Get your Posi-Music Fix this month! In a Mega way…

January 11th, 2010

If you’ve been at all curious about our conversations regarding Positive Music, what it is and what it does–there are a couple of special opportunities to find out more, coming up VERY SOON!

The Mega Posi Awards Show, produced by Empower Music and Arts (  is going to be held here in Florida for the first time, on January 18-20th at the Doubletree Resort in Orlando. David Roth, Sloan Wainwright, Harold Payne, Jan Garrett and J D Martin, Freebo, Daniel Nahmod, Jana Stanfield–these are just a few of the nominees for this year’s Posi-Awards.

In addition to the nominees concert on Monday night, and the Award winners concert Tuesday night, the late Monday night Pajama Jam is my favorite–a chance to get up close and personal as these musicians perform casual 20 minute slots in their hotel rooms. BIG FUN!

Most of these folks are taking advantage of being here in Florida by arranging other gigs while they are here, and we are fortunate to have one of the best–David Roth–right here in Gainesville FL this coming weekend!

David Roth with David Beede and Cathy, in Gainesville concert

(David Roth, David Beede and Cathy DeWitt at a previous concert in  Gainesville)

David has performed in Gainesville before, but this weekend he will be doing a songwriting workshop Saturday afternoon (January 16th) from 2-5p.m., followed by a mini-concert at 7:00pm and a song sharing circle.  Email to make reservations for the workshop and get directions to the concert. David will also play the music for the Sunday 11:00 service at Unity of Gainesville (

David’s talents as a songwriting teacher/workshop leader are superb; his is the most asked-for workshop at Summersongs camps throughout the country, and this time he will be doing something very special.  In addition to helping folks with their individual songwriting process, David invites the attendees to participate in a collaborative composition for Songs of Love Foundation. This foundation sends custom-recorded original songs written for seriously ill children to their families, so this group piece will be completed, recorded, and used for a most rewarding cause.  Visit to hear David’s own amazing music.

Hope to see you at these affirming, inspiring events!

“Never doubt for a minute that music can’t change the hearts of men–or even of nations.”  Arlo Guthrie

Patchwork Rides Again in 2010–and Jack Williams, and David Roth, and…

January 3rd, 2010

Howdy, Friends of Florida folk and Girlgrass music!

I hope your holidays were happy. As this year draws to a close, we note with sadness the passing of Mem Semmes. Mem was a strong supporter of Florida folk music in partnership with Margaret Longhill and the Will McLean Foundation, a wonderful singer/songwriter herself, and the beloved mom of “Florida Man” Jon Semmes. She will be missed by many.

The good news is that their wonderful concert series, the Sunday Sampler in Dunnellon, will carry on. The Patchwork gals are honored to be playing at the first Sunday Sampler of this decade!  Sunday, January 10th, at 2:30pm in the Historic Depot on Williams St (Route 41) in Dunnellon. This is one of our favorite venues, with a warm wooden feel and a terrific audience. Tickets are available at the door for $8.00–we’d love to see you at this legacy concert series.

All aboard! The historic Train Depot in Dunnellon

All aboard! The historic Train Depot in Dunnellon

   February, we’ll be at the Rally for the Rivers on the 13th and 14th–an annual event along the banks of the St. Johns River in Palatka. This 2-day festival has music, booths, boat rides, fun and festivities for the whole family. Patchwork will be performing Saturday, time TBA. Check our website for updates.

In March, the Will McLean Festival moves back to Sertoma Boys Ranch in Dade City. This is a beautiful location, especially when the orange blossoms are blooming; their heady fragrance provides an olfactory accompaniment to the music all weekend long. The festival will be from the 13th-15th–and again, our time slot will be announced later. But we know it won’t be on Saturday at 1:00, because at that time we’ll be playing the Quilting Festival in Trenton! This is our first time there, and we are really looking forward to playing at their historic train depot.

A couple of other things I thought you might like to know about–Saturday, January 9th, Jack Williams plays at Unity of Gainesville at 7:00pm. Call 352-373-1030 for reservations. The following Saturday the 16th, singer/songwriter David Roth will be here, doing a songwriting workshop at 2:00, a covered-dish at 5:30, a mini-concert and participatory song circle at 7pm. Call Elaine at 352-262-6008 for information. Then on Wednesday, January 20th, David Beede presents songwriter David Mallet in concert at Melanie Grogan’s Melrose house concert series. Dinner at 5:30, followed by music at 7:00. Call 352-494-2287 for reservations and directions.

Patchwork promises to do their part to ring in the New Year with peace, productivity, prosperity — and pickin’! Hope to see you out and about in 2010–Happy New Year!

 ***Our gig at the Williston Library on January 14th has been canceled.
   CD Baby       Patchwork Store     
Sunday Sampler Concert Series Dunnellon, FL Sun Jan 10 10 02:30 PM Tickets
Trenton Historic Railroad Depot Trenton, FL Sat Feb 13 10 01:00 PM
St. Johns River amphitheatre Palatka, FL Sat Feb 13 10 08:00 PM
> See More / Details


“A Florida favorite, full of great energy, outstanding musicianship, and just plain fun!” — Donna Green-Townsend, WUFT-FM Radio

“Stunning, soaring vocals…” — Bill Hutchinson, City of Gainesville Dept. of Cultural Affairs

“Patchwork is a regional treasure of no small magnitude…” — Scott Barnes, Satellite Magazine

December Musin’s

December 4th, 2009

December is a busy month, and I’ll be traveling around Florida for several gigs, but my favorite things are happening right here at home. Friday, December 11th, is the annual AIM for the Holidays concert at the hospital presented by Shands Arts in Medicine. It’s been my privilege to put on this concert for fifteen years, featuring all kinds of acts doing holiday music and music of many cultures. This year we’ve added the new South Tower Cancer Center location, and some new acts including the Ed Milla Jazz group and Silver & Ivory, along with  “regulars” like the Gainesville Flute Ensemble and Rabbi Shaya Isenberg.

We also started a new AIM program today, Tunes in the Tunnel! My fellow musicians and I played bowed psaltery, recorder, guitar and silver flutes in the new Tunnel that people walk through to cross Archer Road. It’s kind of like buskers in the subways–but it’s a nice walk, and you don’t even have to put money in the guitar case!  The acoustics are great, and the sound carries almost all the way through. We’re still experimenting with where to set up, whether to stay in one place or walk, having people start from each end and walk to the middle–we’re open to suggestion. Come join us for Tunes in the Tunnel at 2:00 every Friday in December.

In the past few weeks I’ve spent a lot of time in Melrose, and what a happenin’ place it is!  Art, nature, and fun all converge to keep this unique, cozy community cookin’…and Saturday, December 12th should be no exception as the Patchwork girls perform at Bellamy Road for the art gallery’s bonfire and marshmallow roast. Music starts at 5:00 on the outdoor stage, near the bonfire, right after the Audobon birdwalk and before the 7:00 gallerytalk.

Then on Monday the 14th–I’m REALLY looking forward to singing jazz again right here in Gainesville! I’ll be part of Marty Liquori’s Jazztet band, along with the versatile Vic Donnell on keys and the amazing Mr. P. on drums. Hope you can make it out to Gainesville’s favorite jazz scene at Leonardo’s 706, where we’ll be scattin’ and swingin’, starting at 6:30!

One of the most beloved community events of the year is our annual Vets for Peace Winter Solstice concert on Saturday, December 19th, hosted by the inimitable Bill Hutchinson. This is a magical gathering, on the longest night of the year when the world starts “turning toward the morning”. A truly transcendental evening of music and mystery, unity and harmony–Come sing along with your annual favorites, enjoy new surprises, and get into the Solstice spirit.

I hope to see you out and about! Thanks for visiting my blog. If you have a moment, please visit my website  where we’ve got 2-for-1 CDs, and check out Empower’s online newsletter, which is featuring my video and interview this month!

Positive Music Movement–not exactly new, but full of new opportunities!

September 28th, 2009
In talking about the Posipalooza! concerts going on in Florida and other parts of the country right now, I’ve had some interesting conversations. It’s obvious that “positive music” has been around for a long, long time.  And the music that we now hold under the umbrella of “posi”  isn’t just all songs about sunshine and happiness.  The songs that become beloved in the Posi camp are songs that put us in touch with deeper truths, that speak to our higher selves and the human need to make the world a better place, sometimes in the midst of great peril or despair. 

A fellow musician and I were talking the other day about some of the older songs that purveyed positive messages.  Both of us have been musicians for  a long time, so we’ve seen a lot of powerful results, from all kinds of music!  Some of the songs that made our long term list include “Put a Little Love in Your Heart”, “What the World Needs Now is Love”, “He ain’t Heavy, He’s my Brother”, “Love Train”, the entire Abbey Road album–most anything from Woodstock–the list goes on and on. What are some of YOUR favorite commercially popular positive songs?

For centuries, music has been used to heal, to educate, to move people, to transform and bring about change.  And, it is subjective. In my work playing music in the hospital I have seen a song I wouldn’t necessarily think of as “positive” change a patient’s mood from sorrow to joy.  A personal memory associated with a song gives it added emotional impact. Pete Seeger gave the song “We Shall Overcome” a whole new meaning when he led civil rights marchers in singing it. 

Pete Seeger singing with grandson Tao Rodriguez

Pete Seeger singing with grandson Tao Rodriguez











What is different for the current movement of musicians spreading messages of peace, truth, unity, forgiveness and love, is really the result of social networking and modern communication.  Online groups, social networks, and organizations like Empower Music and Arts ( and the Positive Music Association ( give us ways to raise public awareness of what we all do, allowing us to meet, share ideas, unify our goals and mission, and celebrate and reward each other.

 Empower Music and Arts produces the PosiPalooza! Music Awards and mini-Posi concerts throughout the country, with an eclectic, talented array of performers sharing the stage. Empower co-directors Richard Mekdeci and Sue K Riley also host the annual Sound Connections conference at Unity Village.  This year’s conference was exceptional, ending with one of the most inspired and inspiring concerts I’ve ever seen. Sometimes singing solo and sometimes supporting each other’s songs, David Roth, Sloane Wainwright, Harold Payne, and Daniel Nahmod each gave an extraordinary performance, moving people easily between laughter and tears.  These are just a few of the many successful artists from different genres who’ve stepped forward to participate more fully in purveying positive messages through music. It is an amazing and powerful use of their talents.

 David Roth with David Beede and Cathy, in Gainesville concert

(David Roth, David Beede and Cathy DeWitt,  Gainesville FL)

If you go to the Empower website, you will find a schedule of the mini Posi concerts, and if you’re lucky you may find one in your area! You will also find out about the 2010 Posipalooza! festival and Awards ceremony, which takes place in Orlando, Florida on January 18-20th. You won’t want to miss this rare opportunity to experience firsthand the music of so many of these amazing artists at one time–Jana Stanfield, Harold Payne, David Roth, Jan Garrett and J. D. Martin, Devotion, Freebo, and many others.

One of my favorite quotes about music comes from Arlo Guthrie.  “Never doubt for a minute,” he said, “that music can’t change the hearts of men–or even of nations.”  At the very least, I know that your own heart will be changed from the Posipalooza! experience.

PosiPalooza September 25 – Guaranteed to Lift Your Spirits!

September 21st, 2009

For several years now, I’ve been involved in a movement of musicians using their music to spread messages of peace, truth, unity, inclusiveness, forgiveness and love. One way they do this is to host the PosiPalooza Music Awards and concerts throughout the country featuring an eclectic, talented array of performers sharing the stage in a sort of song circle/round robin format.

Eddie Watkins Jr

This Friday Sept 25 at 7 pm Unity of Gainesville is proud to host the first Posi-concert in our community, featuring Nashville Grammy nominated songwriter Karen Taylor-Good, Motown recording artist Eddie Watkins Jr. (shown above), and Richard Mekdeci and Sue K Riley, music leaders for the national Unity movement and co-founders of Empower Music and Arts (

Watkins, who as a teenager played bass for all the early Motown hits by the Temptations, Diana Ross and others, has recently become a music leader for spiritual life centers in California, and brings his unique soul/gospel style to the mix. Taylor-Good, whose music is sometimes poignant, sometimes hilarious, but always heart-opening, is an amazing songwriter and performer. Riley’s vocal/piano stylings are reminiscent of Carole King and Melissa Manchester, and Mekdeci holds it all together with his gentle wry humor, emceeing as well as performing.

I just got back from an incredible week with them at the Sound Connections conference at Unity Village, which ended with one of the most inspired and inspiring concerts I’ve ever seen. In a round-robin format where they sometimes supported each other’s songs David Roth, Sloane Wainwright, Harold Payne, and Daniel Nahmod gave an extraordinary performance.  These are just a few of the many successful artists from different genres who’ve taken a step out of their commercial success box in order to participate more fully in purveying positive messages through music. It is an amazing and powerful use of their talents.

I hope you can join us this Friday Sept 25 at Unity of Gainesville, 8801 NW 39th Avenue, at 7 pm for a rousing, uplifting and delightful musical evening. Call 352-373-1030 or email for tickets and reservations.

Like the Beauty in Alaska…

August 5th, 2009

I finally got to experience my lifelong dream of visiting Alaska–what an amazing place!  Flying into Anchorage, it was  a beautiful clear day and as we began to see rivers of ice in the mountains below, everyone moved over to the windows on the airplane and started looking out.  Window seat passengers offered to take pictures for those who were seated in the middle.  I took a couple of them up on it, and got some very nice shots taken by a boy about ten.windowshot1

It was kind of like a party on board, and when the plane landed, everyone cheered and clapped.

We rented a car and started our beautiful drive, along the Turnagain bay down to the Kenai Peninsula, where we had plans to meet up with a harpist friend of mine in the town of  Homer.  Stopped for a delicious Alaskan brew and some incredible halibut cerviche at the Double Muskie, right near Girdwood.turnagaincloseup

By the time we got to Homer it was about 1:00 a.m., but we had only been driving in the dark for about an hour, as it is after all the land of the midnight sun! We got to my friend Julie’s house and fell into bed, being as how it was 5 in the morning back home. The next day we drove into town to meet a friend of our friend Lennie Kesl.  We  had to stop at the infamous Salty Dog Saloon, where we met up with Findlay Abbot, who took us by boat to Yukon Island!randcsaltydog1

Yukon Island was very laid-back and peaceful, a perfect place to decompress and commune with nature. We had  a great time staying in a little rustic beach hut with no electricity, kayaking out to Elephant Rock with a companionable sea otter, and exploring the island with families of eagles scolding at us from the trees above.elephantrockclose

Elephant Rock from the kayak…

In the evening we walked over to Gretchen Abbot’s house to deliver some books we had brought from Lennie. Gretchen was hosting a group for an educational retreat experience, and after I played piano and got the group started on a singalong, she gave us a hunk of salmon to take back to the beach house; we cooked it on the gas stove–Delicious! cathycookssalmonbycandlelight

Later Gretchen gave us a ride around the island on her ATV–the first time I’d ever been on one!gretchenatv

The next day we went back to Homer and met up with Julie and John, for salmon dinner # 2! They had been fishing the whole previous week, and caught about 200 pounds of wild salmon! She fed us a fabulous dinner with smoked salmon and roe for the appetizer, and king salmon steaks for the main course. The next day she gave us a parcel of smoked strips and a jar of the roe to take with us on the next leg of our trip–the cruise ship! We ate that salmon for the whole week of the cruise, enjoying our own Happy Hour in our cabin.robandjulie

Rob and Julie before our departure…

We took a leisurely drive back up the coast to get to where we’d start our cruise. The weather was cold and rainy, so the visibility wasn’t great, but we took some nice hikes and saw some amazing animals at the wildlife refuge.



We returned our car, took the shuttle and came out of  a very long tunnel where our cruise ship, the Coral Princess was waiting. Here would be the start of a very different part of our journey, including the first two nights and days which were spent at sea!


NEXT UP:  Fiords, Glaciers, and Whales, oh my!glacier1

College Fiords…


They sure come close in that big cruise ship!


Mendenhall Glacier with its stunning blue icebergs…


Whale waving bye-bye…!

Part II coming soon

Evicting the original owners

May 4th, 2009

There has been an uproar about the recent alligator attacks here in Florida. Of course, we all know it is not the normal behavior pattern for alligators to attack humans. However, as we continue to encroach upon their habitat in more and more devastating ways, many animals are starting to exhibit unusual behavior patterns.

Last year, a female bald eagle was hit by a car on NW 39th Avenue as she flew off with a piece of roadkill. Flying into traffic to eat something dead isn’t really normal behavior for an eagle either. But I’m sure that, from the air, everything looks pretty different when your former hunting ground, the forest, has been suddenly turned into a parking lot.

This happened about a month after the deforestation of 39th Avenue (between 13th and 34th streets) began. In one year, three forests were bulldozed, one of them completely razed in about two days. The first development of pastel condos was not built as it was originally presented, and is completely out of character with any building project north of Orlando. The second development has had a variety of troubles with its retention pond, creating drainage issues for the entire area.

Unless we can slow down this influx of thoughtless overbuilding, it seems pretty unlikely that Gainesville will remain a Tree City for much longer. Like the rest of Florida, our remaining forests and open areas are being destroyed and developed without any consideration of aesthetic continuity, code compliance, or long term consequences.

The latest development  along the 39th Avenue corridor mentioned above was built right on top of the wetland that feeds into Forest of the Unicorn’s natural pond. This fact was pointed out by city environmental engineers when the project was first brought up. But somehow the development was granted the go-ahead. Unfortunately, the earliest residents of an area, in this case turtles, snakes, great blue heron, ibises, and other wading birds, may not always have a deed to the property—even when they were there first.

In the early days of this project, there was a lot of delay. After a rain, my husband and I went over to look at the site for this upscale development. We couldn’t even walk on it. This site was completely covered with water. Somehow they finally managed to build homes on this spot without them sinking into the ground. However, I have to wonder what will happen to these homeowners when their yards and perhaps their houses become waterlogged.

Even an alligator could get confused.


A Story and Song…How I Got Started

February 12th, 2009

As is the case with many of my most valuable experiences of my life, I was dragged into Shands Arts in Medicine (AIM) at the University of Florida, kicking and screaming. If you had told me thirteen years ago that I would be playing music in the hospital on a regular basis, I would have said “No way!”  Hospitals have never appealed to me. In fact, I tend to faint when I get my blood drawn. But I was intrigued by the AIM program, where I live, in Gainesville. As soon as I heard about it, long before becoming an artist in residence, I knew these were good people, doing a great thing.

I remember playing at a restaurant twenty-something years ago. I was doing dinner music, and I had my little baby boy with me in an infant carrier seat up on the bar. A woman came up to me at the end of the set and she had tears in her eyes. “Your music made me feel so much better,” she told me. “I’m staying at Ronald McDonald House and my son has to get a bone marrow transplant.” At the time I had no idea what she was even talking about. But I knew it was no ordinary encounter. Actually, it was a preview of things to come. I now play on the bone marrow transplant unit once a week.

with Wendy Kissinger and BMTU patient

with Wendy Kissinger and BMTU patient

BUT–it wasn’t always easy! It took me two years of roaming around the fringes of AIM and telling other people what great work they did, before I finally got the courage to walk through that door myself.  One of the artists, Peg, finally talked me into coming onto a unit to do some concerts in the evening. I started out on the pediatric oncology unit, bringing my friend and musical partner Janet to play a concert with me in the family room/gathering area. She would bring her banjo, and I would play guitar.

Peg was roaming around the unit gathering patients to come into the family room where Janet and I were setting up to play. She reported back that one little girl she was hoping to bring had been too sick to come, but her sister was at the concert. As we began playing, the girl’s eyes got wide and her face lit up. She grabbed Peg by the hand and said “We’ve GOT to go get Sissy! She needs to hear this!” They left the room and Peg accompanied her to her sister’s room, where they and the Mom coaxed the little sister into a wagon and started pulling her down the hall. She moaned and fretted, still in pain.

But her sister kept encouraging her.

“Hear the music, Sissy?” she cooed. “Listen to the banjo!”

And as she got closer to the music she began to sit up straighter. As the sounds of the banjo rang out into the hall, she began to smile and sway. By the time she got into the room she was bobbing and dancing in the wagon! Her pain, at least for the time being, was forgotten. She and her sister and mom stayed and enjoyed the music, and the evening turned into a birthday celebration for Peg, which became even more festive as it turned out that one of the patients was having a birthday too.

There’s nothing quite like a group of kids in hospital gowns dancing with their IV poles and singing Happy Birthday, accompanied by the banjo.

And that’s how it all started for me.


I feel truly blessed to be able to play music for people in this kind of setting, where the effect it has is so positive and immediate. I’m sure many of you have experienced the power of gratitude. There’s a song I wrote that helps me remember to be grateful every day. If you’d like to hear it, click the following link:

Happy Thanks Giving!

Music is the Gift that Keeps on Giving…

December 18th, 2008

During this season of busyness, it’s easy to get stressed out,  aggravated and even exhausted – especially for a musician!  For me this time of year is packed to the brim with concerts and events that I’m musically responsible for: at church, the hospital, and other places in the community. It can be overwhelming. This year is particularly frustrating for me because I’ve been dealing with a condition called “trigger thumb” – which actually came from playing a musical instrument! It’s a repetitive movement syndrome, and I was playing the same instrument continuously for an unusually long period of time during a week-long residency, back in August.

But though it’s been difficult for me to adjust, at the same time it makes me aware of what a gift it is to be able to do this at all, let alone do it for a living. And even if my playing is not quite up to par, the music still has the same magical effect on people.  One example: Arts in Medicine’s annual AIM for the Holidays concert in December.

This is an annual event we present in the lobby at Shands hospital, bringing in folks from the community to help us celebrate the holidays with music.  Some of the same performers have been coming for years…The Gainesville Flute Ensemble washes over everyone with a lovely sound as flutes of different registers play beautiful arrangements of Christmas carols. Reb Shaya Isenberg often comes to relay a Chanukah message and this time he was accompanied by a renowned New York musician, Reb Shefa Gold.

The day started with a performance of 40 elementary school children from Jordan Glen singing Christmas songs under the direction of music teacher Jolene Jones. Energetic yet somehow angelic, they had a great time singing and playing their recorders, and were a big hit. They were followed by the jazzy holiday strains of Bella Luna, with Ron Shorr on guitar, David Cook on piano, Laurie Jennings on drums and Annie McPherson on vocals and bass. It was great for Jolene and Annie, who are also in a band together (Patchwork), to get to see and hear each other in this setting. At the end of the set, the next singer, a young woman named Jamie Kramer with a beautiful operatic voice, asked David to play piano for her and they did a lovely rendition of I Wonder as I Wander. Then as Jamie continued to sing, our Arts in Medicine volunteers–Adrienne, SunYoung, and Will Kang– provided accompaniment on flute, violin, and percussion.

Guitarist Robert Roberg showed up next–in an angel costume complete with gigantic white wings! While he was getting ready the volunteer ensemble and I filled the time, and then accompanied him during his performance, along with Jamie. Then two of my musical worlds joined together in a new way, as my church choir, Voices of Unity, sang Dona Nobis Pacem, and  Minister Marciah McCartney presented Arts in Medicine with a check from a fund raiser they held on AIM’s behalf back in November!   Afterwards Shaya read a wonderful story, The Chanuka Guest, and Shefa accompanied him with chanting and an unusual little drone-like instrument, called, I believe, a “shruti.”  By now the Flute Ensemble was starting to set up, and they really enjoyed hearing this.

Watching everything unfold, I loved the way each thing flowed into the next and people who hadn’t met before played and sang together for the first time. But then, it’s always like that at the hospital. The piano–a grant/gift from Childrens Miracle Network when I started there over twelve years ago–serves as a focal point where music can work its magic, creating community. And I am very grateful to be in on it.

I hope your holiday is blessed with both music AND magic.  If you can find the time, come visit me at my new websites listed below. I’m really excited about something called “widgets” that my friend Kiki from dancingLight first told me about! And remember you can go to my online stores at or any time to look, listen, and shop. You’ll find a variety of CDs there for your jazz loving friends (Autumn in New York and Love Notes), bluegrass lovin’ folkies (Patchwork Rides Again and Live! in Concert), and those in need of a spiritual lift or inspiration (Dreamsong). It’s easy and fun, and a way to help us get our music out into the world.

Thanks for your support, and for being part of my community–


Healing music in Hawaii & hospital

July 19th, 2008

Rob and I just got back from Hawaii, where we had a wonderful time snorkeling the seas, driving the circumference of the islands, and hiking in the volcanoes! I got to visit the Unity Church of Hawaii, in Honolulu, kind of a famous Unity church with Rev. Sky St. John, where Faith Rivera had performed just a few weeks before. Then on the Big Island I did the morning service–a talk/demonstration of music and healing–for a Religious Science church outside of Kona. We stayed with my friends in Kona who are musicians and Krishnas–Bernice Roberto is a harpist from the islands and husband Manuel is a flutist from Spain, and they play at Krishna gatherings and other events throughout the world.

In Volcano we stayed at a wonderful romantic rainforest retreat recommended to us by Howard Shapiro, whom I met just a month ago or so through Positive Music Association email conversations! We had a great visit with Howard, too–went to his place and saw lots of photos of the wonderful work he’s done all through the Islands. I think he is embarking on a new recording project soon.

After a glorious 2 weeks of Aloha spirit, it was back to work at the hospital here at the University of Florida, where I’m lucky to be able to play music for people in all kinds of situations. Though I get to do many things and play lots of instruments, my main focus is on the power of song. A favorite song can completely alter the mood of a person– or an entire room– in

seconds, often bringing back a vivid memory and creating an instant sense of community as people join together to sing, dance, or play along. In the 14 years I’ve been working with Shands Arts in Medicine at UF, certain songs have proved to be instant winners in nearly every case. One of the most recognizable songs of all time is the Temptations’ hit, “My Girl.” As soon as you play the opening riff of six notes (generally twice), people usually start singing along right away. My volunteers Allie and Will provided great back-up singing and dance-steps for an impromptu rendition during our concert on Friday.