Simple Gifts

Tuesday, 22nd March 2005, page 2 of 2
Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

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'I want to go to the jungle right this minute (sooner if possible),' says a friend in California who is 'chomping at the bit to go on an ecoadventure.' She asks me if I've ever been to Costa Rica. No, but a children's wildlife group I helped run once raised enough money to buy several acres of rain forest for conservation.

But another friend, Joy Rothke, who lives in Costa Rica, says that she is soon 'returning to the States permanently'. She explains that she's 'not a tropical person', but likes' grey and misty places--like Yorkshire'.

She says she's 'happy to be returning to the land of libraries and bookshops, museums, art supply stores...and English!'

She's heading for California, and taking her sketchbook with her. Someday all my friends might find themselves exactly where they want to be. And I hope you do too.

Leeds Music FestivalSimple Gifts

'Tis the gift to be simple,
'tis the gift to be free,
'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.

'Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be,
'Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of “me”,
And when we hear what others really think and really feel,
Then we'll all live together with a love that is real.

Joseph Brackett, Jr., 1848

Copland at Leeds


CoplandI can't think of the Shaker work song without thinking of Aaron Copland (1900-1990). I drew him energetically conducting his own work at the Leeds Music Festival - here in grey and misty Yorkshire - on Saturday 16th October 1976.

'I'm glad you've drawn him,' said the woman sitting next to me, 'he's like a great grasshopper in that tailcoat, isn't he?!'

According to the programme, which fell out of an LP sleeve recently, he conducted In the Beginning, the Suite from The Tender Land (which features Simple Gifts) and two songs, The Promise of Living and Stomp your Foot.

CoplandYou can't stow away memories like that in a CD sleeve can you? And certainly not with an MP3. Next Page


Richard Bell,

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