Category Archives: Performing Arts

Zola’s Exquisite Journey as a Classical Double Bassist

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10462429_10204318052215420_906693918121963652_o ZOLA SMI 2014

NSO Summer Music Institute Orchestra

“The National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute is a four-week festival of orchestral and chamber music for young people ages 14-21 at the Kennedy Center. Musicians from around the country participate in the Institute, which consists of orchestral and chamber music coached by NSO musicians, conducting and master classes, private lessons with NSO musicians, and additional enrichment sessions. Several of the local students are graduates or current participants of the NSO Youth Fellowship Program, an orchestral training program for talented young musicians. Also included are students participating in the Young Artists’ of Color national training initiative of the Kennedy Center.”   – NSO – SMI website.

My daughter, Zola, a classical double bassist, had the distinct honor and pleasure of performing with the NSO Summer Music Institute Orchestra the past two years.  What an amazing experience and opportunity!  If you have any young musicians in your life, encourage them to apply for the NSO Youth Fellowship.  It includes housing, a stipend, and intense training and performance experiences!

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the final performance of the NSO Summer Music Institute Orchestra which was held in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall.  Simply PHENOMENAL!  It is always a WONDER for me to sit in front of the Double Bass Section and watch my daughter transform right in front of my eyes.  She fully immerses her soul and her being into this gift that she has been given.  I am thankful for the doors that have been opened for her through her dedication, hard work and talent.  May Zola continue to inspire others along her Exquisite Journey!

Enjoy  last night’s performance!

 

 

The Classical Double Bassist

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ZOla - The classical double bassist

Bold, strong vibrations

synergized with passion for

classical music

 

by Michelle L. Thompson

A haiku of love for my daughter, Zola.  Tomorrow she  takes the next step on her classical music performance journey.  She will be pursuing her passion and her dreams at one of the top conservatories in the world!  Blessings and Hugs!

Exquisite Haiku: I Speak With Conviction

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I Speak With Conviction

 

The rhythm of verse

Filled with passion and purpose

Expanding your mind

 

by Michelle Lynn Thompson 08/10/2012

Busboys and Poets

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I Speak With Conviction

The rhythm of verse

Filled with passion and purpose

Expanding your mind

by Michelle Lynn Thompson 08/10/2012

After five years of  hearing about all of the exciting activities that are hosted by this venue, I  finally experienced an open mic event at Busboys and Poets!  There are four Busboys and Poets restaurants/bookstores in the Washington metropolitan area – two in Washington DC, one in Hyattsville, MD, and one in Shirlington, VA.  I ventured out to The Village at Shirlington, VA to get a feel for the venue and experience this icon for myself.

It was my first time visiting The Village at Shirlington,  an urban village, hosting an eclectic collection of restaurants and entertainment options, but quaint enough to be home to thousands of residents who enjoy the convenience of so many amenities just outside of their front door.  I loved strolling through the neighborhood as I made my way to Busboys and Poets.  The village has this rich, bohemian feel and I can easily see this becoming a favorite place for me to just BE!

I want to share an excerpt from Busboys and Poets website – there is no way that I can explain the essence of this venue any better.

Busboys and Poets Tribal Statement
 
Busboys and Poets is a community where racial and cultural connections are consciously uplifted…a place to take a deliberate pause and feed your mind, body and soul…a space for art, culture and politics to intentionally collide…we believe that by creating such a space we can inspire social change and begin to transform our community and the world.
 

Those of you who have gotten to know me, can understand why I felt instantly welcomed and at ease when I arrived.  The ambiance was soulful and engaging.  The place was full of energy and just had this amazing vibe that enticed all of my senses.  I can see that I will be coming back to this location as often as possible.

This Monday Night Open Mic was hosted by Shelly Bell.  She was absolutely AWESOME in creating a fun, energetic and welcoming atmosphere for poets of all levels and experiences.  She encouraged the audience in being supportive of each artist that approached the stage.  This was my sneak peek – I like to check things out before I step out there.  I am planning to visit the other locations in the area and I am so looking forward to sharing some of my work at the next Open Mic Poetry event!

I have to share the history of the name “Busboys and Poets”.  I am always intrigued about how things came to be.  The website educates us by sharing that “the name Busboys and Poets refers to American poet Langston Hughes, who worked as a busboy at the Wardman Park Hotel in the 1920s, prior to gaining recognition as a poet.”  Mr. Hughes would feel very, very welcomed at any of their locations and so will you.  If you are in the Washington metropolitan area, make it a point to stop by  the nearest Busboys and Poets for a meal, share a poem, hear a discussion – or just relax in the space and just be YOU!

Peace and Love,

Michelle

Celebrate National Poetry Month – Organize a Local Poetry Reading!

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I am thankful for our monthly Spoken Word Gatherings!  We had our April gathering last night and it was a BLAST!  I shared my poem “The Silver Legacy” and a couple of new Exquisite Haiku’s   We had about 19 people in attendance and some our first time guests felt comfortable enough to share their works with the group.  We meet at a local community room that has a kitchen to prepare light refreshments.  It really is the perfect intimate setting, not too small – not too large.  Our hostess VW, works to bring in a featured Spoken Word Artist each month.  Last night I had the chance to hear Komplex, an artist from the Baltimore, MD area.  It was such a treat to hear his works.  His lyrical tapestry was absolutely exquisite!

Below are some suggestions from Poets.org about putting together a local poetry reading in your community!  Keep the children in mind, and make it an early afternoon family event.

Readings are a great way to promote poets and poetry. Perhaps you are part of a writing group and want to share your work with an audience. Or maybe you’re interested in gathering poets whose work you’ve admired, or you want to help discover new voices. You can select poets you know from writers groups, workshops, local colleges and universities (professors and students), or announce a call for readers.

When looking for a venue, consider your local library, coffee shop, bookstore, art gallery, bar, or performance space. Depending on where you have the reading, you may have to charge an admission fee or a drink minimum, which you can arrange with the owner or manager of the space.

Advertise your reading online and in print. You can post your event on the Academy’s free National Events Calendar using the simple online form. The event listing will also appear on the corresponding state page of the National Poetry Map. Create an event page on Facebook and invite your local contacts, and ask friends with websites and blogs to help publicize the reading. In addition to posting your event online, make flyers and send a listing announcement of the reading to your local newspapers and publications.

If you enjoy organizing the reading, then consider turning it into a weekly or monthly series. Your event may be the beginning of a long poetry tradition in your community.

Other Resources from Poets & Writers:
Poets & Writers Directory (to find poets in your area)

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The Silver Legacy

When you first showed up, I didn’t know who you were.

But then – I wasn’t expecting you either – I was only in my late 20’s

So I tried to hide your presence.

But then – you started showing up more often, and thought you would bring more of your friends.

Until – you became a force that I could no longer reckon with…

I finally accepted the fact that you were here to stay.

I thought that I would get to know you more intimately, and explore the power of your being.

It wasn’t until about three years ago that I embraced you fully – welcoming your NATURAL state of being.

Your NATURAL curls and BEAUTIFUL color.

I now recognize that my crowning glory is the SILVER LEGACY of the Palmer women.  We wear our silver tresses with grace, boldness and conviction.

I love the versatility that you bring to my life.  Whether sporting braids, two strand twists, bantu knots, twist outs – or my favorite – my afro puff!

You make me feel all woman!

You empower me when I boldly step out with my full silver ‘fro.

You give me a sense of grace, self-confidence, and an eternal connection to the women of my past.

You have become one of the beautiful, unique features that add to my presence of being.

I accept each and every one of you, and will continue to share your beauty with boldness and conviction.

by Michelle Lynn Thompson 04/14/2012

Exquisite Poetry: The Silver Legacy