Music As a Means To An End – Mayans: NOT

12.1.12 – Nancy Tucker performs during Robert Messore’s 11th Annual ‘Fabulous Guitar Night’
at St. John’s Episcopal Church in New Haven, CT.

If the world was going to end it would’ve sounded pretty good last night. In the spirit of celebrating life, organizer and guitarist Robert Messore hosted Robert Messore’s 11th Annual ‘Fabulous Guitar Night’ which showcased several musicians at St. John’s Episcopal Church on Humphrey Street. The thought of hearing new music was my motivation to attend.

What a fabulous night indeed! The line-up included talents that were diverse in styles, making the event a phenomenal opportunity to hear artists that you might otherwise miss.

The venue was perfect. St. John’s Episcopal Church has wonderful acoustics and the eight sets of fifteen minute lengths, plus one interlude, were performed in true Coffeehouse character.

The music ranged from classical guitarist Daniel Corr, to quirky sound effects from Nancy Tucker. Finger picker extraordinaire Glenn Roth, Prester John (Shawn Persinger & David Miller), duo Judy Handler & Mark Levesque, funky jazz player Pamela Means, an interlude performed by Robert Messore and Mickey Koth on fiddle, Hiroya Tsukamoto w/ Satoshi Takeishi on percussion were all mind-blowing performances.

Roth’s playing sound so full as though there were other instruments playing. I was amazed to hear as many sounds from just one guitar. Bluesy Vocalist Chrissy Gardner accompanied Robert Messore for the final set ending with a beautiful gospel song, ‘Let The Work that I’ve Done Speak for Me.’

I sat next to Ray who I just met, and we tried to put a name to Prester John as a genre. I called it ‘instrumental angst,’ because the energy was formidable. After checking out each musician’s music from the  links above, I wish I’d brought more money with me….are you listening Shawn and David? Now instead of the $5/CD deal I would’ve had – I’ll pay $12. It doesn’t matter though – I’m happy to pay the difference. These artists deserve much more than the deals that can be found through community events, and yet by the virtue of venue, the price was just right for the upcoming holidays.

As a photographer I am familiar with the disparate idea of costs for goods. The arts are a passion. Most creative types do what they do from their core reason of being. The idea of ‘making a living’ comes after that, and those expressed goods are their products. They should be compensated at market value regardless of how diminished that value may have become due to digital influences.

Thank you Robert and to all involved for the organization of this event. If the Mayans are correct and the world will end, taking in music is an ideal way to make that transition: on the strings and sounds of beauty.


In Season To Find The Cure

Spring time brings out the best in people especially when it’s for a cause such as cancer. A ‘Relay-for-Life’ in Orange, CT drew a big crowd with an all night event even with the cool temperatures Friday evening. Tents were set up in the center of the walking path and looked like ‘occupy Orange’. That’s what cancer does when it comes – it takes over your life.

Cancer in all its variations, becomes too familiar in a wish-it-would go-away kind of way. If it hasn’t effected you personally, maybe it has to someone you care about. Survivor stories are the ‘good news’ stories, but even those come with tumultuous waves of comparisons between life before and after, living with cancer with the many side effects from treatment.

I can only imagine my own reaction if I learned I had cancer – starting with uncertainty and fear for all the unknowns. My aunt died of bladder cancer after a year-long fight where her body began a systematic shut down. The diagnosis was bad enough, but the chain of events, starting with surgery for bladder removal and hysterectomy, eventually caused her bowls to back up.

Years ago before Aunt Vivian passed away I participated in my first ‘Relay For Life’ in Southington. Meteorologist Dr. Mel Goldstein of Connecticut’s WTNH, was the guest of honor, and he spoke about his battle with multiple myeloma, a form of bone cancer that affects the body’s immune system.

Goldstein was a role model for cancer patients, maybe because of public persona, and perhaps because he was by nature, a cheerful person. He fought his disease with strength and humility, working while in treatment. Not everyone has that fight in them given the challenge that cancer presents.


My 2nd ‘Relay For Life’ came as a request from a a co-worker who has both a nephew and mother facing challenges.

So many teenagers walked the laps and when it grew dark, the mood quieted down.

Names of countless people were read after the luminary ceremony. Loved ones were called out and I could picture who they were –  mom, grandma, nanna, uncle, aunt, friend, brother, son, and daughter being said over and over again.

White bags containing candles for luminaries were marked with ‘miss you’ and ‘love you’ messages and hearts colored red symbolizing loved ones, now gone.

Cancer is a war being fought in every town and it doesn’t care what age you are or if you can afford it. Cancer recruits the unknowing. Once detected, I think you have to fight with every bit of energy, whether you’re up for the fight or not. If you have people who care, lean on them – it’s life affirming to do so.

There’s no shame in feeling vulnerable. My aunt was strong until the end – and when it was time to let go she did.