Have you ever thought about what your passions in life are and discovered the gifts that you were born with? Each of us has these passions and gifts, sometimes buried deep within our souls. My first passion and gift in life, I felt very strongly inside of me from the day I was born. That is the music that lives within me and has an effect on everything I do in life. I wake up each morning with a beat in my heart and the sounds of music fill my very essence. I spent a lot of time as a teenager and a young adult following this passion, playing in bands, singing in choirs and living the gift that I was born with.
My instrument of choice would have been drums, because I already felt their beat deep inside of me, waking each morning with the rhythm of the drum. But my Mother thought otherwise and so I learned to play the Saxophone. When I was a little older and away from home in the army I decided to follow my love of drumming and along with playing a baritone bugle, I learned the basis of all drumming as the Drum & Bugle Corp taught me. I also sang in a rock band and found a love of both Blues and R&B at this time of my life, which have stayed with me all these years. As I got older, I began to lose my hearing and the only instruments that I could hear properly anymore were those with deep tones and drums.
Welcome to Gordie's Coffee House
For so many years I struggled to hear the music that I loved so deeply, yet I never gave up on being able to be a part of it, as it was fully a part of me. I found a wonderful new home at Gordie’s Coffee House in Winnipeg, close to where I was living at the time. This special place, which will celebrate its 11th anniversary next week, is the dream child of my friend Lexiss Jefferson, a fellow musician and someone that everyone loves and respects (and she gives everyone the best hugs going). Along with Lex, all the gang, volunteer their time to bring us good food, coffee, tea and hot chocolate, great companionship and foot stomping music that will fill your heart and soul as it should be. They will leave you wanting to come back for more. And even when I couldn’t hear the music properly, I still heard that beat deep in my soul.
Gordie's Coffee House ~ House of Hesed Fund Raiser
Each year Lex and the gang wind up the season with a fund raiser for the House of Hesed, an Aids Hospice here in Winnipeg. It was at one of these events that I began to discover another of my gifts, another passion that has taken hold of my soul. That is a love of all things photography. To me music and photography go hand in hand, with each photograph I take singing out to me in a way that is similar yet totally different than what the music gives me. I see a sunset or sunrise and hear the trumpets playing inside of me. I see a beautiful bird and hear the harmonic sounds of it’s voice, a gift that it is born with to share with all the world. I see a musician playing and hear the emotions that come from within, and see the expressions of love, joy, pain or sorrow that is born from the song they are singing and playing.
Feel the Emotions and the Soul of a Song
I started to follow my new passion and learned it was going to be a lot more work for me than music ever was, but it was something I was determined to learn how to do. And so I bought my first DSLR camera and a couple of lenses. This was an entry level Olympus camera system and one that I had to work very hard to get the photos I wanted, simply because it was lacking in so many ways. But I persevered and started to learn all about what I was doing. At first, I decided I would only take photos of wildlife and nature, as this is also a passion of mine, but as I grew in my knowledge and skills, it was time to step outside of the box and challenge myself to more complex photography. This meant a lot more to learn and a lot of reading, as well as all those hours taking photos that would end up being deleted because they were not up to my standards.
Aaron Pritchett Concert
I was living in southwest Manitoba when this revelation began to happen and volunteered my time and photographs to the Economic Development Officer with the Town of Souris. I started taking photos of people, places, and all kinds of events. And at the same time I continued to take photos of wildlife and nature. I grew in both my skills and my knowledge as each photo I took sang out to me. I learned how to take photos of concerts, of which I photographed 3 different ones that took place in Souris. I even photographed wrestlers and learned that I didn’t move quite as fast as I did when I was younger. In 2014 I underwent surgery for a Cochlear Implant, which gave me back all my high pitch in my right ear and allowed me to once again hear most of the music I had lost for about 30 years. You can’t imagine how I felt being able to hear the music once again in my life.
Blue Moon ~ Artisitic Creation
As a Musician (I also write both poetry and song lyrics), a Writer and a Photographer, I consider myself to be an Artist and sometimes create pieces of work in each area, that surprises me and those who know me. I love to take some of my photos and play around with them while doing editing, and come up with things like this blue moon above. We all know that the moon isn’t blue, or do we? If the moon sings out to me that it wants to be blue tonight, who am I to argue. After all, music was my first love and I have to listen to what it says to me, what the tones become and whether this is the beat of a bass drum or that of a lead guitar. To me it’s all about the music in my soul.
Close-up of a Guitar String
In 2016 I did two different things. I bought a new camera system in that of Nikon and at the same time I decided to learn to play a guitar, an instrument that has eluded me all of my life. While a teenager when all my friends were learning to play guitars, I found that with small hands and sausage like fingers, I was unable to properly get my hands around the neck of the guitar to reach the frets. I wasn’t aware of narrow necked guitars and so turned to other instruments along with my beloved drums. Over the years I have played drums, sax, baritone bugle and blues harps. So when I decided to learn guitar I figured it would be easier to start with only 4 strings and bought a mid-priced Ibanez Bass Guitar. I also have a collection of hand drums including a Djembe, Ball Drum, Bodhran and my latest acquisition of an Ngoma. I gave up playing a full set of drums years ago as they were too much to carry around, yet now I find I am carrying around the Ngoma, which is like carrying a tree around with me.
Prairie Crocus ~ Manitoba's Provincial Flower - April 22, 2018, Southern Manitoba
So I will leave you with this thought. What gifts do you have in your life that you can share with the world, and through them, where have these led you and what other gifts have you discovered along the way? Do you hear music singing to you in everything that you do? If you are a doctor or a lawyer, a graphic artist or a trades person, do you hear that special calling that drives you to excel in all that you do and become the best person you can be. What is your legacy to leave to the world and those who know and love you, once you are gone from this earth. To me, it’s all about the music in every single thing I do.