Last November we had a grand Kinsella concert in Greece, NY. As Mom and Dad and Pat watched via skype, the musicians assembled in my brother Jim’s music room. And, it was never such a ‘music room’ as that afternoon!
My sister Beth had flown in from Japan for the first time in two years, so we were all anxious to see her. But, what Mom and Dad did NOT know is that she and Tim and Jim and Jim’s daughter Maddy had been practicing three songs for a surprise concert.
Jim and Jill’s nearby elementary school graciously let them borrow a large harp for Beth to play, since of course hers in Japan was NOT coming to America for the trip. Tim was practicing the songs on his piano in Syracuse, Jim was practicing on his Irish tin whistle, Maddy on her cello and Kelly on her bass. They got together several times via skype to try and get some long distance practicing in. The excitement was growing for this visit!
During the week that Beth was in Greece, she would go to Jim and Jill’s home to practice, telling Mom and Dad that the girls were asking her advice on some project. Since Dad was just out of the hospital and having various nurses’ visits and medical people coming and going, they were more than happy to have Beth ‘do her thing’ without asking too many questions. Beth and Jim giggled as they could see this might just work—they weren’t half bad!
A few days before the concert, Jill suddenly remembered that they better tune their piano—a hand-me-down from cousin Rick Lochner, it had not been tuned in about fifteen years. Luckily, Jill found a piano tuner—blind as it turns out but a terrific ear for sound—to come two days before our big event. Piano tuned, harp in place, cello, tin whistle and bass in the small room—the room swelled with musical instruments, anticipation and musicality.
Maddy and her cello
When the big day arrived, Dad was not doing well enough to go over in person, so he and Mom and I used the internet to watch. Glenn Herdeg was filming on his camera, and Tom Kinsella on his Ipad. Pat, on Mom and Dad’s end, was also filming on her Ipad, to get the parents’ reactions. Dan Kinsella and his wife Liz were there as cherished fans, with front row seats no less.
The concert began—Three songs with different groups of musicians playing rung out—‘Amazing Grace’, ‘Danny Boy’ and ‘Greensleeves’. Jim’s daughter Kelly’s sweet voice lifted up ‘Amazing Grace’ and Tom Kinsella’s Bob Dylan-like vocals rounded out ‘Greensleeves’. Each instrument in turn found its way into the spotlight—sometimes Tim on the piano, Kelly on her bass, Maddy sitting with her cello, Jim scrunched in the corner with his tin whistle, Beth on her harp. Since we had never seen or heard Beth on her harp before, despite years of practice on her part in Japan, it was a special treat.
Jim, Kelly, Tom
And Mom and Dad, they could only watch and listen and clap and exclaim at what they heard and saw. Mom said several times that her grandfather, Bryant Taylor would be so proud of the group. He and his sons had a well-known quartet in western New York in the late 1800’s (see The Taylor Male Quartet, written by Aunt CB here at the cousins blog:
That story from 2008 ended with the questions: ‘And, did the musical gene get passed down to YOUR side of the family?!’
For the Kinsellas, we now know the answer!
As the harp was brought back to the school and the piano bench pushed back in, as the music room slowly reverted back to its original music AND art room, we heard all exclaim “Until Next Time—Perhaps the Beatles mixed in with traditional choices?” Aha—A Next Time!