purring Cat Reminds YouMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Thank you Jannie..

    I have a piece of music to put up on this post….I guess we are having technical problems….I hope you will come back and hear it?

    The gowns were lovely and were very flattering to me…I made the red and green flannel one into coveralls for my first born kiddo and then had enough left over for a cat – doll out of the fabric. The other dress was soft pink chiffon…lots of seed pearls…very formal for the formal parts of the program

    I have the reel to reel in my chest of drawers – yes I do still have it

  2. Vered Says:

    Such a heartwarming story! You guys are amazing-both of you.
    Vered recently posted..My Life Is Kinda BoringMy Profile

  3. patricia Says:

    I hope you will come back to hear the music when we get it up and running
    Thank you

  4. Jannie Funster Says:

    Wonderful choice. I am reminded that good performances, such as this keep going strong and reveal deeper nuances each listening.



    patricia Reply:

    Thank you – today it makes me wish I could still sing…my voice is not coming back after several years of working at it…same 6 note limit….makes this CD even more special

  5. Talon Says:

    Simply beautiful, Patricia. I hope that voice is never silenced.

    Thanks to all who restored such an amazing gift.

    patricia Reply:

    Thank you, it was a wonderful gift….and makes me feel grand. I wish all the songs had been recorded but alas not

    It is a bit of comfort to know that other folks have lost their ability to sing also because of this same condition. :)

  6. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    Now THAT was a fantastic story! It made me smile from ear to ear :)

    patricia Reply:

    Thank you for coming by and reading it. I just wanted to share it because it meant so much to me and I wanted to give the gift of my music and all the joy it brings me.

  7. Terrill Welch Says:

    Patricia I had just read your story and was listening to the music clip when my sweetie came along, stopped, listened and then said “who was that? It is really nice!”

    So I read the blog post to him. By the time I got to the end I was fighting back tears which did not surface when I read it to myself… strange how that happens sometimes.

    I bet you still sing beautifully but that piece is absolutely viscerally and spiritually engaging. Thank you so much for sharing both the story and your singing.
    Terrill Welch recently posted..THE SEA TO ME original oil painting by Terrill WelchMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Thank you for coming by These words and this music meant a great deal to me and I wanted to share it.

    I have moments when I wish the Irish and folks songs – musical numbers had also been recorded, but there was not enough strength to do more than this at the time There are 10 good tracks on the cd.

    I can barely sing now at all…though sometimes I just do with my silly 6 notes left to me….Sometimes that makes me cry too!

    I had growths removed off my throat a few years ago and have not found recovery yet..

    Thank you for your kind words and from dropping by

    Terrill Welch Reply:

    It was my pleasure and all the more important to be able to recover those songs considering that your singing now mostly on the inside – listening to the notes of self. Your new/old CD is a treasure.
    Terrill Welch recently posted..THE SEA TO ME original oil painting by Terrill WelchMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Thank you

  8. Barbara Swafford Says:

    Hi Patricia,

    Your story brought tears to my eyes. For you, I am saddened because your voice doesn’t allow you to sing any more, but yet when I listened to the clip, I felt joy in my heart – knowing that which brought you such comfort, is now available for you to listen to whenever you choose.

    In some ways it’s like you’ve come full-circle – now being able to share with others the beautiful singing voice which was part of your past.

    What an accomplishment – both your singing ability and now having this music clip.

    Barbara Swafford recently posted..Everything Old is NewMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Thank you so much for coming by…I did so what to share this accomplishment with others and YOU…

    What a community we have…and it is centered around you and your trusty blog….aren’t we lucky for you!

  9. Melody | Deliberate Receiving Says:

    Wow. Wow. Wow. Patricia… just….wow.

    I want to share something with you: I also lost my voice. I’ve been singing all of my life and even performed professionally for a while (I was not an opera singer. I sang Blues and Jazz) and suddenly simply wasn’t able to get a sound out. My speaking voice was unaffected.

    Last year, I started to inch toward a solution. I found a voice coach who gave me some insight (I never had the courage to work with her. It was too scary). She told me that it was not my voice that changed but me. And I had to find the new voice that went along with the new me. Holy crap. So, I set the intention to find the new voice. This was very different, since I’d been trying to get the old voice to come back up until then.

    A few weeks later, I had a major ephiphany about allowing (I wrote about it on my blog. The Secret Behind the Secret Post). I spent an entire night in a shamanic ceremony trying to find the frequency of allowing and fully being in the moment. And when I found it, when it finally locked into place, I realized that I was singing. I hadn’t made the decision to sing. It simply came out when I was in a place of complete non-judgment. It’s a very different voice. When I try to sing the way I used to, nothing comes out. But when I let this new voice come out, it just does. Now, I’m not sure what I’m capable of in terms of sound and range, but I’m really looking forward to exploring it (and suddenly the voice coach doesn’t sound scary anymore). It’s like learning to sing all over again. None of the old stuff applies. I am a new person, and I have a new voice. And I can see how this voice is much more authentic.

    You know what? I didn’t think that I was ready to write about this yet. But perhaps I am. Wow. You elicited this from me. :)

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful, joyful part of yourself. I know that even though it makes you feel good, it can also trigger thoughts of NOT being able to sing like that anymore, which will feel terrible. Perhaps my little story will give you hope. Your voice isn’t necessarily gone, just different. And when you find it, you’ll sing again. :)

    Huge hugs to you,

    Melody | Deliberate Receiving recently posted..What To Do When the Vibrational Ladder Doesn’t WorkMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Thank you Melody,
    I have been trying to sing alto with the Peace Choir – fun songs, but that is not working…

    I liked your idea of a shamanic experience and of course your SPA experience for the holidays really has me thinking about that too….I think I do not know what to plan or work on right now, because a new person is emerging…and I am running through so much memory stuff it is amazing…

    Letting go is still on my plate, but maybe I need to ALLOW..
    I have been having some resentment about needing to earn money again…I have been working since I was 12 and I am just tired…..I am definitely in a neutral zone…of change…

    I am not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel
    I was hoping your would come by….thank you for your good words

    I just knew I wanted to share this gift.

    I also want to say that I had a huge range and sang a whole section of Judy Collins and Joni Mitchell…etc in the middle section of this concert, which was never recorded…

  10. Tammy Says:

    Beautiful… so glad you posted this and shared it with everyone. I’m not online very much anymore… and I sure miss everyone. You have a magical voice… very touching. Love… and hugs to you.

    patricia Reply:

    Oh Tammy,
    You share your stunning paintings on fb and on line…I just wanted you to see I had an art form too..

    Thank you so much for coming by….I miss you very much…I loved your writing a wish I could purchase one of your painting….

  11. Davina Haisell Says:


    Your voice is outstanding — you do have a gift. I’m thrilled that Jannie was able to make this possible for all of us to hear. What a wonderful start to your year. Of course there are bittersweet feelings here, given the circumstances, but I feel honoured to have been able to hear you singing, my friend. Very ethereal. Beautiful. Soulful. Thank you.
    Davina Haisell recently posted..I saw farther in the fogMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Thank you so much Davina for coming by….I wanted to share this lovely moment with you…

    It is my gift to share

    Isn’t Jannie great….all in it’s perfect timing :)

  12. Davina Haisell Says:

    You’re welcome! Thanks for making me aware of this. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this for the world. And yes, Jannie is fabulous :)

    patricia Reply:

    :) :) 😉 😉 Total admiration society….we are all so talented…it truly amazes me
    Wonders never cease

  13. Sam Juliano Says:

    This was a deeply-moving story and a sterling example of the triumph of the human spirit. A beautiful performance indeed, and one imbued with a special glow after all the adversity.
    Sam Juliano recently posted..The 10 Best Films of 2011My Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Thank you for your kind words Sam
    Ah those ups and downs of life…turn it into a gift to share!

  14. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. isn’t that just wonderful – what can be done in this day and age. You do have a beautiful voice – regardless of whether we can hear it now … you can still in your heart … and the songs will now be there forever for us all to hear.

    Life can be difficult to put it mildly … but you are alive and that’s one blessing many don’t have …

    I think your gesture for Jannie and her show – of roses and champagne being delivered – must have given the Funster family loads of tears, laughter and joy – let alone her Big Show singing – such a generous heart …

    .. and now Jannie helping you get over the technical difficulties of recreating your voice – it’s just wonderful .. and as Terrill’s husband said ‘how wonderful’ …

    I loved it – and it’s been captured so well for you ..

    Fantastic – great new year beginnings .. a real treat. Cheers from across the pond – Hilary

    patricia Reply:

    It was quite a gift and I am so grateful
    Thank you for your kind words