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First of all, welcome! I'm glad to be leading Brothers and Sisters this weekend.

Welcome to Brothers and Sisters, the weekly meetup for prayer* and community at Daily Kos.  We put an asterisk on pray* to acknowledge that not everyone uses conventional religious language, but may want to share joys and concerns, or simply take solace in a meditative atmosphere. Anyone who comes in the spirit of mutual respect, warmth and healing is welcome.
It's been quite a weekend for me, with a trip to see my elderly grandparents and a piano recital at their residence -- an event that was both joyous and somber for me, as I'll explain below.

As a professional musician, I spend most of my time teaching, but I do try to put in the occasional public performance whenever possible. Teaching is by far the more stable, and lucrative, side of the profession -- but I find that without tangible performance commitments, there's insufficient motivation on my end to get my butt over to the piano and get down to work.

So I'd planned a recital for this Saturday, just a small event at my grandparents' retirement residence; some Bach, Brahms, Chopin, Debussy and Rogers & Hammerstein (this last at my grandpa's request). As I mentioned, it was both a joyous and sad occasion. Joyous because I hadn't seen my grandparents in several years -- ever since they'd moved into their seniors' facility -- and sad because of how much they'd declined in that time.

My grandmother didn't recognize me. (Though, to be fair, she hadn't seen me often growing up, and never in stage makeup and recital clothing before.) My grandpa did, but simply coming to the recital and dinner at my aunt and uncle's afterward left him rather drained. Quite a change from his younger gregarious self; I remember him as the "life of the party" for so many years.

But they definitely seemed happy to have me there and to listen to the recital. Grammy, in particular, has always loved classical music and during some of the selections it was all that my aunt could do to stop her from getting up and dancing in the aisle! :) It was great to see that, even though she wasn't really able to communicate much verbally, she still has this incredible zest for life. Old age may have taken a lot from her, but not that characteristic sparkle in her eyes and her love of music.

So it was a deeply moving experience in many ways.

That's enough about my weekend -- what's new with you?

(For any who are interested, here is one of the pieces I played at the recital. No, NOT me playing -- this is Arthur Rubinstein, with his characteristic warmth and amazingly free, lyrical style. One of my favorite pianists of all time!)

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