Harp in Church

     Yo Harp people,
     I've been playing like crazy and I've come a hell of a long way in the
last year.  I may be playing in a start up band, starting in a couple of
weeks.  But lately I've been getting my public exposure in of all places,,,
church!  I was the featured soloist a few months back, and I spoke and
played again today.  The sermon was on "Ways of Nurturing the Soul".
People were being asked to share how they nurture themselves in their own
unigue ways. I'm an artist, and they wanted me to talk about my art, but I
asked to talk about the harp instead(and play a little too).  So I plugged
my Astatic into the Church P.A., and when my turn came up, my little speech
went thusly.

     When I was asked to speak here this morning , it was suggested that I
talk about how I nurture my soul through my painting. "I could do that," I
replied, "but you know lately, I've been nurturing myself in a different

(Out comes a C harp.  Wail, wail, bluesy licks, big crescendo, end on a
hole 2 and hole 5 draw, with throat vibrato.  Lots of startled laughter and

     Although I've felt real joy and healing during and after musical
performances, I never really stopped to think about how healing it is to
make music, especially, I'm speculating, when your lungs are involved in
the process.

(Out comes an F harp.  Long slow draw chord, long slow blow chord, repeat,
then break into fast in-and-out chugs with a train whistle moan with harp
shake to close. )

     I love the harmonica in particular because it's such a lyrical
instrument.  It conveys emotions, both happy,    and sad,    very plainly.
It's also unrivaled, as you may have noticed, as a "respiratory"
instrument, being the only wind instrument, that I can think of, that makes
music when you're exhaling AND when you're inhaling.
     People in the business of healing and fitness are becoming more and
more aware of the value of deep breathing.  "Breath work" is an important
element of yoga and many other physical fitness programs.  It's also can be
an important element in meditation, and can play an important role in
psychotherapy.   Slowing down, breathing deeply in,    and breathing deeply
out,    can perceptively calm your mind and release physical and mental
tension in just a matter of minutes.  I say, if you're gonna breath deeply,
you might as well express yourself and make music too.
     If you're feeling rushed, pushed to the limit, overflowing with
worries and other stimuli, I suggest you "let the steam out of your
pressure cooker" through music and breath.  Sing, shout, or play the
harmonica deep and loud.  You'll feel the tension and worries flow right
out of you, and you just might make some beautiful music.

(Out comes a Bb harp.  One verse of "Shenandoah" nice and slow, lots of vibrato)

     I had a ball, and the folks loved it.  (who says the blues is the
Devil's music?)  I figured you all would appreciate the sentiments more
than most.

Harpeth on,

Rod Thomas                              email:   skt2@xxxxxxx
Illustrator                               phone:  (617) 449-0480

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