Viewing: Music - View all posts

Troubled Water  

I am preparing Margaret Bonds' "Troubled Water" for performance at the Katherine L. White Invitational, and in doing so I have been reflecting on the words of the spiritual she quotes in the work:

Wade in the water,
Wade in the water, children
Wade in the water
God's gonna trouble the water

The lyrics seem to be a direct reference to this passage in the Bible: “Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude…

Read more

A Brave New World 

Does that phrase inspire dread in you as you recall Aldous Huxley’s eerily relevant book of the same title? Or does it conjure up Disney-esque images of a princess and faux prince riding a magic carpet to a soaring soundtrack? It does a little bit of both for me. Mainly, it serves to describe the impression I have of the world in 2024 as I look around and see so many things changing. 

Since the global pandemic in 2020 we have collectively experienced dramatic changes in communication, technology, customer…

Read more

Benediction of God in Solitude 

Where does this peace come from, O my God?

Where does this faith come from, with which my heart overflows?

To me who just now, uncertain, agitated,
And on the waves of doubt with every tossed wind,
Was looking for the good, the true, in the dreams of the wise,
And the peace in hearts resounding with storms?
Barely a few days have slipped on my forehead,
It seems to me that a century and a world have passed,
And that, separated from them by an immense abyss,
A new man in me is reborn and begins again.
 

Thus begins a…

Read more

Merry Christmas Eve 

Merry Christmas Eve!

Christmas is coming! With Thanksgiving being early this year, it seems as if we have been in a long season of anticipation, and with it came the annual assault on Christmas. I am not talking about attempts to "cancel Christmas"; instead, I have been chased by the relentless noise of commercialism in the media. It started with our annual tradition of watching Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, which seemed like more of a long commercial break than a showcase of artistic floats and musicians.…

Read more

Fall News from Cori Belle 

Happy Fall Y'all!

My October is packed with volleyball games, fall school events, and music! I am enjoying my new piano students, and am looking forward to performing at a private house concert tomorrow and a Hispanic Heritage Concert a week from Saturday. I am sure you are also finding it hard to find much "down time" but I hope you will squeeze some time in to enjoy music, either in person at a concert, or listening on a commute or lunch break. There are several worthwhile links at the bottom of this…

Read more

August News from Cori Belle 

Happy “New” Year!

As summer draws to a close, those of us with school-age children gear up for a new year. Stores have been anticipating this for the last two months, displaying school supplies just a week or two after school got out for the summer! We, however, didn't "bite" at the first sales, but just now are getting around to preparing for the return to school with its requisite new shoes, new notebooks, and new lunchboxes.

I love fall in the Pacific Northwest, when the morning air begins to have a hint…

Read more

July News from Cori Belle 

Happy 4th of July!

As we celebrate the birth of our country, it is a great time to reflect on the many freedoms we enjoy because of the sacrifices of so many men and women who came before us. 

During the "pause" of 2020, my friend Seiko Werts helped me to put together a patriotic program for a virtual house concert. Even though we worked in isolation, this remains one of my favorite musical projects because of the wonderful music we got to perform. The whole recital is below, with songs by Copland, Beethoven,…

Read more

May News from Cori Belle 

Happy May!

April showers bring...May flowers! We are experiencing glorious sunshine and blooming flowers in this beautiful Pacific Northwest spring...and what better way to complement the beauty of God's creation than an offering of music?

My May is full of music! I recently played for one of my daughters at the local Solo and Ensemble festival. It was her first time performing for an adjudicator, and she earned high praise for her performance on trumpet! She will also be performing in front of peers at…

Read more

March-April News from Cori Belle 

Spring Renewal

"Like Adam, we have all lost Paradise;
and yet we carry Paradise around inside of us
in the form of a longing for, almost a memory of,
a blessedness that is no more,
or the dream of blessedness that may someday be again."

Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat
 

It's Spring! Or...is it? In the grand Pacific Northwest, we have been experiencing sun, rain, hail, corn snow, and the other night - thunder and lightning! Though it is cold, I love seeing signs of life returning: cherry blossoms, tulips,…

Read more

February News from Cori Belle 

Refreshed

"The mountains are calling and I must go." John Muir

 

 

Well, maybe not the mountains exactly, but the redwoods! My family and I spent last week in the bay area enjoying a rental house nestled in the California redwoods. Beautiful homes peek out amongst these awe-inspiring trees. Just a short 10-minute walk "through the neighborhood" brought my girls and I to a series of three small "wells" and then a waterfall! I found myself trying to imagine what it must be like to be a full-time resident in this…

Read more

January News from Cori Belle 

The Piano: A History in 100 Pieces 

Pianist-writer Susan Tomes has put together a wonderful compilation of mini-essays on 100 pieces written for piano in her newest book. Though not a strictly "solo piano" list, each piece that she highlights contains writing that makes the piano an important figure in the composition - either as "star" performer, as in a piano concerto, or as an equal partner in a collaborative instrumental piece. Tomes' writing style makes this an easy read, with fun anecdotes about…

Read more

December News from Cori Belle 

Merry Christmas!

Twelve days left until the new year, twelve musical gifts for your enjoyment! 

This is my second newsletter of 2022 - I apologize for being absent for so long! I have packed this newsletter full of musical gifts that I hope you will enjoy as much as I have! My year has been full on the home front. As our girls get older, their activities require more time away which, for now, translates to more time on the road driving them places! I am loving every minute of it, but it does pull me away from…

Read more

January News from Cori Belle 

Getting Back in Shape

New Year, new habits! I have started to incorporate some daily habits on my way back to physical and musical shape! Moving a little more each day: tracking steps with a step counter, a couple days a week of weight/resistance training, getting to the piano daily for at least a ten minute read…(which tends to turn into much more!) 

Bach always seems like a good place to start. I’ve been reading through some of his partitas, which are suites consisting of dance movements. They aren’t much…

Read more

Fall 2021 News from Cori Belle 

Thanks-Seasoning

I have been woefully absent from this newsletter of late. I haven't forgotten about you - in fact, I think of you often and miss making music with and for you! This fall season has been an incredibly busy, creative one for me, albeit mostly void of music-making. 

While on hiatus from my community choir role and taking a backseat to worship leading at church, I have been navigating the waters of volunteerism at my girls' school and my church's children's ministry. Teaching, organizing, and…

Read more

May News from Cori Belle 

Performing In-Person Again 

Baby steps! I will be performing in-person this month at my kids' school arts' festival! It will be an outdoor setup with various stages and brief "acts," but it's a start! It seems appropriate to contribute to the theme of "hymns" as we give thanks to God for His provision and protection over the last year. I will be playing a few jazz arrangements of hymns, one of which is "A Mighty Fortress is Our God."

Spring Concert: Love and Light

Have you ever attended a concert that was so…

Read more

March-April News from Cori Belle 

Reflecting Light

My dad is a rockhound and silversmith. As his daughter, I have been the happy beneficiary of many of his gifts of handmade earrings, necklaces, and rings. Although he cuts and shapes stones, he does not facet them, which is the process of cutting many sides of a gemstone into a reflective shape, like the diamond in your wedding ring or the gems you see in a royal crown. The facets of such a gemstone – those many surfaces – seem an apt metaphor for my life as a pianist. 

I have many interests…

Read more

February News from Cori Belle 

Solitary Reflections

The choir that I am a part of is working on another virtual concert project for spring. This involves a great deal of solitary work: practicing, viewing rehearsal videos, and recording oneself singing or playing alone. It is a tremendous task that requires courage, stamina, and dedication. It is not unlike the rest of our mid-COVID lives. We are more isolated than usual, and the mental load of doing things differently over a long period of time is draining. I am proud that so many of our…

Read more

January News from Cori Belle 

Happy New Year! 

I hope this finds you busy with new projects and some fun things to look forward to in 2021! Although circumstances may not have changed much since turning the calendar page, I find it is always good to have some element of "newness" or celebration that our family can enjoy. For me personally, I have been revisiting music scores and trying to decide what direction to take my practicing in the new year. I am also busy preparing to begin a Children's Church program at my church, overseeing its…

Read more

Fall News from Cori Belle 

Making Things 

Hello! The last two months have been busy on the "creative front" for me. Although not exclusively in music, I have been busy making things! Last month my dad and I worked on our annual Advent devotional booklet. He writes the content and I do the graphic design and layout. This is a Christmas gift to our church congregation, and gives people a way to meditate on different aspects of Christmas. This year's booklet has as its theme the signs and symbols of Christmas.  

My girls have likewise…

Read more

Creative Programming 

As musicians, we wear many hats: performer, student, teacher, collaborator, music director, producer…Perhaps you also wear some of these: blogger, promoter, accountant, website developer, recording artist. Maybe you have been fortunate enough to be the Artistic Director at some point, the one responsible for programming the music at an event? 

I say fortunate because so many times artists perform out of obligation to record labels, producers, and teachers who determine the content of their programs. I think…

Read more

September News from Cori Belle 

A Bit of Light

I am enjoying the return of the sun after a week or so of cloudy, smoky skies, especially as we are soon to head into the drizzly, dreary days of fall in the Northwest (but not too soon, I hope!). These are trying times, and yet rather than commenting on current events I thought I would share some lighter news on the creative front! 

Recently I reopened my book of Rachmaninoff preludes and have settled into practicing a few of my favorites. Prelude Opus 23, No. 7 is one of my particular…

Read more

August News from Cori Belle 

Lemonade from Lemons 

A big THANK YOU to all who joined us for the premiere of "God Bless America," our first ever Indie Musikhaus virtual concert! We had over 50 people join us for the premiere, and the YouTube video has been viewed over 300 times. Imagine trying to fit you all into my living room...! What strange times we live in, and how grateful I am for opportunities to connect and make music even from a distance. If you missed it, you can still catch the performance here through Summer 2021. 

Of course…

Read more

July News from Cori Belle 

God Bless America 

Next Sunday, July 19th, at 3:00 pm, is our "God Bless America" virtual concert! Seiko and I have been having so much fun putting this together. The spirituals are such a wonderful reminder of hope in dark times - we think they will be an encouragement to you. I hope you are looking forward to joining us. More information will be coming this week on how to tune in! Here is our full program: 

Over My Head, I Hear Music in the Air, arranged by Uzee Brown, Jr. 

​Variations on a Shaker Melody…

Read more

June News from Cori Belle 

Forward Motion

Happy Summer! The weight of virtual homeschooling has been lifted (for now) and we have been loving the sunshine, as well as some recovered freedom of movement as our county entered Phase 2: salons opened, in-person gymnastics classes re-started, and we have been meeting friends at the beach and enjoying backyard barbecues. As well, new projects are in the works. My girls are selling at a local Farmer's Market and have been busy crafting jewelry, soap, and stuffed animals. I am excited to…

Read more

May News from Cori Belle 

A Moment in Time

What strange times we are living in! This “pause” has been, for some, a time for reflection and new projects. For me, it has been more of a shift in how I spend my time. Music has taken a backseat to the more pressing duties of motherhood, which for the past two months have included homeschooling, counseling and entertaining children, and general upkeep of home and family. We’ve acquired a basketball hoop, a drone, and a new bike! We’ve resurrected two old laptops for online schooling. We’ve…

Read more