It was my fiftieth birthday and when I got up that morning I decided to celebrate by giving myself the day to do anything I wanted – something that I had always wanted to try and had never allowed myself time to do. I decided to try to write music. It seems unbelievable that I had been playing piano since the age of four and had never tried to write music of my own. It just never entered my head that I would be able to do this. I didn’t believe I was intelligent enough.
When I began composing, the music and lyrics would flow out in complete form. I would sit on the couch in the evening watching TV and writing words and music at the same time. Sometimes I didn’t even listen to them until the next day. Many of them were about places and things and events in Colorado. I wrote songs about everything and everybody. I realize now that the compositions followed my own experiences with music. I worked my way through folk music, country, blues, pop, show music, even some rock, and then the music started turning spiritual with new age lyrics about a visionary world.
At one point I was in contact with one I called Frances, as I spelled it for a long time until it was corrected to Francois. A couple of years after that the last name came down and it was Couperin, who was a famous French composer and musician, a harpsichordist for the court of Louis IV and the teacher of the royal princes and princesses.
A year later, I began to receive information from a spiritual source that flowed the same way as the music. Some of the information came from a being named Sashuyon and one of his former incarnations had been as Tchaikovsky. This is where the Russian influence came from in the music.
Eventually I was in touch with the Musical Universe and the Science of Music started coming through. This science will give the world much needed new technology by applying music to seven established sciences for new ways of healing not only humans but also the earth herself.
The day I decided to start composing music, the first song I wrote was entitled “Walk, Walk, Walk with the Angels.” I hated it. I didn’t want to write religious songs. Then I realized that while writing the song I was seeing a vision of angels parading across the top of Grand Mesa, a 14,000 flat top mountain close to my home in Grand Junction. I decided it was meant to be and went on to write another song. This one turned out to be very different. It was about the female singer in my dance band. It continued on from there.
One evening while driving to choir practice a song started coming through and I had to write it on a piece of paper while driving the car. This was kind of hard to do and also kind of dangerous. This song was entitled “When the Columbine Turns Blue Again” and was inspired by a trip we had made up onto the Grand Mesa to cut firewood for our fireplace. I was later informed that this was a reflection on a previous life I had lived.
By the time I had twenty-five songs written I decided to write a musical play and fit the songs into it. I called this play “Boomtown, U.S.A.” Our area was a boomtown at this time based on the oil shale development that was going on at this time is western Colorado. This play will soon be available on my website.
As I worked the songs into the play, I began hearing arrangements for them and tried to incorporate these arrangements into the piano accompaniment. Most of the music in this group was of a country western flavor. Besides piano, I played guitar and mandolin and my sister and I sang at various events as teenagers. I know this influenced these early songs.
The music eventually became a little more in the line of pop music with some influence by early 50s rock and roll. It still didn’t stop me from writing about everyone and everything. One night as I went into choir practice I heard someone ask “Where’s Joe.” The answer that came back from another member was “Joe’s not here.” This became the title of another song and was in the blues genre. This happened quite often.
For some songs I drew from events that took place in my childhood. The song “Daddy was a Bootlegger” was a true story because my Dad was a bootlegger. He ran a still in the blackberry bushes on our property and he quite often spent some time in jail when caught. My Mother hated this song, but did like most of my other work.
For twenty-five years I played for dances every New Year’s Eve. I never had a New Year’s Eve off. One year I had surgery on my right wrist and I still played a four hour gig with just my left hand and left foot on the organ. Anyone who plays piano or organ knows that the melody is most always in the right hand, so this was a very difficult night. This was when we lived in Ohio.
Another night that was kind of unforgettable, while we were still living in Ohio, was when I was playing a dance for a group of state patrol officers. I was about 8 months pregnant; the officers were drinking merrily and kept yelling at me all night, “don’t worry lady, we’re all trained in childbirth.” They repeated this over and over more loudly as the night wore on and they became more inebriated. The last worrisome part of the night was when they insisted on carrying my organ down a steep flight of stairs. I was sure they were going to drop it.
“Christmas in the Country” was the aftermath of the holiday season when I lived in Vail, CO. For Christmas Eve I had the honor of playing a church service for President Ford and his family. A week later on New Year’s Eve I was on my way uptown to play in a bar when I was in an accident. The woman who hit me turned out to be the sister of the man who hired me to work at the bar. I had to be careful how I handled the event for fear of losing my job, which I really needed.
When we moved to Grand Junction, CO I started my own dance band called, “Aces and Eights” after the hand of cards that Wild Bill Hickok was holding when he was shot. I had this band for about ten years. I remember well the first and last jobs.
The first gig was in Telluride, CO, a ski town about 150 miles southwest of Grand Junction. I had booked a three piece band at a club and hired a trumpet player and drummer, both college students. We all went in our van with the instruments including my organ. My husband was driving. The drummer said he’d been in an auto accident earlier that day, but he was all right. We made it through the first set and he got sick. He had to lay down on a couch backstage and the trumpet player took over the drums. He’d never played them before, but had studied how to do it in college. Thank goodness for his talent. We had to pack the van carefully going home so there was room for the sick drummer to lay down on the floor. We had taken the rear seat out and that was the only place he could lay down. He was pretty sick by this time. He had a concussion from the accident.
The last job was in a town about the same distance northeast of Grand Junction. It was New Year’s Eve and that night I had booked a five piece band. We had to take the equipment up three flights of stairs. But that wasn’t the worst part – the travel was treacherous that night. The roads were snow covered and very slippery. My husband was driving and did a very good job, but I was scared both going to the job and home again. There were snow shoe rabbits all over the roads on the way to the job and coming home it was deer and moose that were all over the roads.
That was the night I “hung it up.” Our son Neil was about four when we moved to Colorado and by this time he was 14 – too old for a baby sitter and too young to stay by himself. I never played another dance job.
After moving to Los Angeles I decided to try to write some pop music so I signed up for lyric writing classes and started going to workshops. I had signed up for twelve weeks of lyric classes. The classes were held at the teacher’s house. One night after I’d been going there for about three weeks, I left her house and headed for my car. It was across the street and down a little ways from her house.
While walking to it I noticed two homeless men walking towards me pushing their carts. I saw them cross the street and head towards me. I hurried and just got inside and shut and locked the door when they were knocking on my window. I started the car and tore out of there. I never went back to finish my lessons.
Another night I was at a workshop in a downtown high rise and when I came out to go to the parking lot which was about a block away, I had to walk among street people laying right on the sidewalk and reaching up as I passed, asking for money. I never went to anymore workshops.
I lived in Los Angeles about five years. I was there for fires, floods, earthquakes and riots. I was teaching music at a preschool one day and the other teachers came in, locked the doors and pulled all the shades shut. I sat there and entertained the children while they waited for their parents to pick them up. The rioting was within a block and a half of the school.
“Talk to Each Other” was inspired by actually seeing a woman lift the lid of a garbage can. I also was acquainted with a teacher at the school where the student was shot. I entered the song in a contest to “Heal L.A.” after the riots. It got an honorable mention out of 1200 entries and I also got an eighteen month contract on it, but nothing ever came of it.
I was there for the big earthquake that did so much damage. Our house didn’t receive much damage, but one day when I went to the preschool where I was to teach it was completely destroyed from an earthquake.
When the fires were burning I could open my front door and see the flames behind a hill not too far away. My big worry was having to leave my cat locked in the house while I was teaching. I gave the neighbor a key and asked her to let the cat out if the evacuation order came. It never did.