Natalie demonstrates the fine art of turning a straw into an oboe. Try it at home!

(South Bend, Indiana) My amazing clarinet teacher Jason Gresl collaborated with some of his woodwind-playing friends to present the final Muses Workshop of the season Sunday at the Jewish Federation of St. Joseph Valley, with a program fittingly titled: WOODWORKS!  Jennet Ingle was featured on oboe, Rebecca Hovan on flute, Deanna Emmons on alto sax, Elizabeth Waldburger on clarinet (both A and Bb), Steve Ingle on bassoon, and, of course, Jason Gresl on Bb and bass clarinet.  Oh, and we the audience were pressed into service, attempting as we did to turn some cleverly fashioned soda straws into oboes and partially filled bottles of water into flutes.  You had to have been there to appreciate it, and I do hope you will join us in 2018 for the next season of The Muses Workshop when Jason Gresl and friends present another series of chamber music that steps out of the ordinary.  And for those who demand instant gratification, please visit Jason’s site at: http://www.claricello.com/muse.html.


Clarinets rock! Jason Gresl (left) and Elisabeth Waldburger perform Sonata for 2 clarinets by Francis Poulenc.

Chamber music that steps out of the ordinary.

Jennet Ingle (left) on oboe and Deanna Emmons on alto sax.

Steve Ingle gives voice to the bassoon.

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Avenida de los Pinos

(Harbert, Michigan) We always stop to savor the avenue of pines, or Avenida de los Pinos, when we’re out and about our corner of paradise.

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Postcards from Gary

Gary, Indiana was looking serene in the evening sun the other Sunday as I passed through town on the South Shore Line.

One more from the railroad.

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Earspasm Music

The amazing Michael Lowenstern closed out the recent Chicago Clarinet Symposium with an amazing performance on the bass clarinet. I have attached a link to his website below. Do check it out. The man is a gift to music, and he gladly shares his gift.

The wonderful world of Michael Lowenstern is yours to explore:


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Cat Eyed

Jacqui says: “Hey, isn’t it time for my monthly dose of Frontline(R) Plus for Cats?

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Sherry Manison guided us to some great birds today at Warren Dunes State Park.

(Warren Dunes State Park, Michigan) When the warblers are on the move, we move to this gem of a state park just up the Red Arrow Highway and bird until we drop.  Or at least until the warblers stop dropping out of the sky.  We hooked up with ace birder Sherry Manison at the Floral Lane entrance to the park this morning and got our binoculars on such worthy warblers as a showy male Blackburnian in sunlight and a male Mourning, not mention a couple of Canadas, a Blackpoll, and, well, I’m too worn out to complete the list. Let’s just say we were in AWE, or in Abundant Warblers Everywhere. Just say we had a great outing, and we are so happy to have hooked up with our friend Sherry.  She can both find and identify the birds, unlike the two of us.   So you know: the spring birding season—for us at least—ends on June 3 with a road trip to the Kankakee Sands area of northwest Indiana which is burgeoning with such unusual (for us) birds as: Bell’s Vireo, Blue Grosbeak, Lark Sparrow, Grasshopper and Henslow’s Sparrows, Dickcissels, White-eyed Vireo, and Orchard Oriole.  Bird, bird—bird is the word!

Sherry (left) and Natalie confirm the most recent sighting.

We removed this Box Turtle from the trail so no tree-gazing birder would inadvertently step on it.

The best I could do on the bird front: a Rose-breasted Grosbeak in silhouette.

Nothing wrong with birding from the sitting position.

Postcard from Warren Dunes State Park. This is the Yellow Birch Trail, which is beloved by birders.

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Amazing Grace

How sweet the sound.

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