A Regular Hootenanny

Last night I went to a party thrown by Karen, the music director of Windsong, and her partner Holly. That’s Karen in the Windsong shirt under the lights, with Windsong singers Sarah and Amanda. It wasn’t just Windsong there, but we made up a good share of the party.

Husband’s and children were most welcome, but after a quick scan of where I’ve been emotionally lately, Todd and I decided it might be best for me to attend alone. Love them dearly, but some days, the last thing I need is more time with my kids.

What a man, what a man, what a man, what a mighty good man.

Karen and Holly had quite a spread, and most everyone brought stuff too.   There was so much food, you couldn’t see the counters in the kitchen. I had a plate, and then a few hours later, had another plate! 

It was so nice to have time to socialize with the women of Windsong. Most of the season we’re all business. Rehearsal for two hours on Sundays, in and out, rushing off to our lives. Having time to sit and chat was delightful.

Here is Melody, second soprano. Second sopranos rule.

Here is Kate and her little baby girl, whose cheeks I could barely resist. And her curls! And her little baby biceps!

Look at those legs. She just started walking.

Of course there was music. Lots of singing. Someone brought their guitar. Kathy brought a bag of percussion instruments to thrust into unsuspecting hands. The members of Windsong who were in attendance sang Away Ye Merry Lassies, a jaunty little cacophonous tune we’ve sung in concert, 

“I told me mum I was goin’ out, she asked what I was all about, I asked if I could take the broom, I’m goin’ to meet the girls//Cause it’s the girls night out, away ye merry lassies, get your brooms get ’em out, we’ll ride the wind tonight.”  

Here is Kathy with her drum. She’s the music director at the Unity church we attend. I forgot my camera and felt lost without it, so I just took pics on hers all evening.

Twenty two members of Windsong just got back from a conference in Chicago, where 600 women singers came together to perform and share music. They learned a little ditty while they were away and were happy to perform it for us, a song about singing with your feet, and also something about loving your vagina, or taking good care of it, or nude sunbathing. Sunshine and vaginas, is all I remember. Something like that. Right Cindy?    

While in Chicago, Kathy Face Booked something about improv singing, and how fun it was, and I responded to her status update that it sounded like hell. Not knowing what you were supposed to sing? Being put on the spot? No thank you!

Why do I tell her these things? Of course before the night was over, she had me singing improv.  

But she was right. It was really cool. You stand in a small circle, it was Kathy, Ginger, Kelly, Kate, Cindy and me. Kathy started by singing a random rythym and then everyone else joined in, one at a time, adding the rythym they felt in their heart, and then Kathy pointed to me, my turn!, and I didn’t know what to do! But these women are so talented and amazing, and you just feel like they’ve got you, and you feel safe, and they are not judging you, so I let go and joined in, and soon all six of us were making this beautiful music, and you can’t worry, you have to be right there in the moment, for it to work. It somehow all melds together, and flows and twists and turns and then the energy sort of disappates and we all intuitively knew when to wrap it up. It was awesome. 

This is Maria(red), Ellen, and Chris on the right. Maria and her new husband just got back from their honeymoon.    

That’s me in the purple shirt. All alone. Was it something I said?

Here is Karen, our fearless leader, enjoying a purple popsicle.

One of the highlights of the party for me, was a quick little moment I had meeting Karen’s dad. He was so cute. We were getting food in the kitchen, and we introduced ourselves, and I told him I sang in Windsong, and he told me he was Karen’s dad, and he just had this proud little twinkle in his eye. Karen is an amazing music director, she leads not just Windsong, but another more professional audition choir and I think maybe a church choir too? God only knows how much work goes into these endeavors and what else she does. The music she picks is so inspiring. I feel priveleged to sing under her direction with so many phenomenally talented women. 

And speaking of talent, here is Karin, our incredible pianist.

Chris below in the purple hat has a gorgeous singing voice. She’s also a terrific writer and a colassal wise ass.

And here we have Kelly in the floral hat. We wear uppity little hats like these for one of our numbers called,

“Why can’t you girls be nice?”

The party was still in full swing when I left. I had to park half a mile down the quiet road, and as I walked under the stars with my empty chicken salad bowl, I thought about how overwhelmed I’ve been feeling lately. How claustrophobic I often get at home. How I’ve missed singing during the summer break from Windsong and church choir. How good it is to get out and do something without the kids. I love my children so very much, but there is more to me than being their mother. It’s all about balance, and when you are home with them, especially having homeschooled Riley since January, finding that balance is sometimes precarious.

So…thank you Karen and Holly for a most lovely time!

I’ve got to make a point to hop on my broom more often.

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11 Responses to A Regular Hootenanny

  1. Kelly says:

    Really lovely comments Michelle! I enjoyed reading it! I loved our improv session!

  2. Carrie Link says:

    There is MUCH more to you than being their mother, or HT’s wife, love him as I do!

  3. Amanda says:

    Never mind the broom, I think you need more improv singing!

    “you can’t worry, you have to be right there in the moment”

    works for me 😀

  4. Wanda says:

    Anything that breaks us out of the suction of our lives is a good thing. Sounds like a wonderful evening!

  5. Jerri says:

    Love everything about this post, but I’m CRAZY about the broom/girls night out song. CRAZY.

    Being with smart, talented, generous women DOES feel like riding the wind.

    So glad you got to feel that breeze.

  6. Kathi says:

    I LOVE this post. Looks like a great bunch of women.

    I love other women.
    I love to sing.

    I had a group like this when I was in Virginia and it was wonderful, so empowering and I felt LOVED. I need this again so badly now. I love my boy but good GOD I need to get a bit of a life, too!

    I wish I had a Windsong here.
    Or maybe move to Cleveland and escape the oil. Looks like you guys landed in a great place when you moved.

  7. Chris Vartorella says:

    Love this… beautiful… It was wonderful getting to know you better and so glad you got out…
    your wise ass friend, Chris

  8. amber says:

    I’m really happy for you to have such a night to yourself. You DO need that! Good for you, and for Todd for because such a kickass dude.

    I would have love dto listen in to the singing. I can imagine how cool it was.


  9. Kim says:


  10. Deb says:

    This sounds like a perfect summer evening – just what the doctor ordered for your balance and sanity and soul. It was great seeing all the pictures.

  11. graceonline says:

    What a wonderful evening! Music and laughter and good friends you can count on for a lifetime. I would rather look at images of real people with all the joy and pathos of life etched on their faces than pages of nipped, tucked, puffed and poufed Hollywood types any day. What life!
    Thank you for sharing this evening with the rest of us. Your energy and joy so apparent, my heart dances.

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