Tag Archive | Music

Patty’s Pick

pattys pick

Campbells World

According to my handmade blog calendar, there are 31 days in April! So good morning to you all and thank you for visiting Rainne’s Ramblings on this ‘extra’ April day.

Patty and I have chosen this Essay, from the Authors, They’re Only Human column
by author Lynda McKinney Lambert


When I Begin my Day with Mozart

Lynda McKinney Lambert

I put the morning coffee on to brew, reach for a CD of Mozart’s Violin Sonata in B-flat, carefully placing it in the CD player in the kitchen, and push the Play button. The soft and slow opening lines of the Largo-Allegro begin as I listen. A piano and a violin are filling my kitchen with sounds from centuries ago. I close my eyes and listen awhile before I continue writing my essay. There is something about Mozart’s music that makes me stop whatever I am doing; it takes me back in time. But it’s not the time in the 18th century when the music was first performed for a royal audience. It is my own time at the end of the 20th century when the music of Mozart became a core element in my own life. Thoughts of listening to this music flood my mind on the chilly November day, and those musings create layers of memories.music-278795_960_720

As the days and years come to mind, I remember Austria when it was Mozart and me.

Mozart’s first performance of his original composition was April 29, 1784 in Vienna; Emperor Joseph II was in the audience. As Mozart played the piano, the emperor made a discovery. Mozart was playing from memory, for he did not have time to write the composition out on paper. The pages in front of him were blank!

My first trip to Europe in 1991 was a gift I gave myself to celebrate the completion of my MFA degree at West Virginia University. I arrived in Salzburg, Austria at the beginning of July, just in time to join in the celebration festivities for the 200th anniversary of Mozart’s death. My month–long visit was filled with special art exhibitions in palaces and museums, all focused on Mozart. Mozart’s life and his music surrounded me everywhere I went. I attended concerts and special exhibits during my month–long vacation. Now I was hooked on Mozart!

I came to Austria as a participant in a drawing class, and I created an entire body of work on the theme of Mozart’s death and his music. I created art and wrote in a journal as I travelled.

Ten years later, my poems and reflections from that summer trip were part of a series of poems and drawings that appeared in my book Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage.

During that first visit, I made an intention for my own life while I visited this city. I fell in love with Austria, the culture of art and music of the people I met, and the music of the masterful composers who lived in Austria over the centuries. I intended to order my life in such a way that I would spend my summers there every year. I had no idea how that would happen, or if it could happen, but I knew that would be the life I would choose to live.

Five years after my first visit to Salzburg, I accepted a tenure−track position to be a professor of fine arts and humanities at a private college in western Pennsylvania. I quickly realized there was no study program at the college that provided students with the opportunity to study in Austria or Germany. During my first year of teaching at the college, I proposed creating such a course. The following year, I was back in the city I love, with students of my own. This was the first of many years that I would have the joy of bringing students to Austria every summer, where I taught “Drawing and Writing in Salzburg.”

During this course, we worked in a studio in a small village in the Alps, Monday through Thursday mornings. Most days, we met early in the morning and then travelled somewhere in the area to draw and write from the different places we explored. It was a dream that became my reality. I had the joy of sharing this magnificent country with my students every summer for a month-long sojourn. On our weekends, we travelled together to Germany, the Czech Republic, and Italy. We climbed mountains and locked our arms together as we skipped down steep mountain paths. We kept journals, wrote about cultural experiences, made drawings and paintings in the streets and along the breath-taking mountain paths. Students attended concerts and shopped and trekked through the new places we found.

Gradually, I began to realize that the seeds of what we love become the life we live when we set our intentions in that direction. I wanted to create a life where I could spend summers in Austria. I had set the dream I embraced into motion. My dream would become my life journey at a later time.
Now, sitting here in my office typing up this essay, I listen closely as the final piece of music comes to a conclusion. The piano and the violin have been playing together as I write.

Note: If you would like to enjoy this lovely work of art by Mozart, you can listen to it here:

The violin sonata plays on, and I listen to the rapid notes of the piano moving playfully through the house in what seems like a race with the violin. I can envision a spring afternoon and the violin and piano romping in the sunshine, chasing each other about on the lawn. At times it sounds like the piano takes the lead, yet, this is not the case. The violin weaves through the many notes, and in the end, they are one. I listen as applause breaks out immediately as the piano and violin strike the final note together.

This day will take me on other journeys as I walk my dogs, care for my cats, take my husband to the hospital for a check-up, and edit this essay tonight. At special moments throughout my day, I just might hear a few bars of Mozart’s Violin Sonata in B–flat. I hope so!


Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems

© 2017 by Lynda McKinney Lambert

Pennsylvania artist, teacher, and author Lynda McKinney Lambert invites readers into her world of profound sight loss to discover the subtle nuances and beauty of a physical and spiritual world. She takes strands from ancient mythology, history, and contemporary life and weaves a richly textured new fabric using images that are seen and unseen as she takes us on a year-long journey through the seasons.
All stories in this book were created after her sudden sight loss in 2007 from Ischemic Optic Neuropathy. Lambert invites us to see the world with new eyes.

Full details, preview, and buying links



Seven Days of Electric Eclectic Novelettes

Electric Eclectic


For the next seven days I’m going to share with you seven Electric Eclectic novelettes.


I have murder for you on Monday with Dark at the Top of the Stairs by Elizabeth Horton-Newton.

On Tuesday I take a bus trip in Rush Leaming‘s AMBERGRIS.

I go way back in time to ancient Egypt on Wednesday with Liberty by Markie Madden.

Operation Debt Recovery by Ian Welch is my thriller on Thursday .

Friday has a family at Christmas, supplied by Karen J Mossman‘s One Christmas.

Supernatural Saturday features The Chaconne by Neil Douglas Newton.

I’m ending the week next Sunday with Miriam’s Hex, a  scary story from Paul White.



Electric Eclectic books are novelettes, short reads aimed at those who love reading but don’t have a lot of time.

Each book is just £1/£1/€1

It is also a way of introducing you to new authors.

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Electric Eclectic  are giving away Amazon gift vouchers throughout this year to readers of their books.

All you have to do is leave a review on Amazon books website and you can win yourself Amazon Gift Vouchers.
Grab yourself an Electric Eclectic book today and get into that winning streak.

You can find Electric Eclectic’s Novelettes and the full rules on the Electric Eclectic website.
Check it out today and get winning.

Patty’s Pick

pattys pick

Hello, again Rainne’s Ramblings visitors.
This beautiful story touched me in a very special way.
The reason why, maybe one day I’ll share in a post of my own.
For now, I direct you to the story below.
I’ll warn you in advance, it’s a two-tissue read.

Enjoy, and blessid be.
~Patty (Campbells World)


A Song For Adrienne

by John Justice

It was almost Christmas in 1973 when I was asked to tune a piano in a New York mental hospital. This immense facility was located on Governor’s Island in the East River. A bus took me out to the gate and a security guard led me to the main entrance. The captain took me up in the elevator. We walked down a long hallway and he stopped. “Mr. Justice. We’re about to enter a closed psychiatric ward. There are certain things we will ask you to do for your own protection as well as that of the patients. When you enter this facility, the guard will give you instructions. He’ll lead you to the Activities Room where the piano is located. We’re about to approach the entrance. Two guards must be present at all times; one outside and one inside the ward. In that way, we can be sure that none of our guests leaves without authorization.”

By this time, I was becoming concerned. What was it going to be like in there? If I went in, would I meet any of the patients?

The captain pressed a button and I could hear a loud chime coming from inside the facility. The inside guard spoke to us through an intercom. “is this the piano tuner, Sir?” The captain confirmed who I was, and the door was unlocked. The inside guard greeted me, and I took his arm. As we moved through the ward, I could hear strange noises coming from some of the doors we passed. Soon, I was brought into the Activities Room and the guard showed me the piano. “this is very important, Sir. Please open your tool kit, remove what you need and close the case. Then, put it under the piano at your feet. We’ll be watching you through a two-way glass partition to your left. If anything, odd happens, we’ll be here in seconds. But don’t worry. We allow certain patients to move freely through the facility. They are people who pose no harm to themselves or anyone else. Your tuning might draw them, and they will wander in and out. Hold onto your tools at all times, please. Okay Sir. That’s it. Do you need help taking off the front of the piano?” I thanked him and assured the guard that I didn’t need any assistance.

I opened the front of the big upright and tested the keys for possible problems. The instrument was old but in good condition. I collected the tools I would need and started to tune it.

As soon as I hit a few notes, someone came in. she spoke to me. “hello, I’m Adrienne. Are you playing the piano?” Then she surprised me. The lady began playing some kind of classical piece on a flute. I turned to her and explained that I was tuning the piano and I needed quiet to finish the job. She stopped playing, apologized and left the room.

A few minutes later, Adrienne came back and said exactly the same thing again as if we had never met before. She played what seemed like the same flute passage. Once again, I explained that I needed quiet to tune the instrument and she stopped playing.

When Adrienne returned the third time, I understood what was happening and repeated my explanation. She apologized and walked out.

I finished the piano and reassembled it. I sat down and played It Came upon a Midnight clear. Adrienne returned, sat down on a nearby couch and started to cry. That made me sad and my face must have shown my feelings. Adrienne got up, touched my shoulder and said, “Oh no! it’s alright! The music is so beautiful. That’s what made me cry.” She sat down again and I paused before continuing to play.

Something had reached this young woman in her troubled world. Music had taken her out of that odd cycle where she would repeat the same words and actions again and again.

As I continued to play, others joined us but none of them spoke to me. At one point, Adrienne rose, touched my shoulder and thanked me quietly. She left and I never heard her speak again. I wondered why she didn’t try to play her flute. I would have been happy to move to any key. I remembered that she had only played a small part of something I didn’t recognize. Maybe, she wouldn’t have been able to remember an entire tune.

As I left the ward and was escorted down to the bus stop, I thought about Adrienne. What had happened to her? Was she a musician at one time? Did something happen which shattered her existence and left her playing a part of a classical piece which was all she could remember? For a brief time, the music of Christmas brought that lost soul out of her misery. I was glad to give her that little gift of reality. For that brief interval, we shared something very special; the joy of music.


About John Justice: In His Own Words:

AuthorPicI was born in 1945, just at the end of World War II. I have been blind since the age of three. Shortly after my birth, my parents moved to a poultry farm in Southern New Jersey. I attended schools for the blind until I graduated eighth grade. I was then mainstreamed into a parochial high school in Wildwood. I graduated with honors in 1964.

I have been married to my wife, Linda, since 1981. We live in Hatboro, Pennsylvania. We don’t have any children. I have always found that being creative was a part of me. I have written many articles for publication and have published several songs. Writing is now, and will always be, my dream.


Books by John Justice:

PaddyBookOneCover.jpgThe Paddy Stories: Book One

Blind Paddy Flynn, orphaned at age eight, travels by train from Philadelphia to California in 1947 to live with his childless aunt and uncle, Doreen and Bob Chandler. Part One tells of his mother’s death, his time in a children’s home, the good friends he makes there, and then his long and eventful journey to California.

In Part Two, by a wonderful twist of fate, Paddy and his closest friend from Philadelphia, Lucy Candelaria, are reunited in California. Their unusual and loving relationship and their special form of communication make up a major part of the story.

The large and well-drawn cast of characters includes the residents and staff of the children’s home, the friendly family Paddy stays overnight with in Chicago, the train staff, the several adults who accompany him on different legs of his journey, his kind and welcoming relatives and their wonderful dog, and various neighbors there in California. It’s clear that one neighbor family leads a very different life from the peaceful and prosperous one enjoyed by the Chandlers.

With his loving nature, courage, and can-do spirit, Paddy brings joy and inspiration to many others and even stands up to two memorable bullies, one at the children’s home and one in California. But how will he adjust to life at a school for the blind? Book One of The Paddy Stories ends with Paddy once again having to face an uncertain future.

To be continued in Book Two.

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Love Letters in the Grand

The 30 stories in this collection are all true. I tuned pianos in New York and Philadelphia from 1965 until 1993. The work was rewarding in and of itself, and the characters I met in those years bring back happy memories even today. —John Justice

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It’s Still Christmas

Once getting by financially, the Gleasons have become homeless and close to hopeless. But their faith in God and His mercy has never wavered. Now Christmas is close, and their lives are about to undergo a drastic change. The lifesaving aid they give to a stranger, an elderly Jewish widower, is soon repaid in ways they could never have imagined. Enjoy this touching story of mingled hearts, trust, and faiths.

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Author’s Corner 2017 by Patty L. Fletcher

pattys pick

One feature I’ll be including on Rainne’s Ramblings next year is ‘Patty’s Pick’.

Each month Patty L. Fletcher will choose one post from Campbells World and I will feature it here.


img_0030Patty Lyne Fletcher is a single mother with a beautiful daughter, she has a great son-in-law and four five beautiful grandchildren.

Patty owns and handles a Black Labrador from The Seeing Eye™ named Campbell Lee—a.k.a. Bubba Lee or King Campbell, to give just a couple of his nicknames. she also has a 15-year-old cat named Celine Kitty and a tom named Kitty Bob.

Patty was born on November 9, 1967 in Kingsport, Tenn., where she also grew up. She was born one and a half months premature and her blindness was caused by being given too much oxygen in the incubator. She was partially sighted until 1991, at which time she lost her sight due to an infection after cataract surgery and high eye pressure. She used a cane for 31 years before making the change to a guide dog.



As we ready ourselves to end one year, and go into the next, I am going through all the work I’ve done in 2017.

The following piece, by Author Peter Altschul has made its way into my list of favorites from the year gone by.

I invite you to take a moment to enjoy this moving and thought provoking offering.

As you read below, open yourselves to the wondrous love that can be felt when reading this most beautiful post.

Until next time, this is Patty, who was moved to thoughtful tears by this piece, and King Campbell  who snoozed through the whole thing saying…

“Merry Christmas! Happy Solstice!

May harmony find you, and blessed be.”


Christmas Music Romance

Peter Altschul, MS

In Part IV of my memoir “Breaking Barriers: Working and Loving While Blind,” I described how I moved from an urban bachelor lifestyle in Washington, DC, to a married-man-with-three-stepkids life in Columbia, Missouri. On a late Sunday morning in mid-December, 2005, I told my soon-to-be-wife, Lisa, about my involvement with Christmas music as we sat together on a threadbare couch in my DC studio apartment. To quote from the book:

“And every year since 1984, I have written three funky four-part vocal arrangements of Christmas carols. I recorded them using a four-track cassette recorder, mixed them onto cassettes, and used them as Christmas cards.”

“What a great idea!” Lisa said.

“And then a couple of years ago, a friend installed MIDI software on my computer and my Christmas carol arrangements featured instrumental sounds generated from a keyboard synthesizer I had recently bought.


“And then last year I got the idea of composing new melodies for carol texts instead of just arranging the more familiar tunes.”

“What do you mean?”

“You know the carol `We Three Kings of Orient Are?`” I sang a couple of phrases of the solemn, melancholy waltz. Lisa hummed along. “I created a different melody that’s more bouncy and joyful. Do you want to hear it?” She squeezed my hand, so I clicked on the carol and rejoined her on the couch as six voices and a synthesized harp filled the apartment.

“That was awesome!” she said when the tune ended. “Who sang the vocals?”

“I did.”

“Really! How?”

I explained that I would sing the melody on one track and then record the other parts while listening to the melody. “Would you like to hear more?” I asked.


During the next twenty minutes, I played some of my arrangements: “How Brightly Shines the Morning Star” for brass and timpani; “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” for string quartet; “Jingle Bell Rock” arranged in the style of a Tchaikovsky waltz; “Holly Jolly Christmas” for brass band; “White Christmas” with a reggae feel; “Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming” for brass quintet; “Frosty the Snowman” arranged as a late 1950’s rock tune; “Good King Wenceslas” for percussion ensemble; “Oh Christmas Tree” for marching band; and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” for steel drum band. Sudden silence fell as the last note died away.

“Are you all right?” I asked, sitting down and putting my arm around her.

“I’m overwhelmed,” Lisa half-whispered, putting her arm around me. “You’re amazing.”

As we sat silently on my threadbare couch with our arms around each other, I felt wrapped in waves of peaceful joy. I couldn’t believe that such a talented, caring woman would not just admire my accomplishments but love me for who I was and who I might become. For the first time, I really thought about what it might be like to move from a settled, secure space to unfamiliar surroundings where I would be responsible for supporting three kids who I hadn’t even met. Could I do it? Should I do it? All I knew was that she had given me the chance to explore love’s wonderful possibilities, and I wanted to continue the journey.

Since then, I have composed new melodies for around a dozen carol lyrics, four of which have been performed at the Missouri United Methodist Church in Columbia. A selection of these settings, as well as several arrangements of Christmas carols and music I composed for our wedding, is available at www.peteraltschul.com under the link “Book-Related Information.” Please be patient, as it takes a while for the music to start playing.

I hope you can find some time to enjoy this music, and that it moves you to reflect upon these old carols in new ways.

Merry Christmas!


Peter Altschul Bio:

Peter Altschul’s unique professional journey has been kaleidoscopic. Ivy league graduate. Customer service rep for the most hated federal government agency. Grants manager. Trainer of New York City taxi drivers. Mediator between pro-life and pro-choice activists. Workplace diversity and conflict management specialist. Author, editor, musician, husband, and stepdad. All with the assistance of six wonderfully quirky guide dogs.

Peter currently lives with his guide dog, Heath, in Columbia, Missouri.

Peter Altschul Live and In Person
Website • Twitter

Books by Peter Altschul:

Breaking It Down and Connecting the Dots:
Creating Common Ground Where Contention Rules

51x-W6vt12L._SY346_In this book of compact essays, Peter Altschul, MS, explores topics ranging from psychology, sports, and diversity to family life, politics, and Christianity. Peruse this book and you’ll find personal stories, political analysis, and satire. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll think. You might find connections you’ve never seen before and common ground where you think none is possible. And perhaps you’ll be influenced to behave a little differently in order to make things a little—or a lot—better.


Breaking Barriers: Working and Loving While Blind

41sJlqC2uoLHow do a specially-trained guide dog and a person who is blind learn to work together to become a team? What lessons might those who lead others in the workplace learn from this process? These are two of the themes that the author weaves into his compelling memoir.

Altschul focuses on a thirty-month period in his life, beginning with his fifth guide dog, a Labrador Retriever named Jules, and ending with his move from his urban bachelor lifestyle in Washington, DC, to committed family man in Columbia, Missouri. Along the way, he describes his unique professional journey with assistance and companionship of five guide dogs. He also writes about his upbringing, his relationship with music, and the unexpected deaths of his stepmother and father.



That’s it for today. I hope you enjoyed reading.
Have a wonderful Christmas.

The Weightless One by Anaïs Chartschenko



17690063_1474793602533069_448700693_nEvery bit of food I eat
Is turning into more thoughts
And what do I do with the thoughts
I am too afraid to say?

After a party changed everything, Miranda loses her appetite. She is placed in an eating disorder treatment program, where she must be brave enough to face the truth she was trying to bury.

A novel told in verse





Kara began
Pulling out
Her hair
Bundles of
Blonde lay
On the floor,
Her lion mane
Alopecia found
“I’m sick of
The lies!” She
Twisted her
Face up her
Hands knotted
In hair
“Where did this
Come from?
I didn’t grow it!”
We watched
In horror
We watched
Unable to
Look away
From her
Underneath she
Was so small
Like a fragile glass
Her features too
Large for her head
Her hair was only
A few inches long
Thin dirty dishwater
Blonde strands like
Weeds dried out
In the sun
She smiled
She laughed
She burrowed
Her face in
Borrowed hair

The Author:

17690627_1474793552533074_764417019_nAnaïs Chartschenko hails from the Canadian wilderness. She has come to enjoy such modern things as electric tea kettles.

Her published works include two collections of poetry, Bright Needles and The Whisper Collector as well as a novel in verse, The Weightless One.



Books by Anaïs Chartschenko

The Weightless One


The Whisper Collector


Bright Needles


Music by Anaïs Chartschenko

Howling at the Moon: Live from my Living Room