Monday, November 23, 2009
Raymond in Austin
The above photo is one of Raymond and his Dad, Dean, singing to one of the early Blue Grass Festivals that eventually morphed into the Boulder Heritage Festival that has been held every summer since in Boulder, Utah, my hometown, fostered and promoted by my nieces Cheryl Cox, Camille Hall, and my son Raymond King Shurtz.
I just read Raymond's most recent blog on his mighty struggle in Austin, for you do struggle when you come to a big city like Austin, unknown, to find an audience that will make the effort worth coming. (Cowboys and Bohemians on my blog list)
Dean, Raymond's dad came alive when he could sing. If you could just get him going he could entertain a crowd all night singing with his cousin, Pole Griffin, Camille's father. Camille is carrying on in his footsteps with her twelve string guitar and the many songs she has written. She always has a couple of new songs for the festival each year She and her husband Doug Hall who accompanies her, playing base, guitar, and he can do piano, always provide a set. They own and run the motel, Pole's Place, right across the street from the festival site at the Anasazi Indian Center.
I always felt the ghosts around when I was with Dean. His mother died of pneumonia when he was four, leaving five children. Dean was four and the youngest. He never lost his sadness over her death. I would cry, too, when he would sing, "I'll have the last waltz with Mother" and so would others. But in that song, sung in his beautiful voice, heaven was reached, his mother was there, you could not doubt it. Dean knew sadness and heartbreak as well as any man I have known. So singing with Raymond in these Blue Grass Festivals was a dream come true for him, the highlight of his year.
So you don't think the ghost of Dean won't be in Austin along with his guitar player who sang lead while Dean harmonized, his cousin Pole who died over 10 years before he did? I think his cousin Sterling will be there, too, who almost taught me to sing in one night he was such a good teacher. They'll be there because Raymond has done just what Dean did, he has reached heaven with his plays, learning the guitar and writing songs, to unite with his dad through music, song, and magic words. In this play, he is proving once again, through his art, that we do not die. Ghosts will be there, filling in the empty seats, and the people will find the theater evangelist whose magic can unite us with our family passed on, often all too soon. His father disappeared out of Raymond's life when he was only five, but he managed to stay alive long enough so that Raymond, who was determined to have a father, could unite with him in later years to sing many nights in Boulder.
- ► 2010 (422)
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- ▼ November (23)