Friday, March 21, 2014

Kinsella Concert By Pat Kinsella Herdeg

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!

Maddy, Tim

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!


Pat Herdeg said...

Happy Birthday, Mom! I KNOW you and Dad loved the concert--what a surprise!

It was so exciting to see and hear the music flowing through that room; I have Greensleeves permanently in my mind now!


Tim Kinsella said...

Great summary Pat. I was so much fun holding skype sessions with Jim and Beth as we "practiced". Most of the time we just told stories and laughed - which was the main point of this whole concert.

Mom/CB said...

Yes, it was a BIG surprise! I had been amazed at Pat's reaction when I said that Dad could not go to jim's house for the evening! I had thought that she understood his condition! However, we arranged to view the "party" om Skype! Thus we sat, viewing computer, with Pat beside us, and were transported to Wonderland!!
There they were, Tim, Maddy, Beth, Tom, Jim and Kelly, all with their instruments, [ and where did Beth get a Harp??} . Then we had a view of the audience, Dan Liz and Jill!! The concert began, and such music I had not heard in years! Brought back such memories, Our kids and the family concerts at 2846, then the ones at 30 West St, Geneva when we all grouped around the piano, singing in harmony! Beyond that the Taylor men, Daddy [ Lloyd] Floyd; Leon and BW[ my grandpa] while the girls, Clara or Florence played hymns on the piano, even past them, BW and His brothers, all harmonizing, what a trip I took!
It was a marvelous evening ! One that Glen [ Pat's husband} has set up on a CD so we can again enjoy! Thanks to All, I was never so proud!!!

Chuck Lochner said...

Ah-h-h those Taylor genes. Brings back the vision of Esther on piano with her siblings gathered around singing "Heart of my Heart, I love that melody ..."
Memories forever.
Chuck Lochner

Diana said...

That might explain Arnon's 'collection' of musical instruments - never saw him play but he talked a good trombone. and of course we did have the Player Piano - I believe I was the only kid ever who could write in the "how I spent my summer vacation" that included the QRS factory in Buffalo NY watching them make Player Piano rolls. BTW the Player Piano that lived on Brickyard road - is at my daughters. Along with all the rolls.

Diana said...

I should probably mention that I had shoulder surgery about 8 days ago so I'll be out of my classroom for a while.

Pat Herdeg said...


I did not remember that song so just watched it on

Wonderful! I can now picture your mother playing the piano while my mother sings along with her Taylor siblings, all crowded around the piano, trying not to jostle Esther as she plays the piece.

As the song ends with:
‘I know a tear would glisten, if once more I could listen
To that gang that sang, "Heart of my heart"

And I WOULD love to see the gang of siblings once more singing that song—no doubt in perfect harmony--I had a tear in my eye also.

Thank you for helping me, a younger cousin, create a memory that was not in my head, but is now in my heart.

Pat Herdeg said...


So good to know the player piano that I remember well from my youth has a good home!

And, I did see from facebook that you just had shoulder surgery. I do hope you recover well and completely.

Now, CAN we say Spring has come to Minnesota yet?! We here in MA hear another snow storm may be on our doorsteps in four days time. So, I am still keeping the shovel close at hand!


Mom/CB said...

Dear All,
Our signature song was "When its Springtime in the Rockies" We really rocked on that one!!

Diana said...

Dearest Pat and other cousins - no alas MN also still has winter. I bought a new pair of sandals last week and took them out of the box today wondering if I could ever wear them without first shoveling a path.