seniors fitness

Cruising Down the River

Cruising Down the River

Cruising Down the River, was written in 1945 by two women, Emily Beadell and Nell Tollerton. They entered their composition into a public songwriting contest in the UK and…

We Need A Little Christmas

The timing is perfect for this song of the week as the lyrics talk about getting into the Christmas spirit a week before American Thanksgiving though I did read that the original song contained the words “Auntie Mame, it’s one week past...

Everybody Eats When They Come To My House

Love this humorous song written by none other than Mr. Cab Calloway. 

Born in Rochester, New York in 1907 on Christmas Day, he was definitely a gift to the world of jazz. Calloway was a master scat singer and leader of one of the most popular bands in the United States during the 1930’s. His group became one of the most successful bands to play at the infamous Cotton Club in New York City... 

Sugartime

This weeks song is a high calorie 1958 classic “Sugartime” made famous by Christine McGuire, Dorothy McGuire and Phyllis McGuire known in the music world as The McGuire Sisters. Published by Charlie Phillips and Odis Echols, the song apparently refers to the Jimmie Rogers tune...

The Log Driver's Waltz

The song of the week is a Canadian composition by the Brantford, Ontario born folksinger/songwriter Wade Hemsworth. He served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War 2 and worked in Northern Ontario, Quebec and Labrador as a wilderness surveyor. After moving to Montreal in 1952, he was employed by the Canadian National Railway until his retirement in 1977. It was in 1956 that he released his album “Folk Songs of the Canadian North Woods” using his life experience to draw from. Wade Hemsworth only wrote about twenty songs in his musical career, but many of them will go down in history including “The Log Driver’s Waltz”. 

A few of Wade Hemsworth’s songs became the musical background and subject matter for National Film Board Canada animated vignettes. In 1977 the Canadian government provided CBC with funding to create projects that promote cultural unity so $2 million dollars was given to the NFB for a series of vignettes that 80 people worked on for three years. The “Log Driver’s Waltz” piece was directed and animated by John Weldon, released in 1979 with the recording of the song by Kate and Anna McGarrigle and The Mountain City Four providing the soundtrack to the animation. It became the most popular vignette of all of them though I must say I also love “The Black Fly Song” vignette featuring another tune written by Wade Hemsworth. 

“The Log Driver’s Waltz” tells the story of women who say they would rather marry a man who was a log driver than a doctor or lawyer as they were no doubt better dancers since their occupation required them to be so strong and physically agile. The log drivers profession required them to walk or run on the logs as they floated down rivers.

The song is a charming tune and the tempo is perfect for chair dancing movements. It has a wonderful flow and waltz tempo that will provide musical variety to your class and inspire your choreography. 

A visual snippet from the NFB vignette 

A visual snippet from the NFB vignette 

 

 

Blue Skies

This week the timeless classic “Blue Skies” was written by the brilliant composer Irving Berlin in 1926. The beautiful and simple lyrics he wrote were quite likely a reflection of the world’s post war optimism. 

The first live performance of this song was in a play called Betsy. If what I read is true, the woman who performed “Blue Skies” on opening night, Belle Baker, received 24 encores to sing the song. By the 24th time she apparently forgot some of the words so.........

Besame Mucho

Winter gets pretty long in Toronto so I have escaped to warm weather on Isla Mujeres which literally translated means the Island of Women. History states that when a Spanish slave trader from Cuba  named Francisco Hernandez Cordova came to the island in 1517 looking for silver, gold and slaves he found temples, ruins, a few gold artifacts and statues of women; the Mayan goddess Ixchel and her daughter's and daughter in laws Ixchebeliax, Ixhunie and Ixhunieta. The island was supposedly a sanctuary for Ixchel who was goddess of the moon, fertility, medicine and happiness. At the ruins of what was believed to be her temple is where the sun casts its first light on Mexico as it rises each day. 

In 1940, there was a young Mexican female songwriter named Consuelo Velasquez who wrote one of the most popular recorded love songs of all times......

Everything Old is New Again

About two years ago I was searching for a tune that could accompany the theme of a conference I was presenting at; Everything Old is New Again was what they chose so I began my search. Turned out it was easier than I thought as I almost immediately came across a song co-written by the late great Australian composer/performer/piano player Peter Allen entitled “Everything Old is New Again”.

Peter Allen came to the United Stated in a rather interesting way. Judy’ Garland’s husband saw him perform in Hong Kong and invited him to play with Judy in London and back in the U.S. No doubt through his association with Judy Garland, Peter Allen met Liza Minelli and went on to become......

Hallelujah

I’m writing this week's “Song of The Week” blurb from my parent’s home in Ottawa on Remembrance Day. A lot to think about with the passing yesterday of perhaps our country’s most renowned poet singer songwriter Leonard Cohen and remembering those brave souls who gave their lives for our freedom. Leonard Cohen’s uninhibited freedom of expression was the gift he shared with the world so in his honour I think it would only be right to choose his most famous song “Hallelujah”. There are a multitude of musical and written interpretations of this brilliant composition and that’s what makes it such a beautiful piece of work. When something can connect so many people yet mean something different to each and every individual it holds a special power.