Wednesday, December 9, 2020



This time of year brings on a flurry of shopping for gifts to be given to children, parents, friends and colleagues.  The expectation of finding the correct item is great and the expectation of what we hope we will receive is even greater.  What a rut we have created for an act that should be from a loving heart.


Researching the definition of a “gift” I found numerous meanings.  The most common would be giving or donating of a thing to someone or an organization voluntarily without payment in return. 


Next comes the mention of a natural talent which I, of course, think of the gift of music.   In my years of working as a performer, it was my inherent musical gift that I then gave to an audience who would receive my personal message.  That also is a gift. 


I have said that discovering the music and life of Gena Branscombe was and continues to be one of the most unexpected, surprising gifts to my musical career.  From recording her songs, to the one-woman show, to putting her forth into the 21st century with a performance of her dramatic oratorio, Pilgrims of Destiny, and the formation of The Gena Branscombe Project not-for-profit is a gift to the world. 

What brought about this blog entry entitled “GIFT?”  Through The Gena Branscombe Project we are offering to singers, pianists and instrumentalists the music of Miss Branscombe.  Performers choose which of her compositions they would like to learn and video record her music to be put on our YouTube channel.  In this process I have offered to coach performers on style, the poets, and where the repertoire fits in her life.  What a joy it has been to share my knowledge with these talented, inquisitive and appreciative musicians. 


Via ZOOM, I recently had several sessions with soprano Jessica Zamek who worked on two of Miss Branscombe’s songs.  With passion she invested herself into the songs and will be recording them.  We had in-depth discussions of style, interpretation and more.  Every hour spent together was an education for me and I hope Jessica.  What a musical gift to one another that includes becoming friends.


Two weeks ago a surprise gift arrived at my door and I do mean surprise.  In the small padded envelope was the bag pictured below.  Jessica designed the bag and one of her gifted friends created it.  Here was a bag with Gena Branscombe’s picture and her name below each image.  This was the most astonishing, thoughtful and much appreciated gift from a friend and musician. 

Gift giving involves many layers of understanding.  It is not only the physical gift that is important; it is the “gift” of appreciation by people that mingles the two together for the investment in a relationship.  Jessica and I gifted one another our musical talents then created a friendship.  Thank you so much for your beautiful singing and the Gena bag, Jessica.   



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