Tag Archives: Music

Friday:) Friends and Fun Times With the Texas Bluesmen Band

21 Sep

“You know we are big fans because we drove an hour and a half in crazy Dallas rush hour traffic to see the Texas Bluesmen Band.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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The gals planned a road trip into Dallas yesterday to go and listen to our good friends Paul and Justin perform at the Neon Cowboy. The guys are our regular DJs, or properly called KJ’s, from Daleney’s Irish Pub on our regular Thursday night karaoke. So, we carpooled in two cars and braved the Dallas rush hour traffic. Did you know that use of turn signals and speed limits in Texas is strictly optional? (Not really, but seems that way. Glad I wasn’t driving.)

We arrived safe and sound, and got there early enough to chat, eat, take pictures, and visit before the performance.

The guys were awesome. If you’re familiar with the movie, THE BLUES BROTHERS? Then, you know how much fun we had. And I’ve said this before, if you haven’t seen the movie before, or it’s been a while, rent it, or Netflix or whatever folks are doing these days. It’s a classic. And tell them you’re on a mission from God and it’s for the Penguin.

Happy Friday, my friends. Now, time for my Black Russian. It’s been a long day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=552KHkv0olc

Tuesday:) Tunes From The Hollywood Bowl

6 Aug

“Latin music has a rhythm that stirs your soul. All music can stir your soul, but all music doesn’t make you want to get up and dance.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Saturday night, after an already busy day, Matt took me to dinner in Hollywood before the concert. (I didn’t get discovered in Hollywood, so I’ll be heading home tomorrow. Darn!) I had a crispy vegan chicken sandwich and fries that was better than anything vegan that I’ve ever tasted. And, probably as good as any.

We left the car at the valet at the restaurant and took an Uber over to the Hollywood Bowl. Wow! A very cool concert venue, and so well organized. Matt thought I would enjoy the Gypsy Kings, so he bought tickets when he found out the days I was coming to visit. How thoughtful.

Las Cafeteras opened for the Gypsy Kings. They had the crowd all wound up and dancing in their seats. They had a few political innuendos and commentaries woven into their songs, but if you didn’t understand Spanish, you wouldn’t get it.

The Gypsy Kings.

Artists

The Gipsy Kings

Melding flamenco, rumba, salsa, and pop to the tune of 20 million albums sold, the Grammy® Award–winning hitmakers The Gipsy Kings return with dance-ready furor, celebrating their 1988 eponymous breakthrough. It’s party-starting perfection forged by the raucous spirit of the south of France! Afro-Mexican folk-rockers Las Cafeteras open, making this two nights of high-energy guitar thrills.

It was a very cool concert. People were in the aisles dancing and singing and enjoying the awesome evening. Even leaving the venue was quick and orderly. Matt called for an Uber while we filed out and it was waiting for us at a ride-share designated spot in just a couple of minutes. Parking would have been a nightmare. He’s SO smart.

So, a few Latin tunes from Toni on this glorious Tuesday. Have a great day, my friends.

Tuesday:) Toe Tappin’ Tunes and Terrific Friends

26 Jun

“Sharing a great meal and some good music with wonderful friends is my idea of happy.”

Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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The Hot Club of Cowtown performed at MPAC on the Square this past weekend, and some girlfriends got together for a delicious dinner Saturday night at Miss Pat’s, then off for the concert.

The Hot Club of Cowtown is billed as an American hot jazz and Western swing trio that formed in 1997.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Urk9BMaHE1g

I must admit, I wasn’t sure what kind of music Western swing was, and it was nothing I’ve ever heard before. The trio played their hearts out for their audience and a lot of toe tappin’ could be seen. It was a fun evening with friends.

Wednesday:) When Angels Sing

2 May

“Music is well said to be the speech of angels.”

~Thomas Carlyle

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Last night, we had the privilege of attending the Jazz Cafe Concert 2019 at the Church Street Auditorium. The McKinney Boyd High School Department of Choral Music Fusion performed wonderful renditions of ageless classic songs.

The charming high school students had voices like angels. Well, I’m not 100% sure what angels voices sound like, but this was probably pretty close.

Miss Loretta had heard the group perform at a Newcomers meeting and suggested we hear them at this venue. I’m glad we did. Such talented young people. You know they are going to go on to bigger and better things.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u13-NjUd3oE

Very talented.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhQeTUAgFgg

Miss Loretta spoke to this beautiful girl after the performance. She wanted to tell her how amazing she and all the other students were.

Monday Memories:) Tommy’s Back In Town

27 Nov

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”

― Lucy Maud Montgomery

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Normally I have a montage Monday post, but today, when I was looking at my Facebook page, my friend Sherri posted a picture of a street musician sitting on a bench on the Square. I was so excited! It was my old friend Tommy.

I met Tommy a few years back while I was strolling the Square. He was playing his guitar on a bench outside of Snug, so I sat next to him and chatted when he took a break. I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years, and I started to worry that Tommy might have gone to the big music hall in the sky. He was a wandering minstrel that never put down roots or had a permanent job, just wandered around the country. I was so pleased to see that he was alive and well and back in McKinney. (Photo: Sherri Murphy)

Yay! Tommy’s back in town.

Here’s the story and poem I wrote a few years back when I first met Tommy.

Thought I’d share this story with all of you. )

TOMMY AND MABLE

Tommy sat on the cold metal bench outside a little coffee shop in downtown McKinney. His raspy muffled voice crooned a soft country song, while aged yet agile fingers strummed across the well worn strings of a blue acoustic guitar. Salt and pepper hair brushed across a ruddy bearded face as a crisp north wind kicked up. Tommy reached over to secure the two wrinkled dollar bills flapping inside the open guitar case. He carefully tucked the ends of the bills under the small stack of prized CDs bearing his image and that of Mable, his faithful companion of thirty-seven years.

Johnny Cash’s, “Ring of Fire,” soulfully echoed across the Square, and Tommy’s foot tapped along with each rhythmic beat. I dragged a wooden chair across the brick sidewalk, and then parked myself a couple feet away from the real-life Texas troubadour. I enjoyed each rendition of old familiar tunes, as well as the original compositions inspired by nearly forty years of life on the road.

“Tommy, would you mind telling me a little bit about yourself, ” I asked when he took his first cigarette break. “Where are you from?”

“I was born in McKinney, Texas. Haven’t been back here in over thirty years.” His tone and demeanor became a bit more serious when he described his early childhood.

“Yep, I was born right here in McKinney. My folks got killed when I was thirteen. They wanted to put me in foster care, so I took off and rode the rails. Never looked back. Been traveling ’round the country ever since.”

His eyes brightened and a little crooked smile appeared when he started talking about Mable. “We’ve been together for thirty-seven years now. I was rummaging around in a dumpster looking for cans one day, when I ran across this old black guitar with a broken neck. She was in bad shape, but I fixed her up with some glue and tightened up her strings.”

The adventures were mixed with making new friends and happy times, sprinkled with the hard hungry days.

“We’ve walked across all these forty-eight states, just playing music for folks and living off what they put in my guitar case.”

Tommy went on to describe the nomadic life of a traveling troubadour. “I’ve never run into anyone else who does this. It’s an honest livin’. I don’t beg. I just play my music and if folks like what they hear, they drop a dollar or two in my case. Sometimes I’d ride the rails from one town to the next or just walk ’till I couldn’t walk no more.”

I listened as he carefully crushed the tiny cigarette butt beneath his worn out walking shoe and tossed it in the trash can beside the bench. “I don’t stay in one town for more than a few days. Never had a wife or kids. Wouldn’t be right, with me movin’ round so much. Wouldn’t change a thing if I could.”

When I asked about Mable, he said she was named after his beloved grandmother. The old black acoustic guitar with hundreds of scrawled signatures from front to back, now sat in the window of Snug on the Square, just a few feet away. I asked if I could take a picture of him and Mable, so he walked over and took her out of the window. I could see the jagged repair on her neck and her strings were missing.

“Mable’s retired. When you retire a guitar, you take off the strings. Need ’em for the next one.” Then he pointed out the spot where Elvis had scribbled his name one rainy night in ’69 in Mobile, Alabama. But, he was just as proud of the signatures from a group of women that signed her after a Susan B. Koman walk a few years back.

“ I decided that it all began here, so it should end here. I’m leaving Mable with Sandra and these nice folks. I know they’ll take good care of her.”

Tommy mentioned that when he came back to McKinney after being gone for so long, he strolled along the unfamiliar streets and asked around at a few shops and restaurants downtown to see if he could set up somewhere and play his guitar. Sandra Nichols, owner of Snug on the Square, was the only one who welcomed him and treated him with respect. “That’s when I knew my Mable would have a good home and a good family right here. They’re going to keep her right there in the window.”

I was intrigued by the story of Tommy and old Mable, especially the long and loving relationship the two shared. So, of course, I was curious about the new acoustic.

“Tommy, what’s the name of your new guitar? I was sure it would be another interesting story.

He turned his whiskered face and answered, “Haven’t named her yet. She’s gotta earn it.”

After taking a few pictures and recording a couple segments of Tommy serenading and smiling at passers-by, I said farewell to the wandering minstrel from McKinney. I shook his talented weathered hand and dropped all the cash I had in the old black guitar case. Who knows when Tommy will be passing this way again?

Tommy and Mable

With silver hair and a crooked smile

Strumming tunes that make you want to sit awhile

As you tap your toes and start to sing along

He shares each word, and has lived each song

His guitar is closer than any family

And the road, the only home he’ll ever see

But he and Mable have a need to play

Her frame is worn and her strings won’t stay

They’ve seen the whole country from east to west

And the town they’re in, is the one that’s best

Mable’s been signed by many a star

Even Elvis scrawled his name on that old guitar

But the real country singer never settles down

‘Cause there’s another ballad and another town.

Toni Andrukaitis

Friday:) Friends, Fun Music, and (Yep) More Firemen)

10 Nov

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”

~Plato

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Wow! Woke up to chilly weather, and had to bundle up to take Bella for a walk. Ok, I know youse guys (Chicago talk) up North got snow, but this is Texas, for goodness sakes. But, that doesn’t slow me down. I enjoyed the challenge. The vibrant fall colored leaves were scattered on the sidewalks as I walked.

I was looking forward to dinner and a concert with my Single Mingle friends tonight. But first, a stop at the fire station. I had a few brownies left and Miss Pat said I could take the leftover cookies from karaoke over to “my firemen.”

Our group met at Mellow Mushroom for dinner.

Then, over to MPAC for the concert Red, White and Big Band, featuring the McKinney Dance Band and the Swazzy Singers. They were honoring veterans with patriotic music and big band music of the different eras gone by.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GjiEO-Gowk

It was a fun day, and a great evening. Music always brightens my soul.

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

29 Oct

“Music is the great uniter. An incredible force. Something that people who differ on everything and anything else can have in common.”

― Sarah Dessen

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Such a gorgeous Sunday. The Ark building has been put on hold a while, the sun was out, and it was in the 80’s. A quick walk with the dog before church, and out the door about 8:20. A lot of happy smiling faces and hugs while greeting this morning.

Today’s Gospel was the story of Jesus leaving Jericho with His disciples and a crowd following Him. A blind beggar on the side of the road heard that Jesus was passing and cried and begged Jesus to have pity on him…

Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?”

The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.”

Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.”

Immediately he received his sight

and followed him on the way.

Father had an interesting homily, saying that the beggar didn’t ask for wealth or food, but he just wanted to see and knew that if had the chance to ask Jesus, that he would be granted sight. Then, once his sight was given, the man did not go rejoicing and leave, he Followed Jesus on the way.

My take on it… if you have faith and are persistent, your prayers will be answered. But, once you have been granted your request, you must show your appreciation and continue “following” Him on the way.

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Now, for the other stuff. Last night, Miss Loretta invited me to join her at the Allen ISD Performing Arts Center to hear the U.S. Air Force Band and Singing Sergeants from Washington D.C. Oh my, they were amazing!

It was the last performance of the 2018 Fall tour of New Mexico and Texas. The highlight was that this was also the last performance of the conductor, Colonel Larry H. Lang, who will be retiring at the end of the year after a 29-year career of distinguished service. Colonel Lang’s former high school music teacher and mentor was in the audience, along with friends and family, to honor him.

The band played a series of “Fiesta” songs including Huapang, Malagueña, along with rousing Texas ballads.

https://youtu.be/NqGSo09r-VU

The Singing Sergeants performed a medley of Nifty Fifties songs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxLZofxO69E

At the end, the band saluted all the branches of the armed forces with song, asking all the veterans in the audience to stand as they honored them.

It was a wonderful concert and a wonderful tribute to all those who have served our country in the past and currently serve and protect.