2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

One of the Flickr groups I belong to is “Our Daily Challenge”. Each day a topic is given to inspire your photography. This particular challenge was “very big” It took me a few days to get around to it but I knew immediately what I wanted to photograph and the feeling I wanted to convey.

There were a number of things including a giant doughboy statue that I captured that day. But when the person in the red coat walked among the gravestones I knew this was the perfect shot.

I was thrilled that so many people commented on my photo saying how strong and emotional it was. Flickr picked it up for their EXPLORE page. Wow, my first explore.

So here it is. Tell me what you think of it.

war graveyard

all rights reserved © Diane Kern 2012

So very true. The performing arts shape a person in so many valuable ways. Job creators of the world take notice. I am happy to reblog this post for your enjoyment and edification.


I have a confession to make. I was a theatre major in college (yes, complete with the snooty but appropriate “re” spelling). I’ll wait for you to stop snickering. Judson University (it was Judson College when I attended), the small liberal arts college outside of Chicago labeled the major course of studies as “Communication Arts” which is what I tend to put on resumes and bios because I realize that “theatre major” tends to elicit thoughts such as “Do you want fries with that?”

When I chose my major, I had no pipe dreams about becoming a professional actor. I did it because more than one wise adult had advised me that my actual major in college would have less impact on my eventual job search than having the actual degree. “Study what you love” I was told, “not what you think will get you a job.” I listened for once…

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The Process


Amelia Goes to the Ball by Gian Carlo Menotti

Still to Come

At one time I was the Executive Director of an opera company as well as a performing musician. One night after the last rehearsal, for Tosca I think, I was leaving the hall with one of my artists. I commented that I was feeling sad because now it was all over. Mind you, the performances were still to come. I thought I might get a what the heck are you talking about kind of reaction. To my surprise this singer concurred with me. I thought I had been alone in this feeling. I have since learned that this feeling is more common than you might think.


Don’t get me wrong. The performances are always glorious and nothing can beat the feeling of exhaustion and exhilaration you get when the audience rises, as a whole, to its feet in bravos and applause. But a performance is in some ways an anticlimax to the process.

Learning the music and the words are just the beginning of the process. The real fun begins when you get into the head of the composer and the character. When you begin to live the music, that’s when it gets exciting.

woman with copper bowl

Elizabeth Patches as Julia Child in Bon Appetit by Lee Hoiby

The Process

Everyone is going through the learning process together, even if it is a work they have performed before. It can at times be messy and frustrating. There is much discussion, experimentation and repetition. It can get quite heated, both inward and outward, as everyone struggles to come to their own small truth and to the bigger truth. Much laughter punctuates rehearsals as well. Without it we could not go on.

You become a family of artists and a family of characters at the same time. You live together and learn more about each other than you care to know. TMI as they say. The process is all consuming.

man with rifle

La Pizza Con Funghi by Seymour Barab

Feel Something

When you finally feel something, when you feel something together, (in performance the audience too will feel something if they have any soul at all) the vibration in the hall rises and everyone reaches the same frequency. At this point it is as if the real world disappears. The walls disappear, the ceiling disappears and you and your fellows are one in the experience. When it is over you have the feeling of having been somewhere else, not knowing where or how you got there or back again. But you know you were there. There is nothing like it.

L'Heure Espagnole

L'Heure Espagnole by Maurice Ravel

Not Alone

It is all about the process. Since then I have spoken with and read of other artists, not just musicians but painters, dancers and actors. They express similar thoughts that the process is the really exciting thing. We share the end result with you and hope that you can experience some of the magic that we feel.

couple dancing

performing on the coast of Maine


Recently a dance critic chided choreographers for blogging about their process. Ugh! That makes me doubt their understanding of any kind of art.

rocks and sea weed

all rights reserved © Diane Kern 2012

Weather Alert

footprints in snowThis is my weather. It’s what I am used to and comfortable with in the winter. And to boot (oh yes I meant to say that) it looks like we are going to have a lot of it. SNOW that is.

I realize that where I come from and where I have lived most of my life that snow is expected, planned for and accomodated fairly easily. Here in Seattle it is a snow bird of a different color.  Since I don’t have to be anywhere in the next few days I am feeling pretty good about it.

Yesterday I went for a walk around my immediate neighborhood. This was the first chance I had to do so. The snow made for a blanket of quiet. The only sounds were the crunch of snow underfoot and the cawing of crows and peeping of the little birds. The trees were wearing their Sunday best looking very fashionable.

evergreens with snow

 As I approached the main street there were few cars about. However plenty of people were out walking. Rosy cheeks and pulled down caps, everyone looked happy. I decided to try out one of the local eateries for breakfast.

restaurantLeena’s Cafe was already crowded with folks. People were laughing and smiling and enjoying hearty breakfasts. Never having been there before I don’t know if this was the regular crowd or a result of the weather. The service was friendly and relaxed and the food was good an plentiful. I’ll be going back again sometime soon.

On my return home, in my Midwestern way, I greeted the people I passed on the street. Back to the quiet of the side street I stopped to admire the trees in their finery once more. Now to get some work done.

cup of coffee

all rights reserved © Diane Kern 2012

“Look round and round this bare bleak plain, and see even here, upon a winter’s day, how beautiful the shadows are! Alas! It is the nature of their kind to be so. The lovliest things in life, Tom, are but shadows; and they come and go, and change and fade away, as rapidly as these!” Charles Dickens

The holidays are over, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and all the other special occasions that happen in December. (Pity the person who schedules a house move 2 days after Christmas) Amidst all this hustle and bustle is a favorite time of mine-Winter Solstice. Recently this night has become a more popular time to celebrate with like minded people. However, it is a gift and celebration that I give to myself in solitude each year.

Peggy's Cove Nova ScotiaIt seems that I have worked each  winter solstice night for many years now. I sometimes listen to the rebroadcast of the Paul Winter and Friends concert, at St. John the Divine in New York, on my way home late that night. The air is crisp. The sky is clear. You can see the heavens overflowing with sparkling points of light to an extent that is terrifyingly beautiful.

This is a turning point, the longest, darkest night of the year. The world hovers on a pinpoint. I have a feeling that the door to all in the Universe is open. That is if you wanted to, you could travel anywhere, see everything, speak to anyone, understand all. Every possibility is available to you. Only on this night is this gate visible and open to everyone. The rest of the year if you have worked hard enough and have gained the password you might win entry.

It is a time of wonder and meditation. It is a moment of quiet in the blur of holiday activities. Pay attention and experience.

snowy sunset

all rights reserved © Diane Kern 2012

Photo Wishes

Rolling into the New Year

rolling conveyor belt

I wish you blessings

antique angel statue

May you never be blue

antique chair

But always find love


Find time to reflect

Fly to the top of your class

And at the end of the day, remember to have fun

all rights reserved © Diane Kern 2012

Moving-I hate it

Moving-I hate it. Well maybe that is a little strong. I don’t enjoy the process for sure. But I do enjoy being in a new place, getting to know a new neighborhood. The last week of December is not the best time to move being as busy as it is. I have had extra shifts at work, which I do love. That left very little time for packing.

It’s amazing what you can accumulate in a year and a half. I moved here with what would fit in my car and then shipped a few boxes later. No more. I had to rent a truck. I’ve pressed a couple of friends into service to help me. (I will have to do something extra nice for them) Wanting to make it easier for them I moved the majority of my belongings down to our lobby to speed the process.

After tomorrow’s major move there will still be things  that I don’t want to pack in the truck. So I will be back and forth for a couple of days, taking care of the precious items. All the while I will be working at Benaroya in the evenings. And I have early call, so the moving day will be short.

And then the process of finding the right place for eveything begins. I spent the day there today putting together my bed frame and building and attaching my new headboard. Glad I got that part out of the way. Where should I put my new comfy chair? How should I set up my office? I never feel at home until my artwork is on the walls. It is usually the first thing I do before starting to unpack. What makes you feel at home when you move?

It better not be raining tomorrow!

all rights reserved © Diane Kern 2011

The three Buds…they were fixtures in my neighborhood for several years. I lived in an “Our Town” kind of place where people sat on their porch in the evenings and waved hello to neighbors passing by. When a new family came to town there was a visitor with cookies or cake at the front door the next day. So it wasn’t unusual to see the same people on a regular basis. Three of those people were named Bud. Not really their proper name but the one they were known by none-the-less.

victorian houseBud # 1 we called- Bud who Walked. Everyday like clockwork he would walk briskly past our house. Always friendly, but he seldom had time to stop and talk. He was on a mission.  All of a sudden we stopped seeing him. It was several months gone by before we found out he had suffered a heart attack. Not knowing his last name or exactly where he lived we couldn’t visit to wish him well. Then one day here he came again. He was really on a mission now to stay healthy and take advantage of his second chance. Only now he had a little more time to stop and chat once in a while.

mudBud #2 we called Bud in Mud. He was the husband of a voice teacher at the college where we were on the faculty. We often saw him at concerts and arts events with his wife. He also wrote a column of musings for the local paper. He was an excellent, insightful writer that could put an interesting turn on any subject. He got his name from one of those columns. I wish I had a copy of it now as I don’t remember the details anymore. Of course the subject was mud and I remember laughing loud and long everytime I read it. Which I did over and over. He developed Parkinson’s and stopped appearing in public and eventually stopped writing as well shortly before he passed.

Bud #3 was Bud Next Door. He was our neighbor and a very interesting one as well. An antiques collector, bed and breakfast owner, important in the development of the Marshall Plan and instrumental in NASA.  He was a charming man with whom we shared a love of music. We used to sing Christmas carols in German together, Oh Tannenbaum and Stille Nacht in particular.  He eventually sold his beautiful Victorian home when it became too much to handle and moved to a small apartment. We no longer saw each other as frequently but we reconnected near the end. When he was in the hospital I would visit and once again we sang German carols. I was there when he transitioned.

Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!


all rights reserved © Diane Kern 2011