From John Farrell
Summer 2005
July 2005

Greetings Friends,

Summer is a season of memories. They rise to the surface of the mind like bubbles floating up in a pond. Some of the memories are chosen - others are volunteers, some bring us smiles and others sadness, but all our memories are part of who we are. Here are a few of mine.

Earlier this week we took a drive one evening and went past a stone cottage that my grandfather had built in the 1930’s and 40’s. It was the spot where my parents and our family spent our “one week” summer vacation when I was a kid. It's only about 17 miles from home but back then it seemed like a mystical journey. In fact, it seemed like it took us all day to get there. Packing the car and heading off for “vacation” was a ritual that was anticipated for weeks. It's strange how the ride there always seemed to take so much longer than the ride home.

The other night as we drove by that house I waved to the people sitting out in the yard. They waved back enthusiastically. I stopped the car and shouted, “My Grandfather built your house!” They shouted back, “Come on down and visit!” I won’t go into all the details but the next hour was spent pleasantly drifting back and forth between the late 1950’s, early 60’s and the present. It was a poignant reminder how precious the moments are that we spend just “being together” with the ones we love. Those memories of summer vacation are among the fondest of my childhood and will go with me wherever I go.

For the past 18 years, usually beginning in early July, our family has spent most of our summers at an old farmhouse on Prince Edward Island. This summer will be the first one since Colleen and Patrick were born in 1990 that we will not all be together in that farmhouse. Six of us will be there but Katie will not. She will be in South Africa where she will be studying at Rhodes University for five months. We decided to stay in NY until Katie leaves and then go to Canada. It was a good decision because we were needed at home.

On July 2 my Mom, Gladys Buck Farrell, passed away in her sleep at 92 years of age. Ann Marie and I were with her at the end and she died peacefully at home which was the way she wanted it. Her life was long and productive. At the end her body was extremely tired and worn out, as well it should have been for she lived an active life vigorously and enjoyed great health until she was almost 90. She was still driving the “old people” around in her car at age 89. She and my father had been married 62 years when he died in 1994. At the time of her death Mom had 7 children, 33 grandchildren, 46 great grandchildren, and 2 great-great grandchildren. When she passed away all of her more than 100 descendants and their spouses were still living. Her greatest delight in life was to see her family together enjoying themselves. She would’ve loved the party that followed the funeral. I know it was the most hugs I’ve ever received in one day. Along with the hugs and tears came a flood of stories and recollections. The process of constructing our lasting memory of Mom was well begun.

We are going to PEI after Katie leaves for Africa and the five weeks we spend there will be a time of relaxation and reflection. Not only is Katie going away, but Jack, 19, will soon be starting college at SUNY Potsdam. Also, Mom’s health aide Gladys, who lived with us for 3 plus years, and became a member of our family, has moved out. Our household is going from nine people to five in two months time. As we move forward into these transitions we’re looking forward to spending some quieter time together and visiting with our friends in Canada.

Looking Ahead

The next school year will bring new experiences and adventures for all of us. I will be going overseas to do presentations at two international conferences in the fall, one in South Africa, the other in the Netherlands. I’m hoping Ann Marie will attend the conference in the Netherlands and help conduct the workshops there. Our advance bookings for 2005-2006 are coming in early and strong and it promises to be a very busy year. That’s good. With two children in college and a third starting in 2006 I need all the work I can find.

I haven’t made it into the studio yet but when I do there are lots of new songs waiting to be recorded including a CD for us big kids. My work at the Bronx Zoo continues to be gratifying. I love the people I work with and I’m also meeting lots of interesting folks too.

Thanks for Helping Me

Mine is a curious profession in that I work with such a variety of people all the time. I do approximately 80 to 100 school visits, conferences and family concerts each year. That’s a lot of time in the car, many hours on airplanes, and numerous nights away from home and family. I love what I do and believe it is the work I was meant to do but it wouldn’t be possible without lots of help from others. My sincere thanks go to my dear friend Mary Jain Dayger who does an amazing job coordinating so many aspects of what I do. Thanks also to Rich Copley who manages the website with grace and thoughtfulness. Never ending thanks to everyone in my family. And as always thanks to each of you that sing along, buy CD’s, and invite me to your schools and community events. What I do doesn’t work without help and I’ve been blessed with kind and generous friends.

I hope the rest of your summer is peaceful and healthy and that you take the time to enjoy your memories of summers past while living each day to the fullest. Hope to see you soon. Keep a song in your heart!

Peace, Love and Music,


PS If you are considering booking a program for next year please call Mary Jain (800-928-4007) as soon as possible so we can get it on the calendar. It is beginning to fill up.

Spring 2005 Newsletter

2005 Hope River Music
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