Mostly Mozart 2012

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    Mostly Mozart 2012

    SATURDAY, JUNE 9TH, 2012
    7:30 P.M.


    Concert-goers who have enjoyed “Mostly Mozart” 2009 through 2011 will undoubtedly be pleased to learn that the Fraser Valley Philharmonic Society is now preparing to present “Mostly Mozart 2012” Saturday, June 9th 7:30 Chilliwack United Church.

    This year’s concert will once again feature Orchestra Philomusica accompanied by two outstanding Canadian soloists – internationally acclaimed lyric soprano, Lambroula Maria Pappas and violin virtuoso Angela Cavadas, all under the baton of Maestro Leonard Camplin. Highlights of the concert will include Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G minor and the uncommonly beautiful “Flower Duet” from the opera, Lakmé, by Léo Délibes with guest soprano, Paula Quick.

    Advance Tickets for this event @$25 General and $20 Seniors and Youth will go on sale April 23 at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre. For additional information please call 604-316-2729.




Why I Am Not a Fan of the Fairy Tale Cinderella


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Copyright by Flora Breen Robison 

The Fairy Tale as Read in Today’s World

Note: This is an article meant to be about the fairy tale of Cinderella itself, not the Disney film based upon the fairy tale. However, they are not mutually exclusive. The article is instead meant to be about the original purpose of the fairy tale as it was written by the Grimms Brothers, not as it was cleaned up to make them rated G for children to read. 

I am not discussing the motivation Walt Disney had in making the film, how people viewed the film when it was first released vs. today, or how closely the film follows the original fairy tale. Instead, I’m writing about the underlying morale of the fairy tale for today’s society. Again, I am not tryin gto ignore these things, just that i find people have a tendency to misunderstand your original intention was, based upon their own belief and lack of tone of voice or facial expression online.


Beauty vs. Evil and the Important of Age

Cinderella is not unique among fairy tales in general. It is a fairy tale with the standard format of girl meets prince, falls for prince, prince falls for princess-all with the typical problems with evil that befall their relationship in the middle of the story. The title character is beautiful and her love is handsome. Evil characters tend to be ugly and old.

And that is the whole problem with Cinderella.

It is not unique to fairy tales, let alone to Cinderella, that beauty is virtue and ugly is evil. When writers want to describe a person as evil or virtuous, they use physical characteristics to distinguish these two extremes and everything in between. Chaucer used this exact technique in THE CANTERBURY TALES.

n the historical context in which it was written, this long literary work does exactly what is meant to accomplish. Chaucer lets readers know which members of the pilgrimage are evil, which are virtuous, and which are somewhere in between. In turn, each of their tales reflect their characters.

Similarly, fairy tales were designed to demonstrate in the descriptions of their characters virtue and evil. In this, Cinderella is no different than Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, or any other story that Walt Disney made into an animated classic. All of them are guilty of this prejudice. And I not suggesting that this isn’t a problem with these other stories.

The reason why Cinderella deserves special attention is that unlike in the other stories of beautiful girl marries handsome princess, not everyone who is evil is depicted as being old as well as ugly. Why is this an important distinction?

Cinderella as Read by Girls in the 21st Century

Fairy tales are read by children. Childhood is an extremely impressionable age. They learn everything by reading, watching others, and listening to others-how to behave, what is right vs. wrong, what beliefs to have- and, unfortunately, that looks are important beyond just dressing neatly.

Children may not see themselves as they really are reflected in Sleeping Beauty or Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. None of the bad people are their age or young in general. But what if you are not physically beautiful and you read Cinderella? The Ugly Stepsisters are around the same age as Cinderella. We know they are, because they are competing for the same prince to marry. They are *young.*They are also ugly and evil.

This is teaching a very bad morale to children on an instinctive level that they will carry on through to their teen years and beyond. Beautiful people are good. Ugly people are bad. Always. Therefore, if you are an ugly child or even a plain child, you must be a bad person. As adults, we know this isn’t true. But fairy tales are read to children. Not adults.

In Conclusion:

Fairy tales can fun to read and dream about what might be if we met a prince. But it is important to remember that there is more to fairy tales than what is seen on the surface. Sometimes the deeper meanings can be painful and even dangerous to the reader. Be careful what you let your children read. Just because something is aimed at children, doesn’t mean that children should read it. The original fairy tales as written by the Brothers Grimm, were never meant to be read by children.They were written for *adults.* They were later adapted to more gentle behaviour so that children could read them.


Where the Grimm Brothers Are Buried -Their Cinderella was quite adult in nature

Source: Public Domain 



Bob Dylan Not Yet Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door: A Lyrical Poem Based Upon Song Titles


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Copyright by Flora Breen Robison


Legendary Singer-Songwriter, Poet and Musician Still Performing After Five Decades


Bob Dylan has just celebrated his 71st birthday May 24th, 2012. It has been over 50 years since he started his career. For most music lovers and music artists alike, Bob Dylan is THE Folk and Folk Rock singer-songwriter. The former Bob Zimmerman has written and recorded iconic classics which have been covered by major music artists of every generation. He started out only recording other composers’ music which he loved, then he turned to composing his own lyrics and music. The result was a canon of compositions beloved over time which never seem to age.

He has written, recorded, and performed music in almost ten different genres over those five decades. He plays six different music instruments, including voice, guitar, and harmonica and can often be seen playing all of them at his concerts. He has received over a dozen awards over his career, including Grammy Awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award, Inductions into several Halls of Fame, and a Pulitzer Prize Citation.


The following poem is based upon well known Bob Dylan compositions. Some of Dylan’s compositions became bigger hits for other artists and other times his version is the most famous. Both types of songs are included here. However, it is noted that Dylan also recorded songs he did not compose such as House of the Rising Sun or Four Strong Winds. These non-Dylan compositions are *not* included, even if Dylan had hits with these recordings.



The Bob Dylan Song


Lay, Lady, Lay down and get some rest.

Isn’t it Just Like A Woman to tell a man

That he’s working too hard all the time

And then go and ignore her own advice?

That is not the way to stay Forever Young.

Acting Like A Rolling Stone is not the only way

To age faster than you should be aging, Angelina.

All you need to do is to put everybody else

Before your own happiness and health, my dear.

It Ain’t Me Babe that’s making you work all hours.

A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall before you go

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door if you’re not careful.

Your own youth is Blowing In The Wind now.

Don’t let it blow away and leave you too soon.



Bob Dylan performs in New York at St. Lawrence University in 1963

Source:  Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Snow, My Natural Enemy: Rhyming Couplets


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Copyright by Flora Breen Robison


We are getting plenty of rain lately. Canada just had a long weekend and such long weekends are notoriously bad weather. It has continued into the week. I’m not happy about the constant cold temperature and rain, but I can deal easily with rain. I *cannot* deal with snow-because it is generally accompanied by ice and I have bad balance. 

People who know me well know that I do not have fabulous balance. This can make wintertime particularly hazardous for me. It is not snow so much as the ice that accompanies it that can be extremely dangerous. Slush can also make me slip and fall. I could hit my head on the curb or maybe trip while I’m crossing the street and be in the street when a car goes by. Yes, main streets are cleared, but I live in a side street. My street is not high on the city’s list of priorities.

While it is true that I can easily navigate with hard dense snow, not all snow is like this. Therefore, I am reliant upon people to hold onto them when I am walking. I believe I have already discussed not having a driver’s licence. I think that even if I did, I would take taxis or get rides with friends with strong heavy vehicles. Luckily, I live in a four season climate. I would do very badly in Alaska.


The following is a poem I wrote regarding my relationship with snow. I refer to it as my *natural enemy* because snow is nature-thus natural. It is in rhyming couplets, a form of poetry I love to write.


Snow, My Natural Enemy


Snow is my natural enemy.

Ice too my natural enemy.

The weather is my main reason

That I’m not a fan of the season.

Winter brings ice and snow,

And signals the life I know

Where I am stuck indoors

While winter’s anger roars.

There will be no more walking

Long distances, it’s mocking.

From now on I will need

Some help from one to lead

My hand in snow and ice

I don’t need just advice.

I will need a helping hand

To navigate the land

As I will slip and fall

Or feel the need to crawl.

As I do not drive

But really need to thrive,

I’m going to need a ride;

From life I will not hide.

For I cannot survive

If I am just alive.

For I do tend to brood

If I must order food.

To deliver at my door

All I need and more

Will still not be enough

My life will still be rough.

The snow and ice must lose

I must not get the blues.



P.S. People are usually more than happy to offer me rides, and there is no way I would consider driving in the snow and ice, even if I could drive in general.



Snow covers the ground and trees thickly. No doubt ice is close at hand

Source: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

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Giving in to The Temptations: A Lyrical Poem Based Upon SongTitles


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Copyright by Flora Breen Robison 

Motown Legends Still Singing

The Temptations have gone through several changes over time since they originated in 1960. They are still touring, singing their greatest hits, and recording. However, most of their original members are dead. The only original member of these Motown legends who is still alive and touring with the group is Otis Williams. The other original singers were Al Byrant, Eddie Kendricks, Melvin Franklin, and Paul Williams. There have been at least nine other singers in The Temptations.

The Temptations did not write their own music. Many of their hits were written by other Motown legends such as Smokey Robinson. Robinson’s composition “My Girl” is considered by many to be the ultimate Motown song for male groups (although there have been women who have sung with them after the original group). The guitar riff in the beginning of the song is perhaps the most famous beginning riff in Motown history. The guitarist should be more famous than he ever was, but he was only a household name among fellow musicians.

I published a poem earlier about Smokey Robinson’s hits that he sang himself  as a soloist and as the lead singer of Smokey Robinson and The Miracles. He often wrote music specifically for other artists and not for himself. Unlike the guitarist on the recording of “My Girl,” Robinson is a household name.

As always, the song titles are in capitals. Keep in mind that the song titles are mostly the greatest hits and love songs can be deliriously happy or extremely despondent.

The Temptations Song

It is not Just My Imagination

That The Way You Do The Things You Do

Has changed. I Can’t Get Next To You

As often as I did before.

All I Need to do is Get Ready and end this Ball of Confusion.

I Ain’t Too Proud To Beg for an explanation

Of why our relationship has changed.

You still greet me when you come home

With the words “come here, My Girl,”

But the light is not shining in your eyes.

Your mother always told you “Treat Her Like Lady”

And you do treat me like a lady.

But I Know I’m Losing You.

I want us to return to Cloud Nine.


The Temptations Have Had Several Line-ups of Singers Since Their Inception. This group is from 1991.

Source: By Zoran Veselinovic [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong: A Lyrical Poem Based Upon Song-Titles


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Copyright by Flora Breen Robison 


Legendary Jazz Musician


More than any other star of jazz music, Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong transcended genres, eras, races, and countries . He is just as famous now as he was when he died 40 years ago in 1971- just shy of his 70th birthday. People who never listen to jazz music and don’t recognize the names of jazz musicians who were superstars of the big band era listen to Armstrong. It was this universality of Satchmo that made him the perfect person to sing a song about uniting people of all races in a time of upheaval. “What a Wonderful World” was written specifically for for Louis Armstrong.

Louis Armstrong was a professional musician for nearly all of his life. He started his career at the age of 13 and it ended only when he died. He was singer, trumpeter and cornet player. Louisiana native Armstrong recorded every sub-genre of jazz music as well as pop and Broadway. He collaborated with every major musician and movie musical star of his era. These include but are not limited to Duke Ellington, Bing Crosby, and Ella Fitzgerald. He is a big influence on several musicians, including a lot of stars of Motown. His unique and recognizable voice has been imitated by every music mimic. Everyone *loved and loves* this man.

Armstrong had a long career in movies as well as on stage and radio. Although he only appeared as an actor in 14 movies, his career on movie soundtracks continues to this day. So far, he has 154 soundtrack credits. His version of the title track to Hello, Dolly! in which he also starred made him the oldest musician to achieve a number 1 record. He was 63 years old. Including the songs he recorded more than once, Mr. Armstrong recorded over 90 songs.

Armstrong has received a multitude of awards both before and after his death. He is in the Grammy Hall of fame, has a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award, is in the Rock and Roll Hall of fame as an influential musician, and in two jazz halls of fame, to name a few. The following poem includes but a handful of my favourite Armstrong hits.

The Louis Armstrong Song


What A Wonderful World it is When You’re Smilin’ at me.

You make this cafe seem like a Cabaret.

I feel like it’s Summertime when I’m with you,

Even when That Lucky Old Sun has the winter off.

A kiss from you is A Kiss To Build A Dream On.

We Have All The Time In the World to plan the future;

Until then we’ll tell people we’ve Gone Fishin’

Up A Lazy River where no one can find us.

When It’s Sleepy Time Down South,

We’ll go back home to Blueberry Hill

And forget to set the alarm clock.

Dream A Little Dream Of Me, and of us.



Louis Armstrong was a jazz musician and singer who transcended generations with his music

Source: By World-Telegram staff photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

We Have Always Needed Anne Murray: A Lyrical Poem Based Upon Song Titles


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Copyright By Flora Breen Robison


A Canadian Songbird Who Had a Hit With Snowbird


Nova Scotia native Anne Murray is a legendary singer who is loved by the whole world. Although there are several current Canadian female singers who are big stars internationally, Murray was the first to achieve her level of status and success. She has won more Juno Awards-the Canadian equivalent of the Grammy-than anyone else. She holds several Canadian female firsts in the United States include first #1 hit, first Gold Record, and first Country Music Album of The Year. In fact, she is the first Canadian, period, to achieve the latter award.

Murray has been performing professionally for over 40 years. In her 60s, she is already the recipient of lifetime achievement awards. She belongs to several Halls of Fame including the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. She has received the Order Of Canada and the Order Of Nova Scotia. The Order Of Canada is the second highest civilan honour in Canada. The highest is the Order Of Merit.

The following poem is based upon Anne Murray’s greatest hits. 


The Anne Murray Song


There I was, totally unaware that You Needed Me

Broken-Hearted Me, crying my pain on your shoulders.

I was Just Another Woman In Love with a man who wasn’t

And all I could think about was me and my hurt-not yours.

After Another Sleepless Night, I would call you and talk

About the man who isn’t you and never think of you-

I didn’t know there was A Love Song waiting to be sung

If I just opened my eyes to see what was always there.

Nobody Loves Me Like You Do, nor did anybody before.

Could I Have This Dance, my love, for Now And Forever?

There are no more Shadows In The Moonlight for me.

I just see the bright light of the moon as it shines on us.




Canadian Anne Murray has been performing solo and with other artists for nearly half a century

By Courtesy of the Fraser MacPherson estate c/o Guy MacPherson via  Wikimedia Commons

The Other Side Of The Doors: A Lyrical Poem Based Upon Song Titles


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Copyright By Flora Breen Robison



A Controversial Band

The Doors were a legendary American rock and roll band from the 1960s to the 1970’s that sparked controversy in their lyrics and behaviour. The lines in their classic hit “light My Fire” is generally believed to refer to drug use. “You know that it would be untrue. You know that I would be a liar. If I was to say to you: Girl we couldn’t get much higher. Come on Baby, light my fire.” Singing those lyrics on national television got them the same type of flack that The Rolling Stones would get when they sang the original lyrics to Let’s Spend The Night Together on The Ed Sullivan Show. Morrison was just as unconcerned as Mick Jagger. Lead singer Jim Morrison was famous for being indecent in public, especially during The Doors’ later concerts.

The Doors existed from 1965 to 1973, even though lead singer Jim Morrison died in 1971. The other original members of the band were John Densmore, Robby Krieger, and Ray Manzarek. The band’s original name was Rick and the Ravens. Why The Doors thought that they could continue live performances after Morrison’s death is uncertain. The lead singer with all his disturbing nasty behaviour was the star that was drawing the crowds. The other band members are great musicians, but Morrison was the lead singer and composed or co-composed all their music. The revamped Doors lasted two years. The surviving members continued in other bands and solo careers. Two surviving members of The Doors continued to tour playing The Doors music from time to time until 2002. Morrison was 27 when he died and continues to be legendary in his death.

The Doors recorded seven albums with Jim Morrison. This does not include their time as Rick and the Ravens. Their song “The End” was later included in the soundtrack to the 1979 film Apocalypse Now, but did not appear on their their Greatest Hits album. A movie entitled The Doors starred Val Kilmer as the ill-fated Morrison and also included The End.

The following poem is based upon their Greatest Hits, as well as their contribution to the Francis Ford Coppola classic starring Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando.

The Doors Song

People Are Strange creatures.

They enjoy living in the past.

But this can be The End of sadness;

Happiness is in the right frame of mind.

Touch Me and you will Light My Fire.

Together we’ll be united Riders On The Storm.

Stop pining for that L.A. Woman;

Stop singing those Road House Blues.

Break On Through To The Other Side of Life.


Publicity Photo of The Doors by Joel Brodsky of Electra Records

Source: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons 

Rod Stewart Has All the Luck: A Lyrical Poem Based Upon Song Titles


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Copyright by Flora Breen Robison 


From English R&B Singer to British Rock Star to American Songbook Singer


English citizen Rod Stewart has been recording and performing for over forty years and is showing no signs of slowing down. He belonged to several British bands before and in between periods as a solo singer before becoming a soloist full time. These include early versions of The Kinks before they were called The Kinks, and also The Dimensions.

In two other bands Stewart joined, he performed alongside bass guitarist Ron Wood who would find even greater fame with The Rolling Stones. The first group was The Jeff Beck Group in the late 1960’s-known for R&B music-and the second was Faces. Faces was originally called Small Faces because the members were all short,but the name had to change when Stewart joined as he is quite tall. In between Stewart’s solo efforts and Wood performing for The Rolling Stones, both of them toured with Faces. When Faces broke up in 1975, Stewart become a solo singer star full time.

Over the next few decades, Stewart reached extreme highs and lows in his career. He has recorded almost 450 songs: some of them he wrote or co-wrote himself, some were written by others for him, and some were covers of other people’s music. He has sold over 100 million records and is still recording albums. Starting in this century, Stewart decided to change his career path again by switching from rock to the the Great American Songbook. His career is as hot as it has ever been with his singing standards first made famous in the 1920s, 1930s, or 1940’s.

The following poem is based upon his iconic hits from the 1970s as well as hits he had when I was a teenager in the later 1980’s and early 1990s-*not* the songs from the Great American Songbook, though I love jazz music. 


The Rod Stewart Poem


This Old Heart of Mine needs reassurance

That you’re no longer Crazy About Her;

I Feel that I’m Losing You to the memory of Maggie May.

Stop living in the past and focus on the present.

I Was Only Joking when I said I wasn’t bothered,

But My Heart Can’t Tell You No, so I pretended.

Tonight’s The Night I’m asking you please

To throw away the Broken Arrow of love past.

Find A Reason To Believe in yourself and in us.




Rod Stewart as a rock star in 1976 performing for Norwegian fans