Category Archives: Popular Culture

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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Suicide Prevention and healing through song

Have you heard the 1-800-273-8255 song by Logic and Alessia Cara? Well if you haven’t then you need to tune into WCRX 88.1FM Chicago’s Underground.  The song covers heavy issues that are taboo like wanting to kill yourself and dealing with depression. As you know October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and survivors may struggle with feeling suicidal after a failed relationship. This song by Logic can provide comfort because it addresses those issues of feeling inadequate and learning to love yourself. The song is very inspirational since it’s title is actually the number to the suicide hotline. WCRX wants you to know that you are not alone if you suffer from Domestic Violence or are feeling suicidal here are some links to help you get through your tough times. If you are unsure on whether or not your situation is considered abusive the hotline for domestic violence has articles to describe more in depth the different kinds of violence. The links below are for more information on domestic violence and a link to the video for 1800-273-8255 song.

 

http://www.thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/abuse-defined/

 

http://www.nrcdv.org/dvam/DVAM-history

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kb24RrHIbFk

 

 

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.