Moonrise melodies, Lunar New Year and oneness of humanity

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, January 23, 2020

Moonrise over Rockies evokes memories, points to hope. Photo by Robyn MacKay

Winter continues to exercise its charm, and now it’s joined by the moon. Responding to my Jan. 9 column featuring Robyn MacKay’s snow ghost photos, Calgary reader Robin Roome – note different spelling – expressed gratitude for Robyn’s “magical photos.” I forwarded Robin’s comments to Robyn. Just as Robyn, at her Golden, BC, home at the time, was about to reply, something caught her attention that just might leave a song in your heart, too.

“I looked outside. I knew I could share this with you both. The moon is just rising above the mountain east of our house, Warren. It’s the most beautiful moonrise I’ve ever seen here – actually that blue!”

She was referring to Hedberg Peak (at the right in the photo she shared with us) in the Van Horne Range, one of Robyn’s favourite recreation areas.

“This reminds me of the 1950’s TV entertainer Kate Smith’s theme song,” I replied. “You know, When the Moon Comes over the Mountain.

“Thanks for the walk down memory lane,” Robin replied. “I’m pretty sure this song was among the many that our parents used to sing when we’d all gather on a neighbour’s front porch at our cottage in NS. There was always someone on the piano, accordion, a couple of fiddles and even folks playing on spoons, and this is one of my favorite memories from growing up.”

Ah yes, all those other moon-inspired hit songs that Robyn’s photo may evoke from our memories, too: Moon River, Moonshadow, and Frank Sinatra’s classic, Blue Moon.

Speaking of moon, this Saturday, Jan. 25, is Lunar New Year, celebrated throughout much of the Orient.

Which by chance brings to mind a great local musical celebration that same day – a memorable evening that unites Orient and Occident in beautiful harmonies that will leave folks feeling anything but blue.

East Meets West is “an innovative peace-building-through-poverty-alleviation project with 120 remote, high-mountain communities of northern Pakistan that is focusing on the empowerment of women,” Cochrane organizers Michael and Judie Bopp say.

The international development specialists note that this fourth annual event is a fundraiser for their Himat Project, with special emphasis on grassroots business and leadership development and financing. The Himat Project aims at breaking the cycle of dependency by “creating pathways to self-reliance and wellbeing for hundreds of individuals who formerly relied on charity to stave off starvation.”

Held at the Cardel Theatre in Calgary, the evening includes an international dinner and musical show featuring performers from as far away as Bangladesh and Iran, and as near as the Stoney Nakoda First Nation.

Tickets are $50, obtainable by phoning (403) 932-0882. Michael and Judie stress that the evening “represents the wonderful diversity that brings beauty to our oneness” – a melodious moonrise of hope for humanity.


© 2020 Warren Harbeck

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