I’ve been listening to an audio book in my car. Audio books are still kind of new to me, but the book I’m onto now, suggested by my friend Paul, is as captivating as its title.
Leonardo’s Mountain of Clams and Diet of Worms is the eighth volume of collected essays by the Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould. Only Paul would suggest such a thing to me and be right that I would like it. It is fascinating.
The very idea that Leonardo was trying to prove that the earth was a living organism (Gaia) is intriguing. And even more intriguing is all the chatter over history that, perhaps, just maybe, Leonardo was an alien. How else can you explain is body of work, much of it not truly understood for hundreds of years?
Which led me to a new word in my vocabulary. Polymath. He was one. One who excels or is expert in a great many things. I personally like Renaissance man as a term. Leonardo was the archetype of the Renaissance man, someone of “unquenchable curiosity” and "feverishly inventive imagination.”
I write songs as my area of interest outside my regular occupation, For Leonardo his interests were: invention, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history and cartography. He is credited with the invention of the parachute, helicopter and tank. Which leads me to think I better try harder.
How do you do all of that in 67 years?
I’m sure Bill Gates, one of the true visionaries of the technology age, has been wondering the same thing as he enters his 60’s. In 1994 Bill purchased the Codex Leicester (or Hammer Codex), one of Leonardo’s manuscripts for over $30 million US. Previous owner was Armand Hammer. I suspect there is a reason why two of the most influential men of our time have owned this document.
My best guess is they are trying to connect with an alien ship and hoped there is a message in there to summon it to earth. That or they are interested in the subject matter. I hope it is the alien.
Sometimes you need to challenge yourself, and take yourself out of your comfort zone. Such a challenge for me is performing on stage. And I am happy to say I faced it in 2015 with the Edmonton Singing Christmas Tree.
In 2014 I was a "tree family" member, learning to sing choir (I've never done it before), and being taught by a master, Emmanuel (Mannie) Fonte. It was a great experience. So in 2015 I decided to take it to the next level and audition as an ensemble (stage) singer. The audition was at that point the highlight of my musical life. In a room full of talented singers, we were called up as foursomes to sing a snippet of two songs, and were evaluated by the team. I was thrilled to receive an email saying I was selected. Above is a photo of my trusty sidekick Triffany Baker on stage at the Jubilee Auditorium in front of thousands of people. Crazy. And the time of my life really.
A few of us were also featured in a few videos that were used to promote the show. Here is one of them.
So what is going to happen in 2016 for my singing career? Only time will tell, although I do know I will try out again this year to join the ensemble. And I may just put myself out there and do some open stage work with my guitar. Talk to you all soon.