Posts Tagged ‘Gert Loplitz’

Becoming A Woman for Octaves

February 12, 2011

“I bring to my leadership an understanding of the difference between singing and silence. People need living wages and safe working conditions, but they also need to cultivate the many interests and loves that make them unique. They need leadership that supports a joyful and enriching life beyond mere existence. I know that a woman for others must also be a woman for octaves; true leadership gives others a life of song.” ~ Sarah Neitz

When the kids were younger, we encouraged them to participate in various choirs.  (Okay, “encouraged” = “forced” in some instances) All three of them really can sing, and I loved going to their concerts. I still love listening to them sing anytime – in church, in the kitchen, in the car.

I grew up in a house where we sang all the time. When we were first married, it took Steve by surprise when I would break out in song while doing the dishes.  He’s used to it now.  Our children grew up in a house where we sang all the time, too. Recently, Jack mentioned that one songs on Gaelic Storm’s “What’s the Rumpus” reminds him of something that you might start to sing at a Hart Family gathering, and everyone would join in.  Like “Eddie Kucha-Kacha-Kama-Tosa-Nara-Tosa-Noma-Sama-Kama-Wacky-Brown,” an all-time favorite, or almost any song from “Joy is Like the Rain.”

My friend Chris originally suggested that we join the Civic Chorus.  She talked about how much fun it would be to be a part of making the music, to actually experience and hear the difference that your part plays in something that is so much bigger then you could possibly create by yourself. I was sold! But Monday night, when it was time to go, I couldn’t eat dinner because I was so nervous.

I am so glad I went!  It was so much fun! My friend Jess was there in the alto section, and she acted as my “choir buddy,” introducing me around, telling me where to sit, sharing her music. And not only are we going to sing for the spring concert, the Civic Chorus will be featured in the Fringe Festival, the local tie to the Gettysburg Festival, a huge celebration of music, drama and the arts held here in June.

The rest of the week was more challenging, mostly because I hit some wrong notes in trying to do what I think is the right thing. But I hope I am learning to become a woman for octaves and a woman for others.

“All God’s critters have a place in the choir /Some sing low and some sing higher/Some sing out loud on a telephone wire/And some just clap their hands or paws/Or anything they got.” ~ Bill Staines


#9 Just Do It

January 28, 2011

“Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” ~ Aristotle

This year, I am not going to let the fear that someone else will think what I am “not good enough” stop me. I will submit the Oz and Tai Chi posts. I will audition for the community choir. I will continue to ask the questions that I want answers to.

Goal number 9: Noreen-It

“Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it.” – Tallulah Bankhead


April 26, 2010

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt, “Citizenship in a Republic,” Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

One hundred years and one day later, I fell flat on my face. I was walking along, on my way to World Tai Chi Day at the Rec Park. One minute, I was enjoying the brisk, sunny morning, the next, I was kissing the sidewalk. Ouch! I picked myself up, and continued to my destination, my face marred by blood and dust.

I first heard this quote from my father, the third consecutive year that I unsuccessfully tried out for cheerleading in high school. It has since been a favorite of mine. For one thing, you have to be pretty lucky to have a dad who would know that not making the cheerleading squad again and again was a really big deal. Because of my dad, I fondly remember the days before the final try-outs, learning the routines, sharing the comaraderie and the aching muscles with my friends (who made the team), instead of moment of learning that I was not among the chosen. I don’t even remember how we found out the results. I learned something that has helped me many, many times in my life, how to handle disappointment, to be gracious in failure, and to hold my head up when I have given my best effort.

Oh, I felt like crying on Saturday morning. And yesterday, my lip hurt, my hand hurt, my knee and toe and shoulder hurt. Truth be told, I am still a little sore today. But I’m glad I kept on going to the park. It was really cool to do tai chi with close to 50 people outdoors, including my dear friend Chris! I found out that Alpha, my next door neighbor, does tai chi, and we are going to go to the outdoor class on Tuesday nights together.

I don’t want to be one of the “cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” So, even if it makes me feel silly or out-of-place, I am going to keep working on the list….channeling my inner Gert Loplitz!

Asking Questions

April 21, 2010

A man may fulfill the object of his existence by asking a question he cannot answer, and attempting a task he cannot achieve. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

Surprisingly, the “ask the questions I want answers to” goal is probably the most difficult and scary thing on my list. It doesn’t seem like it should be hard, but it is. I think it’s the fear of revealing too much about yourself to others.  But we need to open our hearts and let others in, even when it makes us feel uncomfortable. I think it’s also because the answer might require you “to do the thing you think you cannot do.” (Go to The List: 2010 on my blogroll for more on following this advice from Eleanor Roosevelt.)

Today in tai chi class, I asked if it might be easier if our instructor were to change the way the class was facing so that we might be able to see him during the later parts of the form where everyone is not as familiar. (There were new people there, and I figured that if I wanted to learn some parts better, they probably did, too, and I could see that they were struggling.) Of course, I am directionally challenged, so my idea didn’t work out as well as I hoped it might, and so we tried another direction. By the time the instructor asked me if that was working better, I felt like I had completely disrupted the whole class, and the others were making fun of me a little bit.  I hope in a very friendly way. It was readily apparent why I was named brightest blusher in my high school class. I felt like an idiot.

Now, as I write this, I realize it doesn’t sound like a big deal.  But it was for me.  I am friendly and pleasant in most settings, and I think most people who casually know me might be surprised how hard it is for me to speak up to ask for help. Am I glad I asked?  While all of the disruption was going on, I would have to say, not so much. Afterward, Kermit gave me a hug, and said he thought that what we did was very helpful. He is a nice man.

Well, old Oliver Wendell Holmes also said this: “When in doubt, do it.”

Sigh.  Okay….here I go!