Singer and educator PATRICIA THOMPSON has recently recorded one of Travis Edmonson's songs, and she's now taken time from her round-the world sea voyage to write about the inspirational nature of his music. It's a quality we're all familiar with, but this particular story has an uplifting aspect that will touch all hearts, and Pat gives her account in the form of a letter to Travis. (The paragraphs in green will give you a special glow, but every word speaks volumes.)
Dear Travis Edmonson,
Although we have never met in person, I have a lot to thank you for, and here's the story of how your song “One For The Money” has influenced me after Bruce Brackney let me listen to some songs sung in concert by Fred Holstein. One of those songs was “One for the Money.”
Well, Mr. Edmonson, I loved many of the songs on that CD. But the one I “gathered” first was your song. I played it over and over. I dried off my wet hands (I was doing dishes at the time) and grabbed pen and paper and wrote out the words. I ran and got my guitar and I learned that song.
The next day I went to work. At that time, I worked as a teacher in a Psychiatric Hospital for Children in Victoria B.C., Canada. I worked with wonderful kids ages 5-12. These kids were in serious trouble, mainly because they had been born a bit different or vulnerable, or had become vulnerable due to events in their lives, or maybe some of them were just too clever and too fast-thinking and fast-moving for the rest of the world. Some of them were in trouble because they could see that the “Emperor Had No Clothes”, but they hadn't been able to quite grasp the diplomatic way of pointing it out to the rest of the world. These kids were mostly boys, and mostly labeled as “Bad Boys”. They often would cuss and whine and refuse to do what anybody wanted them to do. Many had not been able to attend school for ages, and some had been removed from their families as well.
Funny thing, though, these kids loved to sing. Guess they just needed someone to sing them real songs and belt out those songs with a real voice, and show them that singing was for the strong and positive, and also a way to share and experience big feelings. My students used to say, “A song is something no one can ever take away from you.”
I did this job for over 30 years, and never came across a kid who didn't love to sing out loud and clear, and have a favourite song, and want to share it with others.
So, the day after hearing “One for the Money” for the first time, what did I do, but dash into school, pick up the guitar and shout, “Wow, wait till you hear this new song I just learned!” And guess what? Within a few minutes all the kids were singing it, my little ones and the older kids from next door, and all the Nurses and Doctors, Psychiatrists and Psychologists, Child and Youth Counselors, the Parents and Teachers and Visiting Professionals and the Custodians and Maintenance Staff. Everyone loved that song. Tears flowed through the grins. Everyone was so touched by the words and the music and the delightful structure that allowed immediate recognition and instant chorus-singing.
A few days later, I sang your song at the Victoria Folk Music Society Coffee House, and then at parties and other gatherings, and I flew to Toronto and sang it for my Mother (age 80+) and my brother and sister and their families. I even sang it at our wedding! Everyone loved that song!
One of the places I shared the song was Northwest TeacherCamp, a yearly gathering of enlightened teachers, whose thoughtfulness and reflection and caring are expressed in so many ways, and where music is an all-day, all-night activity. Everyone at Teachercamp loved the song.
Pat Thompson photo by Claudia Yow
A couple of years ago, I decided to change direction in life. I retired from teaching and began to prepare for a many-year voyage on the Wooden Schooner built by my “best friend and favourite dancing partner”, Tony Latimer.
Richard Scholtz, one of the founders of TeacherCamp and an amazing mentor to more folks than he remembers meeting, suggested that it might be a good idea to do a recording before we headed south. Richard is highly skilled in facilitating the recording of real live music, and so, in February 2007, a CD was made, with 12 of my favourite songs - the ones I most wanted to share.
The CD is called “We Need to Sing” and “One for the Money” was one of the first songs on the set list.
Well, Mr. Edmonson, I am sitting here in San Francisco Bay on a 58 ft. Schooner and finally writing to you and sending you a copy of the CD. The folk process has been active, and so the words of your song are not exactly as written (I didn't find you soon enough). I hope you will forgive me for that.
I started out to write you a short note, and here it has turned into a long one. What I really want to do is thank you for your song, and for the many hours of enjoyment it has given so many people. You have got to be a very special person, and I hope very much that one day we might meet in person. But whether that happens or not, I feel that our paths have truly crossed, and this one song is a demonstration of the powerful influence of music in the world. Thank you for that.
I know that you have had some health problems lately, and I am sending you heartfelt wishes for your health, comfort and well-being. May the joy you have given others through your music come back many times multiplied.
Now I am going to go and sing your song for myself and for you.
Maybe you will hear it in your mind, all the way from San Francisco Bay.
One of many people touched by your music,
On board Schooner Forbes & Cameron
Presently moored in Alameda, California
And the day after writing that, Pat added the following:
Last night we went to the Song Circle called "In Harmony's Way", in Berkeley, California. This is a wonderful group of singers (about 40 of them) who gather once a month and sing acappella songs. For hours! So I told them about Travis-some remembered him from years ago, and we all sang One for the Money - that was a first singing it without the guitar, and it was very much appreciated and sung with much harmony. I'm sure it will be requested again and learned by others.
To read more about Pat and Tony's voyage, go to http://www.tonylatimer.com/categories/patandtony.htm
Pat Thompson on board Forbes & Cameron (photo by Claudia Yow
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Travis Edmonson made his breakthrough with The Gateway Singers, resident group at the hungry i
Be sure and check out the website celebrating the great San Francisco club at www.hungryi.net
For More of the best in 1960s entertainment, Click the logo above to check out the ultimate illustrated guide to "I Spy" with Robert Culp and Bill Cosby at www.l23.org
Travis Edmonson Recommendation! Love the music of Bud & Travis? then you're sure to enjoy the fabulous STREET MINSTRELS.
If you're in Arizona, you can experience their music live, and even have them perform at an event you're arranging. But music lovers all over the US and beyond can experience the great STREET MINSTRELS sound on CD. Just go to www.streetminstrels.com to hear them and get ordering info!