Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Pleasures of Nova Scotia



One day left in my Nova Scotia Jazz Course and what a pleasure it was been. Instead of a hotel on a strip mall with a view of a parking lot, I’m at the lovely home of James and Kathleen Jackson in Ketch Harbor. Great company, great meals, great view of the harbor and after four nights of evening fog, our first sunset. Shared with course members who came for a barbecue and practiced body percussion on the deck and played bocci ball on the lawn. Alongside the two days of late afternoon swims and yesterdays visit to the touristed Peggy’s Cove, complete with a Fish ‘n’ Chips dinner, this is not my usual post-workshop experience of returning to my hotel and playing Solitaire! Tomorrow night will go to downtown Halifax and on Saturday, a late flight will allow a farewell swim in the lake. I love it!

Life seems good in Nova Scotia. Tranquil, friendly, calm, schools in pretty good shape, a tradition of “kitchen music” at parties. There have been some odd facts that make the place distinctive—this year the 100th anniversary of the accidental giant explosion of a munitions ship that destroyed much of the town. On the way to Peggy’s Cove we passed the Memorial to Swiss Air Flight 111 that crashed nearby. And in the gift shop was a book about the burial grounds of Titanic victims. For a place that seems mostly happy, odd events to commemorate.

The people in the course have been lovely, eager and pleased to learn how to play the 12-bar blues, making up fun “silent movies” to ragtime and one of my most appreciative audiences viewing the clips I show from Singing in the Rain, Stormy Weather and other Youtube treats, most of them new (and thus fresh) to them. They are more than willing to hear my stories behind the stories of jazz, the inspiring anecdotes and the tales of grief. They understand the need to change the demeaning narratives that still fuel decisions and attitudes and get that this is the dues we pay to be able to enjoy this uplifting music called jazz.

There is an invitation on the table to return in two years to teach a course of my choice and no arm-twisting is needed. I could get spoiled. And I’m curious about venturing up further, to Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton and maybe New Brunswick. There’s a lot to see and hear here that I’m just beginning to uncover. Thanks to all for this lovely time together.

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