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October 26, 2016
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Spring cleaning: it’s the little things...

Some of the youngest students to participate in the A Capella Festival were from Roscoe’s group “Rosc-A- Pella.”

It just so happens that I am one of those who love to clean. I have found that when my environment is cluttered, my mind follows suit. So it was with anticipation, rather than dread, that I finally got down to business this week. The dust and cobwebs in the house were the least of my concerns, but rather the cobwebs in my mind that were on the forefront of the attack.

Dusting myself off, picking myself up and getting back to basics turned out to be the key to regaining a true sense of happiness and peace of mind. It began with opening the windows (in my mind and the house). A little fresh air (along with fresh perspective) can make all the difference in the world and having a desire to “whistle a happy tune,” I checked the calendar and drove myself (in the cleansing rain) to the Liberty High School A Capella Festival.

The evening was orchestrated by Liberty’s own Scott Glasser, whose group “Essential Blend” was first on the bill. Each of the groups presented a short program of eclectic a capella selections, and Glasser’s troupe set the tone with theatricality, originality and a great sound. “Jenny Rebecca” and “Seasons of Love” were standouts for me, but the audience went wild for one of the more current hits, “Billionaire,” with which I was (age appropriately) unfamiliar.

The Eldred Central School district was in the house, under the guidance of music director Justin Glodich. Impressive, especially since Glodich informed the crowd that this was the group’s first year. Their selections ran the gamut from traditional Irish blessings to the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” and were accompanied by the director’s talent for creating rhythmic beats, the sounds of cymbal and drums (all with just his voice). The audience was very enthusiastic.

Monticello’s “Chamber Singers” had just returned from an exciting trip to England, and they treated the crowd to another variety of tunes, including Rogers & Hammerstein’s “Hello Young Lovers” and a Lady Gaga hit that (again) I was unaware of, but had the kids in the house screaming for more. I must say, under the direction of Eric Rubinstein, this (enormous) group of singers, sounded (IMHO) truly impressive.

Rounding out the festival was another newcomer to the festival: Roscoe Central’s “Rosc-A-Pella,” a large group (under the skilled guidance of Rachel Kleinman), including some of the youngest kids hitting the stage, with selections from Coldplay. Justin Timberlake and Beyonce Knowles. As each school district took center stage, what struck me most was the incredibly enthusiastic response from their peers.

This was not a competition, but a celebration of vocal prowess (without accompaniment) and these kids hooted, hollered and leapt to their feet for each other, so often and without abandon, that (yep) it literally brought a tear to my eye to observe how they all support each other, which was clearly more important than individual accomplishment. Little things.

I left the concert uplifted, and shrieked as a spider descended from the inside of the truck onto my lap, as I avoided swerving across Main St., making a mental note to clean out the pickup when I got home. Having made no reservations, I found there wasn’t a seat left for me to attend the Chamber Music event at St. Andrews Church in South Fallsburg. Cursing my lack of forethought, while rejoicing in the knowledge that there were so many who had made reservations, I swore that I would do so the next time around and altered my ever-changing plans.

I returned to the cleanup around the house and discovered that my “Red Dragon” weeping dwarf Japanese Maple (that’s a mouthful!) had not died, but was budding with new growth and it (loathe to admit) brought a tiny tear to my eye. Simple things. As I perused the property, I found tulips coming up, the forsythia in bloom, lilies of the valley about to trumpet, while Dharma (the wonder dog) unearthed her very own clam shell (from a barbeque gone by?) that sent her into spasms of utter doggy delirium.

She claimed it, cleaned it and promptly hid it, to be discovered with renewed joy, time and time again, which made my heart swell. Little things. All told, I had approached the weekend with reservations, but as it turned out, not having them taught me untold lessons about life, simple pleasures and the pursuit of happiness that a spring cleaning can inspire. I am moving forward again, body, mind and spirit. Invigorated with new growth, I once again look forward to all that life in the Catskills has to offer.