All posts by Caroline Freer

Random Acts of Flowers!

Have you ever attended an event, like a wedding or funeral, and wondered what happens to all those flowers after everyone goes home?  What about flowers in grocery stores and flower shops, that are not longer fresh enough to sell?  In what may be the ultimate in recycling, “Random Acts of Flowers” takes those flowers and repurposes them into something beautiful and inspiring!

Think about the joy you experience when you give or receive flowers.  That’s the joy that volunteers with “Random Acts of Flowers” get to experience regularly.  

The non-profit began in 2007, in Tennessee, by Larsen Jay.  After a near fatal accident Jay credited the daily visitors and dozens of floral arrangements he received as being a crucial element to his recovery.  Once able to leave his room, Jay noticed many other patients sitting alone, in rooms devoid of flowers.  He began going around the hospital gifting some of his floral arrangements to other patients and was struck by the effect it had on them  That’s when the seed for “Random Acts of Flowers” was sewn.

 

Today this wonderful non-profit has expanded and now has five branches around the country, including Evanston, Illinois.  Teams of volunteers do everything from refreshing the flowers that have been donated, then creating them into beautiful bouquets and arrangements and finally bringing them to patients.  Nurses and caregivers in healthcare facilities and nursing homes identify patients who seem in need of an extra emotional boost.

And science bears them out.  Research shows that patients who receive flowers recover more quickly and require less post-operative pain medication.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/sally-augustin/health-benefits-flowers_b_2992014.html

As we head into the holiday season WCRX FM is once again “Committing To Our Community”.  If you’d like more information you can check out http://randomactsofflowers.org

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Kathleen Battle – Opera Superstar in Chicago!

On Saturday, September 30th, I had the thrill of seeing a true opera superstar at the Auditorium, here in Chicago.  The five-time Grammy Award winner, Kathleen Battle has sung all of the great Operas and reigned supreme at the Metropolitan Opera House, in the 80’s and early 90’s.  Reviewers have long rhapsodized about the quality of her voice. One of opera’s premier lyric and coloratura sopranos, the Washington Post said of Battle “…without qualification, one of the very few most beautiful in the world”; from The New York Times “cream from a miraculous, bottomless pitcher”.

Singing “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra

Her current tour is called Kathleen Battle – Underground Railroad: A Spiritual Journey While not an opera program, per se, Battle’s training and background come through.  Presented recital style with only a single piano for accompaniment and backed by a 30 voice chorus including  The Chicago Freedom Singers.  The show also incorporates the Reverend Dr. Otis Moss III and Jackie Taylor as Narrators who educate the audience about the history of the Underground Railroad.  There are quotes from Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, who both used the Underground Railroad to escape to their own freedom and in the case of Tubman, she then helped many other slaves find freedom through the Underground Railroad.

Kathleen Battle’s stage presence was amazing and her voice as beautiful and pure as ever it was, considering she is now in her late 60’s, that’s impressive.  She also showed great generosity in giving showcasing solos to several of the other singers.  The repertoire contained such well known gems as “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”, “All Night, All Day” and “Glory, Glory, Hallelujah (Come Out the Wilderness)”.  The presentation was interesting and uplifting, leaving one with the sense of not only having enjoyed an evening of beautiful and unique music, but of also having learned a great deal.

I for one, look forward to future concerts presented by Ms. Battle and having the opportunity to enjoy her beautiful voice once again.

 

Paul McCartney’s Beatles Catalogue finally comes home!

After more than half a century Sir Paul McCartney will finally own the rights to his own music.  “The song publishing business can be quite lucrative” McCartney told Michael Jackson back in the 80’s, while the two were collaborating.  Jackson quipped to McCartney I’m going to own yours!”.  A few years later when ATV music came up for sale, Jackson purchased it for $47.5 million, acquiring about 250 Lennon-McCartney songs as part of the 4,000 song library owned by the company.  The deal soured McCartney’s and Jackson’s friendship, as Sir Paul felt he and Lennon had been taken advantage of as youngsters and his friend, Michael Jackson, was now in a position to right an old injustice.  Jackson didn’t see it that way, claiming it was “just business” and the two drifted apart.

The Beatle was non-too happy to see his music being used for commercials.

In 1995 Jackson sold half of ATV to Sony and together the two formed Sony/ATV Music Publishing, with Jackson and Sony each owning 50 percent of the company.  A few years before his death, Sony made a deal with Jackson, to help him with his financial troubles in exchange for half of his 50% of the company, giving Sony 75% ownership of the music catalog.  Last year (2016), Sony announced it’s intention to purchase the rest of the company from Jackson’s estate for a whopping $750 million.  Putting Paul McCartney even further away from his dream.

Copyright laws to the rescue!  

The US Copyright Act of 1967 states – for songs published before 1978, rights can be reverted back to the original author after 56 years.  The Beatles released their first album in 1963, and their first single “Love Me Do” was released in 1962, making it 56 years old in 2018.  In 2015 McCartney began the steps to reclaim his music, including filing a lawsuit for them.

This summer Paul McCartney secured the rights to his music in a private settlement with Sony.  So, a big win for one of only two surviving Beatles, who has been on a journey to own the rights to his own music for nearly 50 years!