Lorian Bartle has a new, improved website! Audio clips, photos, blog posts, updates, and event listings can be found there. To learn more about Ms. Bartle’s teaching program and performance activities as a soloist and an ensemble player, please visit the new updated website.
I am so proud of my students who participated in the annual Barnes & Noble recital! Fifteen of my students performed a range of solo and duo music, including several first-time performers. At the end of the performance, I played a classical guitar arrangement of “Silent Night” as the audience raised up their voices in song to herald in the holiday season. Every year, the Foothills Music Teacher Association takes over the Barnes & Noble cafe during the second weekend of December to fill the air with the sounds of music for the holiday shoppers and families of music students. Here are some pictures of my students performing:
Springtime is talent show season! Many of my students participate in their school talent shows this time of year. This is a great opportunity for them to showcase their talents for their peers, teachers, and student families. The guitar is a versatile instrument, giving performers the option of performing solo or ensemble works. This past spring, one of my students performed classical fingerstyle arrangements of traditional folk songs during his school talent show. I enjoyed the opportunity to accompany him. As the venerable Romantic composer Frédéric Chopin once said, “There is nothing more beautiful than a guitar, save perhaps two.”
It is a joy as a guitar teacher to watch my students take their musical interests in different directions. One fascinating aspect of the guitar is the intricate process of building the instrument. Francois Vadeboncoeur recently moved back to Colorado and opened a guitar workshop in his home where he custom builds guitars out of various woods.
On the other end of the spectrum, one of my Kindergarten students builds guitars out of a very different medium–legos!
Wedding season started off with a bang on Memorial weekend. I performed a wedding ceremony and reception at Wellshire Event Center in Denver, playing “Here Comes the Sun” as the bride walked down the aisle. Her choice of music was especially fitting because the sun came out for the wedding following heavy rain storms about an hour before the ceremony. The couple’s special requests for the ceremony also included an instrumental rendition of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” a piece that works very well as a classical guitar arrangement.
It was a joy to perform for the Denver Public Library’s Fresh City Life 2015 performance series this weekend. Included in the program were classical guitar arrangements of traditional carols as well as Renaissance and Baroque music. I performed in Schlessman hall in the main library branch. Here is a bird’s eye perspective of the performance from the second floor of the library:
Today, I performed a set of Christmas, holiday, and Hanukkah pieces at Clear Creek Care Center. Included in the set were traditional German carols and several Christmas instrumental arrangements by my high school guitar teacher, Ed Vollmer. I look forward to performing at Denver Public Library, several senior communities, and Jefferson Unitarian Church for Christmas Eve service later in the month!
I have just finished recording Billy Holiday’s expressive jazz tune “Darn That Dream” and the serene spiritual “Amazing Grace.” Billy Holiday is best known for her song “God Bless the Child,” but I feel in love with “Darn That Dream” after hearing it performed by The Ever Hopefuls at a JUC First Friday Open Mic. “Amazing Grace” has been interpreted and re-interpreted in countless performances over the span of many generations. I have enjoyed coming up with my own rendition of this classic spiritual. Sound samples are posted on the audio page of my website. Happy listening!
This past Saturday, I played at the Golden Farmers’ Market. It was a sunny, beautiful day and a lot of fun to play in a community setting. The farmer’s market had generous amounts and a variety of fresh veggies. If a hail storm or other surprises from Mother Nature disrupt my own garden’s growth, I now have a backup plan for enjoying summer produce!
I performed a two-hour set this morning at the Ridge at 38 Criterium. Seven road bike races took place throughout the morning and early afternoon in Wheat Ridge. In addition to the bike race, festivities, including live music, took place at the event. I performed a blend of acoustic/vocal and instrumental pieces. After I concluded my performance, I enjoyed watching the races on the Green.
It has been a busy spring performing at many new venues! In the past few weeks, I performed classical guitar music for a yoga class at The Point Athletic Club in Lakewood. The following week, I performed classical guitar and vocal/acoustic music at the Wheat Ridge Kite Flite Festival. Thanks to Seyfer Automotive, I was able to plug into the PA system and provide live music for the Anderson Park festivities. Then, a ribbon cutting for my business “Lorian Bartle Strings” took place at the Golden Chamber of Commerce Visitor’s Center (see above picture). Cindy Burgess of Rodan and Fields also had a ribbon cutting event that afternoon in combination with mine. Friday of that week, I performed at the Wheat Ridge Business Association progressive ribbon cutting and open house events at Peter Damian Fine Jewelery & Antiques and Posey Girl Floral Boutique. Finally, I performed last night at the first annual Taste of Golden event sponsored by the Golden Chamber of Commerce.
This past Friday, I gave a morning performance at the Lakewood Atria Applewood Memory Care facility. I played a combination of classical guitar pieces and song selections reflecting the months of January, February, and March. The passing of Pete Seeger, Martin Luther King Day, Valentine’s Day, and St. Patrick’s day were represented in the song selections. In addition, I performed several new Spanish pieces I have been working on as well as “Ave Maria” and Prelude in C, two pieces I never tire of playing. Here I am performing:
During the past two weeks, I finished recording four classical guitar pieces. I posted excerpts from each of them on the “audio” page of my website. Included in my recordings is the timeless Schubert version of “Ave Maria.” In addition, I recorded one of Bach’s most famous works, Prelude in C, Spanish composer Tárrega’s “Lágrima,” and the stately Pavane III by Renaissance composer Luis Milán. Enjoy!
My grandmother developed dementia toward the end of her life. She had difficulty remembering who I was–at times not recalling that I was her granddaughter. Yet, she could recall songs in their entirety. Although the recollections of her present and more recent life were slipping away, her musical memories were intact!
I came across a fascinating article in the New York Times that describes the powerful role music can play in the lives of those afflicted with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Click here to read it.
Photo of my grandmother, Hildegard Meyer-Wendt, playing the lute (ca. 1928)
What a summer it has been so far! I have performed in a range of settings that have included a cocktails and canvas art show, a happy hour, a Sunday luncheon, and church services. In addition, I have continued to perform afternoon and evening sets at retirement communities and memory care facilities. Whether performing background music or performing before an attentive audience, I enjoy the unique challenges of adapting to different situations and meeting new people along the way.
Today, I sang Paul Winter’s Missa Gaia: A Mass in Celebration of Mother Earth as an alto singer with the Jefferson Unitarian Church choir at the 8, 9:15 and 11 services of Choir Sunday. Recordings of a tundra wolf, a humpback whale and seals intermingle with traditional Greek and Latin liturgical texts, the words of St. Francis, and writings from the Book of Job set to soaring twentieth-century melodies.
As the JUC choir activities conclude for the season, I am gearing up to perform classical/folk guitar sets at retirement communities during the summer months.
Upon my return to Spring Ridge Park Assisted Living Facility, I had the opportunity to play for residents I had performed for several times before as well as new residents who had recently moved into the home. I played several patriotic works: “Battle Hymn of the Republic, “The Caisson Song,” and Robert Schumann’s “Soldier’s March,” an energetic work originally written for piano. Also included in the nine-piece set was a classical guitar rendition of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” a piece that several of the residents hummed along with. Andrew York’s classical work “Snowflight” evokes the image of snowflakes falling from the sky, a piece which augered the May snowstorm that arrived in the Colorado mountains a few days later!
Tonight, I performed French singer Édith Piaf’s signature song “La vie en rose” as well as the traditional Spanish classical guitar piece “Romanza” at the First Friday JUC Open Mic. I drew the first performance slot and then enjoyed an eclectic musical evening of storytelling, blues, country, jazz, and other musical genres.
I had the wonderful opportunity to sing the choral work “Draw the Circle Wide” as part of a group of five soloists in the “Draw the Circle Wide” Unitarian Universalist Front Range Music Concert that took place in the Broomfield United Methodist Church. The Foothills Unitarian Church choir director put together a creative arrangement of solo singing and inspirational readings that were interwoven with the rich sounds of the large choir. It was a musical eye-opener to sing this and other choral works under various choir directors with members of the Front Range Unitarian Universalist choirs.
Easter is a very special holiday for me–always a reminder of renewal and reawakening that is perpetually regenerated throughout the unpredictable cycle of life. In anticipation of Easter, I decorated my house with vases of pussy willow branches, a tradition that stems from Eastern Europe during Palm and Easter Sundays. I sang Ralph Vaughan Williams’s “Easter” from Five Mystical Songs and “This Joyful Eastertide” with the JUC Choir on Easter Sunday followed by a foothills hike that took place in a warm glow of afternoon sunlight. The following day, I performed a set of pieces at the Spring Ridge Park Assisted Living facility, several of which were inspired by Easter and the advent of spring. Included in the ten-piece set were the sing-along songs “You Are My Sunshine” and “Edelweiss” as well as Andrew York’s compositions “Chant,” “Willow,” and “Heath.” York’s guitar works evoke the beauty of Easter choral music, longstanding Easter traditions, and the beauty of an open, uncultivated heathland, a fitting way to musically express the joys of spring to the residents of Spring Ridge.
This evening, I performed a set of pieces at Spring Ridge Park Assisted Living facility. This is my second time performing at Spring Ridge, a facility for adults experiencing Alzheimer’s Disease or other forms of dementia. I performed four classical works as well as a set of six songs. The activities director made song packets for the residents to sing along with me. Included in the song set were the traditional patriotic song “God Bless America” along with the uplifting song “The Happy Wanderer.” The latter, originally titled “Der fröhliche Wanderer,” was written by Friedrich-Wilhelm Möller shortly after World War II. The composer’s sister, Edith Möller, conducted a performance of the song with the Obernkirchen Children’s Choir, many of whose members were war orphans, at the 1953 Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod. A BBC radio broadcast catapulted the song to fame and the song was subsequently translated into several languages. The song has laughter written into its refrain and expresses the feeling of joy one feels while hiking in the mountains.
Tonight, along with twelve other performers and groups, I performed at the Jefferson Unitarian Church First Friday Open Mic. My contributions were Bach’s Air on a G String and a Stevie Wonder song. The evening featured an array of storytelling, blues, folk music, jazz, and bagpipe music. I enjoy very much playing classical music in this type of eclectic musical setting. It is my goal to play classical music in a variety of different locations. I observe with sadness that classical music’s development and continuation often takes place in an ivory tower and I aspire to connect classical repertoire with my community-at-large.
I left my home on this snowy, dark evening to perform at the Golden Pond Retirement Community, a seven-acre landscaped site nestled adjacent to North Table Mountain, an imposing desert mesa. I intermixed classical repertoire, three Bach pieces and a Milán piece, with six traditional American folk songs. The folk song set included “Shenandoah,” “Red River Valley,” and “Yellow Rose of Texas.” These songs derive from the time of America’s restless westward expansion and remain a part of our national identity.
Today, I played Bach’s Prelude from Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007 and Andrew York’s “Willow” at the Jefferson Unitarian Church morning services, and again at the afternoon service held on the Evergreen Campus. The prelude was originally written for cello, but was transcribed for guitar. The minister opened the morning worship service with a quotation from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Following the call to worship, I played Bach’s Prelude, mindful of the mysterious, invisible power music exerts over my life and the lives of others.
This evening, I played a set of songs at the Spring Ridge Park Assisted Living facility located in Wheat Ridge. I started out the set with the spirituals “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hand” and “Amazing Grace,” songs that the residents spontaneously sang along with! I continued with Stevie Wonder’s “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” and “I Just Called to Say I Love You” as well as John Lennon’s “Grow Old with Me,” contemporary love songs that seemed a fitting tribute to St. Valentine. I turned to the classic American songs “Shenandoah,” “Yellow Rose of Texas,” and the beautiful, nostalgic “Red River Valley” to close the performance for the residents. I will be performing a set of pieces at Spring Ridge Park Assisted Living on a monthly basis.
This afternoon, I performed John Lennon’s “Grow Old with Me” and Stevie Wonder’s “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” at The Katrina Twitty Voice Studio “Sing-in the New Year” recital. I accompanied myself on the guitar and prepared upbeat, contemporary strumming patterns for Stevie Wonder’s ebullient love song.
Tonight, I played Laurindo Almeida’s classical guitar arrangement of Bach’s Air on the G String and Luis de Milán’s Pavane III at the Jefferson Unitarian Church Christmastide Music Service. The Pavane was originally written for the vihuela, a Renaissance instrument that closely resembles the guitar. Air on a G String is an arrangement by German violinist August Wilhelm (1845-1908) of the second movement of Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major BWV 1068. Both pieces are compact, highly expressive musical works that are adaptable to being performed in a variety of settings.
During the Christmas Eve service that followed the Christmastide Music service, I sang with the Jefferson Unitarian Church Choir “Deep Peace,” a mysterious, ethereal choral work by Bill Douglas. The text of this work is part of a traditional Gaelic blessing. The service concluded with every member of the congregation holding a candle in the darkened chapel while singing “Silent Night.” Upon exiting the church, I was greeted by a thick, fresh layer of snow that heralded the arrival of Christmas.
Today, I sang the alto solo parts for the “Alleluia” and “Agnus Dei” of Glenn McClure’s St. Francis in the Americas: A Caribbean Mass with the Jefferson Unitarian Church choir at the 9:15 and 11:00 Jefferson Unitarian Church services. The choir was accompanied by the Pan Jumbies Steel Drum Band. The rhythms of the steel drum band blended well with the complex rhythms of the vocal music, creating a moving Caribbean-inspired liturgical sound.
This evening, I performed John Lennon’s “Grow Old with Me” at the Jefferson Unitarian Church First Friday Open Mic. This song was inspired by the poetry of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning and was one of the final works written by Lennon. Lennon recorded this work as a demo in 1980. I performed along with seven other open mic performers in the sanctuary hall of the church.
Today, I performed a solo work, “All the World is One,” by singer/songwriter Peter Mayer at the 9:15 and 11 A.M. services for the Jefferson Unitarian Church. The sheet music was not available on Peter Mayer’s website, so I learned the melody and lyrics of the song by listening to a Peter Mayer YouTube video and added my own guitar chords. “All the World is One” is a very lyric-driven, folkloric song that offers a creative means to express human interdependence and connectivity.
Yesterday evening, I rehearsed American composer Glenn McClure’s St. Francis in the Americas: A Caribbean Mass as an alto singer with the Jefferson Unitarian Church Choir. The mass features an eclectic mix of traditional and ethnic sounds. The JUC Choir will be performing this work on December 16th. I look forward to celebrating the holiday season with a musical work I have not heard or sung before. It isn’t that I don’t enjoy the many renditions of the traditional Christmas Carols, The Nutcracker, and the Messiah, but I welcome a new musical way to express “‘Tis the season!”
Last Wednesday evening while the majority of Denver was hunkering down to watch the Obama-Romney debate, I joined the Jefferson Unitarian Church Choir. Today, I sang the lovely Kyrie from Paul Winter’s Missa Gaia, A Mass in Celebration of Mother Earth during the 11:00 service. Although I directed elementary school choirs for twelve years, it has been almost that long since I have sung in a SATB choir. What a joy it is to be singing in the midst of a sea of voices and sharing the beauty of the Kyrie with others!