How Many Black Rainsong Guitars Do You See?

Ellen AllardEllen Allard, Jewish Early Childhood, Yoga


3, 3, 3 Guitars In One
When was the last time you went to a concert where 3 of the musicians were playing the exact same guitar? I think Rabbi Joe Black started it, the black Rainsong guitar trend. And now there are a whole bunch of my colleagues who belong to the same club. There’s Steve Brodsky (pictured above in the light purple shirt), Beth Schafer and Jeff Klepper and….

Rebecca Schwartz, Susan Shane Linder, Kathy-Katyah Gohr. Who else am I missing?

As you can see, I, too, am the proud owner of a (smaller body) Rainsong. Travels like a dream, you don’t have to detune it when you fly with it, great tone, cool sharks on the neck. I flew with it a few weeks ago to Denver for a Artist-In-Residency weekend. As usual, it played like a dream.

My Black Rainsong & An Extraordinary Weekend

What an extraordinary and magical weekend I had in Denver. I was treated with kid gloves before, during and in-between each of the events I performed or presented. Thank you Steve Brodsky! You pulled all of the pieces of my visit together and embodied “haknasat orchim” (welcoming the stranger or guest in this case) to the max.

My visit included:

  • Sing it! Say it! Stamp it! Sway it! Teacher workshop on Friday afternoon for the Preschool teaching staff
  • Friday night post-Shabbat service lawn concert (with a rocking band to accompany me!)
  • Shabbat morning Yoga-Infused Shachrit worship service (for thirty 8 – 12 year olds and their counselors) I led at Camp Shwayder (a most gorgeous mountain sleep away camp affiliated with Temple Emanuel).
  • Adults who attended the intimate house concert I performed at Rabbi Black’s house (THANK YOU to Rabbi Joe and his wife Sue!!!) on Sunday night with Steve on vocals, guitar and percussion as well as Rabbi Joe Black on vocals, banjo, guitar, djembe, cajon, and harmonica (Joe, did I miss anything?!?)

House Concert Denver 1

Ellen’s Doing House Concerts: A Whole New Musical Take On Performing!

I am passionate and dedicated to singing with young children. Of course I will continue to do so. And there are the times when I sing with adults at Hava Nashira and at conferences. But now, having performed two house concerts for adults over the last month, I’m hooked and plan on adding these to my menu of performance options.

  • The adults at both venues were so very willing and interested and joyful about singing with me. I deliberately chose songs, both my own compositions and folk songs in the public domain, that were very participatory.
  • I sprinkled 2 well-known folk songs into my setlist – If I Had A Hammer and The Circle Game. The audience sang like there was no tomorrow. And one woman asked if I would sing Hava Nagila. Of course, I obliged! They sang with wild abandon – that would be the best way I can explain it. Hearing people let loose like that is part of what makes this work so satisfying, so delicious.

Take-homes From My Trip

  1. I now know how to ensure that my guitar gets into the overhead compartment in a Southwest flight without a hitch
  2. Pack a separate dedicated bag of makeup cause I inadvertently left mine home when I packed for the trip
  3. An audience of grownups during an intimate house concert is AMAZING! They LOVE to sing! And they love hearing personal stories. I’ve experienced performing small intimate adult house concerts twice in the last month and was so blown away by it that from now on, I’m going to strongly recommend that, if possible, a house concert be a part of my visits.
  4. It’s time to go through my 250+ songs and make sure they are uniformly formatted in Finale (music software)!
  5. I want to learn to play mandolin. I’m putting mandolin acquisition vibes out into the universe.
  6. My decision to become certified to teach babies/toddler/kid’s yoga was a REALLY good one ( Developing and leading a Shabbat Yoga Shachrit (or Maariv) service at a sleep away summer camp is something I never dreamed of before this year. Now, I hope to lead at least one of these services during every one of my Artist-In-Residence visits. My ultimate dream: get invited to various sleep away camps as the yoga/musical Artist-In-Residence for a week every summer. That would be SOOO cool!!! Thank you to Haris Lender who developed Kidding Around Yoga & Yoga Yeladim and Lisa Flynn from Child Light Yoga for creating brilliant programs.
  7. Time to start thinking about composing and releasing a CD (and/or singles) of Jewish and secular songs that can be incorporated into my Kid’s yoga services.
  8. Playing with one or more musicians is as close to musical heaven as I’ve gotten. Thank you Steve and Rabbi Joe.
  9. Southwest Airlines (I love flying Southwest) needs to offer gluten free snacks. Shame on them for not stepping up to the gluten free plate.
  10. The air, the sky and the clouds at Camp Schwayder, way up high in the mountains about 75 minutes outside of Denver, are an awesome sight to be seen.
  11. The songwriting muse can visit at all times. Thank goodness for the recording app on my iPhone.
  12. Set an alarm so I remember to check in for all of my flights!
  13. Being a lovist (thank you z”l Debbie Friedman for coining this term) is what matters most. Being a lovist is way more important than remembering to pack your makeup.
  14. It’s time to begin planning a Tot and/or Family Shabbat project. What will this look like? Not sure. Physical CD/book? Digital only? Videos? Kickstarter – I don’t think I want to do another one but I definitely would welcome a financial supporter. Ok universe, are you listening? :

Feeling Grateful, Blessed, Fulfilled, Loved

Being a road warrior has its’ challenges. Especially when traveling by yourself. But when you have people like Steve and Rabbi Joe and everyone else from Temple Emanuel who make you feel so welcome, it makes the work seem less like work and much more like a gift bestowed upon you.

You’re Invited To Join My Community

I’d love you to join my community via my email list. We are like-minded folks who love good music and support quality contemporary Jewish music for kids and adults. And we’re kinda cool, too! Please click on THIS link or click on the bright pink graphic just below this paragraph. Then come back and leave a comment so I know you were here! Thank you my friends!

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Caves At Shwayder