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Tag Archives: music

Week 45-Only the good die young, Day 5-Michael Jackson

The criminal case surrounding Michael Jackson’s personal doctor, Conrad Murray, has reminded us all about the tragic death of the King of Pop.  We first knew him as part of the Jackson 5 and the world watched as he became a super star in his own right.  He thrilled us, healed the world, and made sure we knew that Billie Jean was not his lover.  He is the most decorated recording artist in the history of popular music.  Music would literally not be what it is today without Michael.  He’s always the first name on the list when someone starts rattling off their musical influences.  Music may have been his first love, but the charity came in as a close second.

Jackson’s charity work was about as diverse as his musical career.  Treating underprivileged children to his concerts and donating profits from this tours were the “everyday” things Michael did to give back to society.  He also supported multiple charities like Childhelp, which is devoted to helping victims of child abuse and neglect.  CH wants to meet the physical, emotional, spiritual, and educational needs of the innocent children who are at-risk for this unacceptable treatment.  Group homes, foster care, community and advocacy centers are at the heart of helping CH reach their vision.  I know MJ was accused of mistreating or abusing children himself, but I believe that the dedication he felt to protect them was just much stronger than many people could wrap their minds around.  He was a big kid just like myself, and I can’t say that I blame him for that.  I can’t even count the days that I wish my biggest concern was tying my shoes.  But I digress.  Jackson was also a supporter of the T.J. Martell Foundation, which funds medical research to find cures and treatments for cancer, leukemia, and AIDS.  My favorite part about TJMF is that they are not afraid to let you know that they use the support of their stars to the fullest, and why shouldn’t they?  When you have musical giants like MJ, Willie Nelson, Mariah Carey, and Nick Jonas supporting you that is definitely something to brag about.  TJMF pushes the boundaries of science and fundraising to develop new treatments that are ahead of the curve.  Cancer and AIDS aren’t new, but the tools TJMF is using to slay the dragon are.  You better be scared cancer because your time is short.  Real short.

Childhealth Donation

T.J. Martell Foundation Donation

So here’s to you Michael Jackson!  I don’t need to list all your accolades and sing your praises.  Your musical and charity work speak for itself.  Thanks for making the world a better place.  

Week 45-Only the good die young, Day 2-Jimi Hendrix

It so amazing to me that a  man who only lived on this Earth for 27 years could have impacted it so much.  Jimi Hendrix passed away over 40 years ago but there are still people who are discovering, and loving, his music today.  He was THE guitar player.  It is a miracle that he rose to fame in the first place because he could never read or write music.  The Monterey Music Festival in 1967 really made him famous, and propelled him to headliner status at Woodstock in 1969.  His legacy goes beyond the innovative and one-of-a-kind music he left behind into the world of charity.  I’m thankful that Jimi’s music is powerful enough to move people to act. 

So let’s start with the obvious charity, The Jimi Hendrix Foundation.  This charity that shares his name, strives to achieve the vision Jimi had in mind for this world.  As you probably guessed his vision is filled with music, love, and creativity.  That means no flutes and trumpets in the JHF musical program.  Kids have the chance to choose between the three musical instruments that are left out of most school bands; the guitar, electric guitar, and the drums.  For the next three months they will be schooled in the art of their instrument and the history of rock and roll.  I know it sounds like the movie School of Rock with Jack Black, but this program is the real deal.  Jimi was all about leading by example, and showing people that living for what you believe in will not only change you but also those around you.  Jimi definitely gave us something to dream on.  It’s no wonder that Seattle, Jimi’s hometown, wants to commemorate his memory with a beautiful park.  The Jimi Hendrix Park Foundation has a vision of brining people together to celebrate diversity, the love of music, experience community pride, and participate in unique educational programming.  The JHPF has hopes of finishing this huge project by  Jimi’s 70th birthday next year.  Jimi always was and still is an electrifying force that transcends generations, race, occupation, and musical taste.  You can’t say that you don’t like Jimi Hendrix.  It’s against the rules….of life and music.

Jimi Hendrix Foundation Donation

Jimi Hendrix Park Foundation Donation

So here’s to you Mr. Hendrix!  We excused you while you kissed the sky and blew our minds at the same time.  Music was your religion but you knew that there was so much more to life than just music.  You knew that peace could only be achieved when the power of love was overpowered by the love of power.  And last but not least, you taught us that, “Knowledge speaks but wisdom listens.”  Thank you for making sense of this crazy world.

Rock on my friend

Week 34-Decades, Day 2-1990’s

Who doesn’t love the 90’s?  I loved it because it represents the time when the only worry I had in the world was what time supper was, and making sure all my homework was done.  Even though I was way too young to appreciate it then, there were so many great movies and music during this decade.  You may have heard of Pulp Fiction, Goodfellas, Forest Gump, Braveheart, Titantic, American Beauty, or Tombstone, and the list goes on and on.  Music taught us in the nineties that we were “too sexy for our shirts”, that you’ll have to tell it my heart “my achy breaky heart”, and lastly that “you can’t touch this.”  So maybe it wasn’t all good, but it was definitely a decade full of diverse achievements in the entertainment industry.  Word.

You tell her Jimmy!

One of my all-time favorite movies is A League of Their Own.  I was a total tomboy growing up so it can as no surprise that I immediately loved this movie when it came out in 1992.  Everybody knows, “There’s no crying in baseball!”  Like a lot of folks out there Dottie, played by Gena Davis was my favorite character of the movie.  She was everything I wanted to be when I grew up; smart, beautiful, talented, and loyal.  I also wouldn’t mind being like Geena Davis herself, and supporting the Geena David Foundation, which works to ensure better gender balance among children’s role in the media.  GDF has a unique program called See Jane that focuses on working with entertainment creators and educate the public about the need to increase the roles of women and girls in media aimed at kids.  Even though females are half the population, research by the GDF has shown that for top-grossing G-rated films there are three male characters to every one female.  What kind of message are we sending to our children?  I know I want my son or daughter to know that their gender isn’t going to stop them from being a successful actor.  Geena inspired me almost twenty years ago as a little girl, and she’s inspired me again tonight as a big girl.  I will have to admit that my taste in music during the 1990’s was not the best.  I was just developing my chops and I didn’t really know where I fit in between country music overload being from the South, and the classic rock my Dad always had the dial tuned in to.  Musicians On Call was formed in 1999 (bonus point for that one!) to bring smiles to the faces of patients through live and recorded music.  MOC uses music to help supplement the healing process for not only patients but also the family and caregivers.  Where do you go to get the music you need to heal your soul?  The CD Pharmacy of course.  This incredible program provides hospitals with a huge collections of CD libraries and disc players for the patients to use.  And if the patients are in the mood to listen to something more original, Project Playback gives them the chance to have their very own music recorded and produced.  Just writing about MOC is making my day, and I’m not even sick!

Geena Davis Foundation Donation

Musicians On Call Donation or Donate your old CDs to a CD Pharmacy (seriously you don’t need that Chumbawamba CD anymore)

So here’s to the nineties!  You weren’t the decade I was born in, but you did nurture me during my youth.  You gave us Britney Spears, Friends, Power Rangers, grunge, PlayStation, and slap bracelets.  You were the “Information Age” when we learned that we could clone sheep and surf the world-wide web.  You taught us how to make the world a better place, and party like it’s 1999. 

Week 32-Ramblin’ Roads, Day 7-NOLA

We’re in the NOLA baby!  We’ve officially made it to Louisiana and the annual American Society of Animal Science.  New Orleans is just as I remembered it, hot, smelly, vivacious, and unique.  When we were here three years ago at this time we fell in love with the architecture, culture, and charm of this Cajun city.  You would never know that a hurricane devastated the area almost six years ago.  All the jazz musics, neon lights, beignets, cafe au laits, hurricanes (drinks not inclement weather), po’ boys, and fleur-de-lis have helped me remember how thankful I am for this city…even if it makes me sweat before the sun comes up.

French Quarter in NOLA

I can only imagine all of the histories and stories that are floating around in the French Quarter and beyond.  Thankfully, the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans make sure the history of the city lives on for years.  Since 1976 NRCNO has been working to promote the preservation, restoration, and revitalization of New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods.  They have also helped over 5,000 families restore more than 300 homes since Hurricane Katrina, which is valued at more than $10 million.  PRCNO is also extremely sensitive to the tremendous past and heritage that New Orleans holds, and is respectful of it when restoring buildings.  They implement programs to educate and advocate the general public about the importance of preserving the only New Orleans we have.  I know I want to come back again one day, and I might even want to bring my kids one day.  Ok probably not the kid part, but they can grow up and then come here themselves.  I want them to experience the live jazz music pouring out of the clubs into the cobblestone streets.  Tipitina’s Foundation supports the irreplaceable music scene here in NOLA and Louisiana.  TP was founded after Hurricane Katrina and they initially helped musicians with anything they need to carry on with the immediate lives and get back to normal.  They have four main programs that range from donation of musical instruments to public school to creating a network of workforce development and job skills training.  One of the coolest programs of TP is the Sunday Music Workshops where kids have the chance to learn and play with some of the best musicians in the world at the famous Tiptina’s Uptown club.  Over 4,000 kids in 70 different schools have benefited from the $2.2 million worth of instruments TP has donated.  Talk about sweet music to my ears!

Preservation Resources Center of New Orleans Donation

Tiptina’s Foundation Donation

So here’s to you New Orleans!  You have won me over again in a matter of a few short hours.  The resiliency and spirit that you have is unmistakable, and even a little bit contagious.  You’ve been a place for me to learn, see some new things, and have a little bit of fun too.  Where would we be without you?  Probably a little more sober, a lot less sweaty, but nowhere near as fun!

Week 31-To Meet List, Day 1-Stevie Nicks

For any of you out there who missed it, Javier Colon is the winner of the first season of The Voice!  Honestly, I really wanted Dia Frampton to win but Javier does have an amazing voice and got to sing with the legendary Stevie Nicks tonight.  Ah-maz-ing.  I have admired Fleetwood Mac and their gypsy lead singer for years, but her performance tonight solidified the fact that I need to meet her.  She has a timeless voice, style, and generosity that makes her easy to love and hard to forget.  Thank you NBC for this season of The Voice, and more importantly, for putting some more Stevie in my life.

Beautiful gypsy

In case I needed more reasons to love Ms. Nicks she is as into her charity work as she is decorating her mic stand with scarves.  Even though she supports a variety of causes, it comes as no surprise that music is at the heart of her off-stage passions as well.  The Elevate Hope Foundation has been giving abused and abandoned children an alternate means of therapy through music and the art since 2001.  EHF also raises funds in order to provide programs and special services for the needs of these kids.  EHF is also in the process of building a Compassion Care Center of the Arts in the heart of L.A. where they plan to provide intervention services to both the abused children and their non-abusive parents or caregivers.  There will be music therapy, a dance studio, gym, arcade, recording studio, and the list goes on and on. Stevie so eloquently summed up her support for EHF by saying, “Angels are found in the soul of a child, where love and laughter lives. I support the Elevate Hope Foundation as they are dedicated to fill the hearts of these children, to enable them to spread their wings and fly.”  Nicks also got behind New Orleans and the non-profit Music Rising after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina back in 2005.  Let me tell you, they have done some serious work since they first began their mission to rescue the unique musical culture in the Central Gulf region.  MR was the recipient of the 2005 Gold Halo Award for Cause Marketing, and was honored in November 2006 when it received the prestigious Billboard Humanitarian Award.  During Phase 1 of MR they were able to replace 2,700 instruments to professional musics all over the Gulf region who had been displaced to 34 different states.  Phase 2 began in September of 2006 and is focused on rebuilding and restoring the music programs of schools and churches affected by Hurricane Katrina.  Over five years later MR is still helping musicians big and small get back on their feet and march to the beat of their own drums.

Elevate Hope Foundation Donation

Music Rising Donation

So here’s to you Stevie Nicks!  You keep proving over and over again that true beauty and love for others is always in style.  You embody the meaning of an icon.  Your ethereal looks and touching lyrics are unforgettable.  You may have been afraid of changing but you are never afraid to leave all of yourself on the stage and in your charity work.  Thank you.

Get it Stevie

Week 29-Sweet Summertime, Day 6-Outdoor Concerts

One of my very favorite things to do during summer is go to outdoor concerts.  The weather is gorgeous (hopefully), the music is loud (definitely), and I’m surrounded by people I love (always).  Even if you’ve totally memorized every single song off an album it’s a totally different experience to hear it played live.  The energy is palpable in the both the artist and the crowd.  I also love concerts because they are a great platform for charity.  Music is something that everyone can relate to in one way or another and bring them all together.  So sit back, relax, and listen to the sweet music of giving back.

Kings of Leon summer concert last year with some great people

Rock Can Roll is just one organization that has proven how successful the combination of concerts and charity can be.  I’m not just talking about the local high school band putting on a performance either.  Crosby Stills and Nash, Brett Michaels, Maroon 5, Blink 182, and Train have all teamed up with RCR to stop hunger.  RCR coordinates events and creates projects by collecting healthy and nutritious non-perishable food (and other essential necessities) for men, women and children in need of assistance.  RCR also defines itself as a think tank to solve the huge hunger problem that our country is facing.  They believe that a simple act of kindness CAN provide dignity and relief, and that together we CAN help our neighbors.  RCR is restocking local food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters because they have harnessed the power of music.  “If music is the food of love, let it be the food of life.”  Couldn’t have said it better myself.  There have been and still are so many great benefit concerts but one of the largest and most memorable was the Live Earth concert on 07.07.07.  LE staged concerts in New York, London, Sydney, Tokyo, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg and Hamburg  featured feature more than 150 of the world’s best music acts.  Everyone from The Police to Madonna to Kanye West and the Black Eyed Peas were all a part of the concert to combat the climate crisis.  Even if you’re not sure that global warming is a real thing you gotta admit pulling off this concert was a serious feat.  LE was also founded on the fact that the entertainment business has the power to transcend both social and cultural barriers to move the world into action.  Music makes us want to get up and move, and hopefully after reading this you’ll want to get up and move to your butt to volunteer!

rock CAN roll Donation

Live Earth Donation

So here’s to you outdoor concerts!  You are my happy place when the days are long and the nights are warm.  There is nothing better than being wrapped up in a blanket of stars and being serenaded by your favorite bands.  There are so many good things that I could say about you, but I think until everyone has a chance to experience you, they can’t feel the gratitude I feel for you.

Yes, yes it does!

Week 28-When I grow up… Day 3-Rock Star!

I’m sure that there are countless kids that wanted to be rock star when they grew up, but I’m here to tell them that I still want to be a rock star!  Music is such a vital part of society and I can only imagine the serious joy and awesome factor that comes along with inspiring millions of people.  Plus you get to stay up late, behave badly with no consequences, ride in your own tricked out tour bus, and travel all over the world doing what you love.  Being a rock star is easily the coolest job on the entire planet.  Think about it, why else would Guitar Hero and Rock Band be so popular?  And who out there has seen the Google homepage for the last few days.  If you haven’t you need to check out the Les Paul tribute logo now.  Like right now before you read this post any further.  Seriously. 

Even though being a rock star is usually associated with doing too many drugs and having lots of underage girls hanging all over you, it doesn’t have to be the same ‘ole story.  The band 3 Doors Down founded the Better Life Foundation to make a positive change in the lives of children in need of food, shelter, love, and some extra special attention.  Every year they hold a huge event to benefit charities and hospitals that help them fulfill their mission.  Since 2003 3DD and friends have been jamming out in the name of charity.  BLF also has a silent auction each year with some sweet rock-n-roll items like signed guitars, autographed drums and music posters.  BLF has donated over $2 million since they began with the help of some big names like Lynryd Skynryd, Staind, Shinedown, Hinder, and Switchfoot.  Whoever thought strumming a guitar, singing into a microphone, and beating some sticks on a drum could be so beneficial for kids.  Dreams really do come true.  Even though we can’t all sell out stadiums for our concerts, we can still pass on the love and gift of music to the next generation.  The Strike A Chord for Cancer Foundation provides the perfect distraction for kids battling cancer and other severe diseases, by donating instruments and professional music tutors.  SAC goes even beyond that to provide kids with the opportunity to play with their favorite band on stage, or record in the studio with them!  (Maybe this is where I should say dreams really do come true.)  SAC has another program called Kids Helping Kids where they encourage healthy kids to help raise money for sick children and their families.  Teaching our children about music is extremely important, but making sure our kids are educated in the art of selflessly giving back should be everyone’s priority.

The Better Life Foundation Donation

Strike A Chord for Cancer Foundation Donation

So here’s to being a rock star!  It is always at the top of the list for the coolest professions in the world, and with good reason.  In what other job can you rock spandex, leather, lace, and animal prints on a daily basis?  Thank you for putting guitars in the hands of millions of children and adults alike.  But even more than that, thank you for giving Mark Walhberg yet another reason to take his shirt off.

You know you've seen Rock Star...

Week 26-Half Way There! Day 5-Guest Blogger #3

That’s right folks, you have the pleasure of reading posts by guest bloggers two days in a row!  Today’s blog is written by my sweet and adorable friend Melanie, who I love more and more everyday.  She has such a giving and unique energy about her and she is always looking for and thinking of new ways to help others.  She has been an avid reader of T4G since day one and I can’t count how many times her comments on my writing made my entire day.  So here’s to you Mel, and your big, big, heart.

Reading Thanks-4-Giving reminds me to be thankful and encourages me to be a better person while helping others. When Lizzie asked if I wanted to be a guest blogger I was excited and overcome with so many things I am thankful for, it’s hard to blog about just one.  Something that has never let me down, is always there for me and I’m sure lifts you up too, is music. I am thankful for music and my favorite musician, Brad Paisley.

Last year Brad’s H20 tour ticket sales benefited the charity Pattison’s Academy, which improves the quality of life for children with multiple disabilities by providing education and rehabilitation programs. Pattison’s Academy came to be when a little girl name Pattison was born with significant brain damage as well as auditory and visual impairments, the brain damage led to cerebral palsy and multiple handicaps. Pattison’s parents were not satisfied with the educational philosophies and limited therapies offered by the schools, so they took a stand and did something about it.  They opened Pattison’s Academy where students participate in community based instruction, field trips, and outside therapy services that are not typically offered in the area’s public schools or medical facilities. Pattison’s Academy also loans equipment to families to make life and tasks that we take for granted a little easier for those affected by disabilities.

Another charity Brad supports is Musicians On Call, an awesome organization that brings live and recorded music to healthcare facilities for patients, families and health care providers to promote wellness and help patients heal. Studies show that live music can lower blood pressure and reduce depression and anxiety in hospital patients. Musicians On Call has played for over 250,000 individuals and their families. You don’t have to be a rock star to help, it’s as easy as donating old cd’s, volunteering, attending special concerts, and bidding on artist’s memorabilia- and even meet and greets!  Check out what artists gear is up for grabs and more on how to help.

Yesterday kicked off Brad’s H20 II: Wetter & Wilder World Tour where ticket sales will again benefit great charities like Pattison’s Academy, and Musicians On Call. Concert tickets can be expensive, but knowing some of your money is going toward awesome causes, make the music sound even better when you hear it.

Pattison’s Academy Donation

Musicians on Call Donation

So thank you Brad Paisley for your charming, witty and memorable songs. You’ve touched people’s lives with your generosity as well as truthful lyrics. You’re more than just a song on the radio to me, you’re an inspiration and your music turns my day around.

We love Brad! H20 Tour 2010!

I end with these lyrics, appropriate for Thank-4-Giving’s motto- be thankful! It’s called One of Those Days from Brad’s new cd, This is Country Music. Give it a listen.

It’s been one of those days; I let things get to me. I got no right to complain, cause when I look around I see folks that are fighting for every breath, and it makes me realize it’s just been one for those days for me, but for them it’s been one of those lives.

Week 23-Emotions, Day 3-Festive


1. Of or relating to a festival.
2. Cheerful and jovially celebratory.

I’m not sure how many reasons you need to feel festive, but I’ve had quite a few today.  I had a great meeting about my PhD program in the fall; one of my very good friends officially became a Dr.; it was the last day in my two-day work week; another friend is graduating with not one but two master’s degree next weekend; and we got to celebrate Fiesta Friday with yummy food and margaritas.  I know we are a day late for the Cinco de Mayo fiesta but still, it’s hard not to feel festive with all the good things going on in my life.  I’m so thankful for wonderful days when it feels like nothing can go wrong.  They are the days that get you through the ones that never seem to end, and keep you sane when you wanna pull out every hair on your head.

Festivus, it's for the rest of us

So what do you do when you’re feeling festive?  You party, that’s what, and what better place to party that Ravinia, the world’s oldest outdoor music festival.  Started over 100 years ago in 1904, it is renowned for its world class musicians that range in genre from classical music to jazz and beyond.  Just to give you an example the likes of Frank Zappa, Louie Armstrong, Janis Joplin, and Duke Ellington.  It seems like festivity seems to attract diversity.  Ravinia is also very diligent in making sure music is accessible to people of all ages, races, and backgrounds.  They reach and teach people so they can play!  Another festival that would be a blast to attend is the Kokua Festival in Honolulu Hawaii that is held annually on Earth Day.  They took a short break this year from the festivities after six very successful events, but plan on coming back for an encore when the time is right.  The KF is a fundraiser for the Kokua Hawaii Foundation which supports environmentally education in the school and communities all across Hawaii.  You may have even heard of the non-profit’s founder, the musician Jack Johnson.  KHF believes in giving children hands on experiences and examples that will enhance their understanding and appreciation for our planet.  We only have one Earth, so we might as well teach our kids to take care of it, and throw a party to celebrate!

Ravinia Festival Donation

Kokua Hawaii Foundation Donation

So here’s to you festive!  You make me wanna clap my hands and move my feet to the beat.  You seem to be around a lot during the weekends and days when I don’t have to work.  You help me remember to celebrate life and tell my friends and family how awesome they are.  It’s always so much fun when you show up and I get to celebrate with some really great people.  Thanks for reminding me that feeling festive extends way beyond the holiday season.

Week 21-Go Green Week, Day 1-Parks

What a great idea!

Get out your reusable bags and Nalgene water bottles cause it’s Go Green Week!  Spring has finally sprung here in West Virginia and Friday just happens to be Earth Day so there’s no better time to get your green on.  There are lots of ways to be more Earth friendly but I can’t think of a better place to start than protecting all the great parks we have across our nation.  Whether they are big or small, national or local, parks give us a place to remember how amazing nature truly is.  I’m so thankful that parks give us a place to picnic, throw a Frisbee, take a nature walk, or go camping.  Sure there are lots of trendy ways to go green, but sometimes it’s the simplest things in life that make the biggest impact.

The National Parks Conservation Association was founded in 1916 to help protect and enhance America’s National Park system for both present and future generations.  NPCA values the history and culture that our national parks are steeped in.  Americans expect their parks to have clean air, healthy wildlife, and well-preserved land marks.  NPCA has been fighting back against air pollution, climate change, and underfunding to make sure these natural gems survive.  NPCA is unique because it is the only private non-profit organization in the nation dedicated solely to protecting our National Parks System.  I don’t know about you but there’s some national parks I still want to see in my lifetime, and definitely want my children to see one day.  Growing up in the South with a huge yard we didn’t have to go to a city park to see grass, but kids in New York city do.  City Parks Foundation helps support over 750 parks in all five boroughs in NYC that don’t have access to private funding.  CPF helps to revive parks by creating free creative arts, sports, and educational programs that the communities around the parks flock to.  Over 600,000 New Yorkers are reached through CPF’s programs which revitalize and rejuvenate some of the most under served areas in the city.  CPF also has a great program called SummerStage where they present a diverse line-up of free performances that introduce the people of New York to budding new artists.  They have held outdoor performances for all ages, races, and backgrounds for over 25 years, and the people just can’t get enough.  Seriously, what’s better than live music, good weather, and a beautiful park to experience it in?

National Parks Conservation Association Donation

City Parks Foundation Donation

So here’s to you parks!  You are the heartbeat of America.  Children can run, play, collect bugs, and get dirty all within your boundaries.  Sometimes you are extremely vibrant, lush, and  green and other times you’re full of red rocks, dust, and scorpions, but both are equally as beautiful.  You help us remember that a little dose of nature goes a long way, and provide a haven for us to think, talk, and be thankful.