Monday, January 25, 2021 - The Interesting Music I Find as I Learn New Songs 

One of the more interesting things about what I’m doing musically during COVID is all the requests I’m learning and the process of learning them. I’m a solo guitarist and singer for the most part, and that’s how I approach a song - seeing what the structure of the song is and what the signature licks are that I can express on one guitar and with one voice. It’s sometimes a challenge when a song has a full band and even an orchestra. The rhythms can be tricky, and the vocal parts can be challenging figuring out on some songs what is the melody and the harmony. My favorite place to listen is on YouTube because there is not only the original recorded version (usually from the studio) but also various live versions by the original artist and also many covers both studio and live from people all over the world. That’s where it gets interesting - the rest of the world. There are pockets of the world where learning and recording cover versions of songs must be a favorite pastime because I’m finding especially Asian and Filipino versions of some popular songs that are amazing performances. I know that American culture is popular all over the world, but it’s phenomenal when you find performers who barely speak any English who can sing an English song better than the original singer. So sometimes I use these versions to hear and see a great arrangement or better interpretation of a song that I can base my version on. At the very least I can see the chords they are playing and the position on the guitar so I can figure out what the original player was doing. The talent and ingenuity of folks all over the world is just inspiring and sometimes humbling. So I’ll find one of these performances that I can use the lyrics and chords that I find on the internet to map out my own version of a song. There are even many, many people who give lessons on YouTube who show you how to play the main licks in a song. I’ve used those a few times as well. I should also say that I sometimes start from scratch and learn a song completely from just listening to the original recording. That’s how I used to learn all my songs - playing them from the 45 or LP while I scratched out the lyrics and chords on a piece of paper. But I’m more modern now. Once I have it on my laptop and formatted so I can see the whole song on one screen I can determine if there are better chords than the ones I’ve found online or better voicing to pick up some of the other licks by the group as I hear it. Then I have to listen to the song to get it in my head and make notes on the lyrics with chords on my screen so that I can perform it. Sometimes I have to listen to a song 20 times before all the nuances sink into my head so I can remember them. I don’t write out sheet music although I’m considering it since I sometimes am learning 20 songs a week. I’m not very fast with music notation although I have apps even on my iPad that make it easier and quicker to do. With notation I could at least capture the melody better although there are some things you can’t really capture in notation such as the feel of the rhythm or some of the quick syncopations. Lastly, I have to transpose the song and the licks into a key that’s in my vocal range, and then I rehearse it a few times or many times depending on the complexity of the song. I’m a pretty quick study, but some songs take a lot of work, and then I still mess them up when I perform them with the nerves from having an audience. Then before I do a show I pull all of the requests into one folder where I can sort them by who requested them so I’m ready to perform when I see the person on my concert. The worst part is that I hope these songs will stick with me, but I’m finding that when I try to revisit a song I had just learned a couple months before I often draw a complete blank when I look at my music as to the tempo or melody of the song. Then I have to go back and listen to the song a few times to get it back in my head. With 4000 songs in my main list on my laptop I guess I should expect to not be able to remember a lot of them. I like the challenge though. Most of the songs I learn I never get a fully-polished version, but at least I can get them to an acceptable level where I have the right feel of a song and the character of the performance. The rest is usually chalked up to artistic license, and I forgive myself for not getting it to the level I’d really like since I have a bunch more to learn and I know I won’t retain the song for long. It’s fun going through the process, and I’m thankful for the opportunity. So do you have any requests for my shows this week? 😃 

—— 

What have I been up to? 

I was able to do a couple live shows online for my senior facilities last week. I finally figured out how to do good shows from my old computer so I can record them as I perform them and make them available for the facility to use for residents who couldn’t be a part of the live performance either because of social distancing rules or because of logistics. This will make my music more accessible and valuable to my facilities, and that’s a good thing.  

My Thursday show doing old cowboy music was really fun, and I think my audience liked it more than they thought they might. I didn’t do a lot of the sadder songs about dying cowboys and tragedies on the cattle drives - there are a lot of those. We still have a lot of cowboy songs I didn’t get to, so we will definitely do another cowboy song night in the future.  

My Sunday favorites show was really enjoyable as always. I continue to enjoy the camaraderie of my audience and their genuine affection for each other and the music. There are always new people along with so many old and new friends, and it becomes a happening every week! You should join us sometime if you haven’t.  

—— 

What am I up to this week? 

I only have one senior show to do this week live. I’d like to record a few more things to put up on Facebook and YouTube. I think I said before that I’d like to have good recordings of some of these songs I’m learning in case I never go back to them. My live recordings are usually limited by the streaming quality, and I often don’t have the polish on them I’d have on a focused version of the song. I may just be making more work for myself though.  

My Thursday show 7-8:30 this week will be folk rock songs from the ‘70s. I have featured different artists from this period already, but I have plenty of other songs by people I haven’t gotten to yet in my shows. This will be fun to put together, and it should be a really good show of favorites. Please join me if you can. We are also looking at some really fun themes in the future including Bruce Cockburn, Neil Diamond, ‘60s tunes, folk tunes, more standards, and many more.  

My Sunday show 7-8:30 will be the favorites and requests we have come to love. I can’t believe the variety of songs I have built up for these shows that I still haven’t performed, and I always have at least a dozen new requests each week. Feel free to throw some more at me. And then come to the show to hear them!  

—— 

That’s it for this week. LIfe is sure different lately, but at least I have a focus and am feeling like I’m helping and adding to life and others around me. What more is there? 

Best, 

Tom 

—— 

Details this week: 

Who:  Tom Munch  
What:  playing and singing an online concert of folk rock ‘70s songs 
Where:  facebook.com/tom.munch and tommunch.com/online-concerts   
When:  Thursday, January 28, 7-8:30 pm mountain time  

Who:  Tom Munch  
What:  playing and singing an online concert of favorites and requests  
Where:  facebook.com/tom.munch and tommunch.com/online-concerts   
When:  Sunday, January 31, 7-8:30 pm mountain time

Monday, January 18, 2021 - Aging and COVID 

I wanted to write about how the COVID pandemic is affecting me individually as it relates to aging. My whole career I have been the person who continuously just goes. I have always felt the pressure of what’s next and what’s on my calendar and to-do list. My schedule has been booked for every day for a long time, and I never turn down a gig or an opportunity if I can fit it in. That all changed when COVID came just as I know it did for many of my friends - probably you too. I tried to keep really busy finding new ways to do my job for quite a while - going online as much as I could, and trying to stay connected. But as the months have gone by I’ve realized that things will not be the same when the virus is gone. This year that has been lost has changed my perspective and my approach to the rest of my life. My friend Eileen who is a minister and spiritual teacher has also been teaching a section on growing older, and that has me pondering more than usual as I have been writing song thoughts about the grace and wisdom of age. The older you get the more old age doesn’t seem so old. I’m sure there will come a time when I am reduced physically enough that I’ll need help and will truly feel my age, but for now I am relatively young, and I am at the stage where my experience and life-skills and job-skills have value for the world. I’m settling into a good stage of giving back - seeing where I can help without caring about reciprocal gain. I can wait an extra second for reflection before I jump in, and that makes the helping much more helpful. I can think of others before I think of myself because I am comfortable in who I am and what my purpose is. All these things come with age, and COVID has slowed me down and helped me see this. I’m not quite retired, but my thought is slipping towards it. I’ll always make music, and I love the community that has gathered around me - especially online, but I can see that the driven time of trying to accumulate things and money is passing for me. That’s a good thing. It’s funny how time makes that much more apparent. I’m rambling, but the virus has helped make things clearer in many ways at my age, and I’m thankful for that. How about you? Has it changed your perspective on aging? 

—— 

What have I been up to? 

My Thursday show online doing Jimmy Buffett songs was great fun! He puts so much energy and spirit in his songs, and it was a real pleasure to share that energy with folks. If you missed it you can catch it on my website or on Facebook - tommunch.com/online-concerts and facebook.com/tom.munch.  

My Sunday online show was a good one too with a whole new mix of songs including some blues and quite a few ‘70s tunes. Again this online community is a treasure and a blessing.  

—— 

What am I up to this week? 

I need to make at least one recording for my senior facilities, and one of my facilities has been able to lift their lockdown enough to have small groups that I can sing to live online again. I bought a good webcam so I can finally make videos that are easier to record and upload to the cloud as well as stream. That will help.  

My Thursday 7-8:30 mountain time theme show this week will feature old cowboy songs. I have a real history with these songs going back to when I studied them in college to sing for historical events at museums and at Philmont. I have been told by ranchers that I do them faithfully, and like a good piece of historical fiction there is real value in plugging into someone’s life in another time and place that helps us understand our own lives better. On top of that there are the fun movie-cowboy songs that romanticized the cowboy life, and I’ll do a few of those too. Come on out! 

My Sunday show 7-8:30 will be the favorites and requests that I so enjoy playing for folks. It’s been a lot of work learning so many new-to-me songs, but it’s a pleasure connecting with people over a favorite song. I get to see a piece of their life and understand how a song has been a part of them. Please tune in if you can, and send me any requests you’d like me to learn for future weeks. 

—— 

That’s it for this week. I hope you are well and relatively happy. We are all learning a lesson in patience and grief as the pandemic stretches on. Someday we will all sit together and reminisce and be closer for it - although it seems so far off now. 

Best always, 

Tom 

—— 

Details this week: 

Who:  Tom Munch  
What:  playing and singing an online concert of cowboy songs 
Where:  facebook.com/tom.munch and tommunch.com/online-concerts   
When:  Thursday, January 21, 7-8:30 pm mountain time  

Who:  Tom Munch  
What:  playing and singing an online concert of favorites and requests  
Where:  facebook.com/tom.munch and tommunch.com/online-concerts   
When:  Sunday, January 24, 7-8:30 pm mountain time 

Monday, January 11, 2021 - Heart's Truth 

I’ve been pondering what happened last week in America and trying to make sense of it. How do we decide for ourselves what is true and what we should believe? There are so many competing ideas vying for our attention. Ultimately it comes down to what we believe in our own hearts and minds. We try to believe in what is rational and provable, but we also want to believe in what is unknowable and somewhat magical. I don’t think anyone is immune to going down a rabbit hole of ideas. I can’t tell you how much fun it is to read stories with different bizarre ideas or watch TV shows and movies that explore different possibilities. I was a big fan of “The X-Files” and so many other shows including science fiction that explored different conspiracies and theories. So how do we decide which of these is true and what we will base our actions on? Going back to the Enlightenment it seems that we have tried to define truth in more concrete ways that are based on observable facts and mathematical reasoning. Most of our world is based on this today, and scientific ideas have led to the development of engineering marvels and the digital age that so dominates our world. Still we want to believe in religion, spiritual, and magical ideas that cannot be proven with scientific tests yet. So how do we balance this? Logically it seems we must educate ourselves enough to understand a good amount of everything so we can make an honest decision on how to lead our lives. That is in theory what our modern education system is based on. Still it seems we have trouble discerning what is important and worth our time - at least I do. So I guess I’m not giving any answers. I believe in most science although I see holes in it sometimes. I’m no scientist although I do read and listen to a lot of it on a weekly basis. I’m not a spiritualist either although I read and listen to a lot of religious and metaphysical content every week. I believe there are some magical things in our lives - music, art, love - that are not explained or understood adequately by anything I’ve read or studied. I hope as we evolve as humans we will find ways that it all fits together. Maybe then we can have more concrete truth that we can all agree on. All I know is that I will continue to give and spread love and joy in the hope that it can make a difference. If we start there then maybe we’ll have the patience with each other to learn and grow together in peace and harmony instead of this strife and division. That is the truth that my heart tells me. 

—— 

What have I been up to? 

I recorded a bunch of shows for my senior facilities last week. It looks like this is what I’ll be doing for them for a while until they can gather their residents in groups to watch and listen to a live show. This virus is presenting a continuous challenge. 

My Thursday show online was full of hopeful songs, and I think it did some good for my listeners. I know it did a lot of good for me. 

My Sunday show online was another wonderful warm fire of friends enjoying each other and the music. I can’t believe how sweet these concerts have become. I say it every week, but I am blessed to have such good friends and followers. 

—— 

What am I up to this week? 

I have a couple recorded shows to do for my senior facilities, and I’d like to do a couple more songs just to post on YouTube. I’m learning so many songs for my Thursday and Sunday concerts, and I should probably save a version on my YouTube page for posterity so I can prove I could actually play these tunes that I’m mostly forgetting once I’ve learned them and performed them. 

Thursday 7-8:30 mountain time is my online theme show. This week we’ll do Jimmy Buffet songs since I’m sure we could all use a little break from thoughts of winter. Jimmy really has a sweet flow to his music that really puts folks at ease. Come on out it if you’re a “parrot head” or want to see what his music is all about. 

Sunday 7-8:30 mountain time is my favorites and requests show, and I won’t mention again how special these evenings have been. Give a listen if you can. I’d love to see you! 

—— 

That’s it for this week. I so want to just wrap everybody in an embrace and hold them until all this division and hatred passes. It’s so hard to see such turmoil and strife. 

Best always, 

Tom 

—— 

Details this week: 

Who:  Tom Munch  
What:  playing and singing an online concert of Jimmy Buffet songs 
Where:  facebook.com/tom.munch and tommunch.com/online-concerts   
When:  Thursday, January 14, 7-8:30 pm mountain time  

Who:  Tom Munch  
What:  playing and singing an online concert of favorites and requests  
Where:  facebook.com/tom.munch and tommunch.com/online-concerts   
When:  Sunday, January 17, 7-8:30 pm mountain time 

Monday, January 4, 2021 - Hopeful 

I’m writing today about starting the new year with hope. As you know I try to always see the world every day with a fresh eye and a nod towards the benefit of the doubt. It’s an interesting thing whether people believe in inherent goodness or inherent  ill-will. I believe the world is what you make it even when you’re given a bad situation. I think we often justify our bad actions by believing that people will behave badly if they are given the chance. It’s an issue of trust that is based on the conscious decision to see the world with love and not with fear. I write these thoughts quite often, but I truly believe them, and it’s what I base my decisions on every day. Life is just so much better when we approach it this way - regardless of religious beliefs or stature. And so I’m approaching this year in this frame of mind, and my show Thursday will be all about songs that express this view of life.  

—— 

What have I been up to? 

I recorded a couple shows for my senior facilities last week. Many of them are full of COVID, and it’s a very tense time trying to keep everyone healthy until they can get the vaccines distributed for the virus.  

My New Year’s Eve show last Thursday was great fun with a bunch of rock and roll songs played on electric guitar. I think we rang in the new year right! 

Sunday night’s show was a wonderful ride of songs and good friends. I say it every week, but we have really created something special that I’d love for folks to be a part of. There is so much genuine joy and good spirits between folks, and it has become a safe space for everyone.  

—— 

What am I up to this week? 

I’m recording shows for my senior facilities as always until we get through the virus. It has been a technological scramble for many of my folks and facilities to make it all work, but it really seems to help, and I’m glad to be able to help.  

Thursday 7-8:30 mountain time my online show will be the hopeful songs I mentioned above. Folks are sending me some great requests, and I think this will be a night to remember. Come on out and take part if it sounds good to you.  

Sunday 7-8:30 mountain time will be my favorites and requests show as always. I said it above, but I really cherish these opportunities to share some great music and camaraderie with such a sweet group of folks. You’re always welcome. 

—— 

That’s it for this week. I hope you’re faring well with the virus and all the precautions. The new strain of virus is making it even more important to stay the course and not let our guard down. Please be safe and try to keep upbeat in the face of all the turmoil. We will make it though one way or the other.  

Best always, 

Tom 

—— 

Details this week: 

Who:  Tom Munch  
What:  playing and singing an online concert of hopeful songs 
Where:  facebook.com/tom.munch and tommunch.com/online-concerts   
When:  Thursday, January 7, 7-8:30 pm mountain time  

Who:  Tom Munch  
What:  playing and singing an online concert of favorites and requests  
Where:  facebook.com/tom.munch and tommunch.com/online-concerts   
When:  Sunday, January 10, 7-8:30 pm mountain time 

Monday, December 28, 2020 - Oneness 

When I was walking this morning with Beau before the sunrise I was overwhelmed once again by a feeling of oneness with the earth and sky and everything in it. This happens to me quite often. It’s one of the reasons I like to get up early and walk when everything is quiet and peaceful. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - I think we really are one with everything down at the quantum level, and this includes our consciousness. This is something that feels very concrete to me and not woo-woo in any way. It’s something I’ve felt over and over since I was a small child. It’s why I wasn’t afraid when I was in a house being struck by a tornado when I was a teenager. It’s why I didn’t panic when I couldn’t open my eyes for a day when I was deep in the woods and had to be guided down to a doctor who could administer anesthesia and antibiotics to my damaged eyes. It’s why I have felt comfort even when loved ones died. It’s why I feel peaceful whenever I find chaos all around me. I just feel an overwhelming oneness in a way that lets me know that when bad things happen I am ultimately okay no matter where I end up - even if it’s in death. I know it may sound crazy to you, but it’s what I’ve always felt deep in my bones. Do you ever feel this way? 

—— 

What have I been up to? 

Thursday playing for the Christmas-Eve Cuchara Chapel service was a lot of fun. I had several folks from some of our weekly concerts join in as well. 

Saturday my show for Philmont folks was great too. It’s such a wonderful thing to get together with old friends whom you have shared meaningful experiences with. Many reunions are like this.  

Sunday my online show was an amazing experience! The energy was electric, and everyone felt warmth and friendship with the music and camaraderie. These Sunday-night events are taking on a life of their own. I played several different small guitars that don’t see much use, and each one spoke it’s little voice of truth to boost the evening.  

—— 

What am I up to this week? 

I’ll be recording some shows for my senior facilities this week for January. I think I’ve finally settled into a new reality since I can’t see any of these folks in person - even outdoors now. I haven’t made any contacts with the national facilities yet, but I’d still like to do that as well if any of them can use my services.  

Thursday 7-8:30 mountain time my online show will feature party music for New Year’s Eve. I’ll even break out the electric guitars to do some old rock and country tunes. It should be quite a night. I’d love to have you if you’d like a celebratory evening in the safety of your own home with my music.  

Sunday 7-8:30 mountain time is my favorites and requests show. I haven’t looked at all the requests that came in from last night’s show, but we’ve been having some really great suggestions lately. As always I’d love to have you in my audience. We have such an accepting and genuine group of folks, and there’s always something special that happens on these evenings.  

—— 

That’s it for this week. I hope that you can send out 2020 with a bang and welcome in 2021 with anticipation and hopefulness. I sure plan to.  

Best always, 

Tom 

—— 

Who:  Tom Munch  
What:  playing and singing an online concert of party songs for New Year’s Eve 
Where:  facebook.com/tom.munch and tommunch.com/online-concerts   
When:  Thursday, December 31, 7-8:30 pm mountain time  

Who:  Tom Munch  
What:  playing and singing an online concert of favorites and requests  
Where:  facebook.com/tom.munch and tommunch.com/online-concerts   
When:  Sunday, January 3, 7-8:30 pm mountain time 

Monday, December 21, 2020 - Solstice and Christmas 

There is something mystical about today, the winter solstice. Many cultures planned big doings and religious events around this day. You can find all kinds of buildings and art dedicated to understanding the alignment of the sun and moon and planets. It’s no coincidence that Christmas is near the solstice. There is just something in the air and the land and the cosmos and how we relate to it. I can feel it in my bones. I tend to be more tuned into these things, and I appreciate the significance that ancient folks placed on this day. They had wisdom that we have forgotten over the years as we insulate ourselves more from the changes of the seasons and the days. I’m not going to get all woo-woo on you today, but I wanted to encourage you to tune in to what the earth is going through on this day of the changeover. Someday we will all understand how these physical forces affect us and are part of us. And that’s one of the reasons I feel Christmas in my very being. It’s tied into me in ways I don’t quite understand. I hope the spirit of rebirth and ancient wisdom pervades you and buoys your spirit into a wonderful solstice and Christmas Day this week! 

—— 

What have I been up to? 

I recorded a few shows for my senior facilities last week, and I’ll do a few more this week. It’s a different procedure imagining what your audience will be thinking and doing when they listen to your music. I kind of have to put myself in a certain zone to make it work. I have to check in more often with the folks after-the-fact as well to make sure it’s being received in the way I’m putting it out.  

My Thursday show doing Christmas tunes was a blast and very well-received. I had a bigger than usual group, and I did a few new-to-me Christmas songs as well. 

My Sunday show was fun too with a few Christmas songs left over from Thursday and also some wonderful new tunes and old favorites. I was honored to have some wonderful musicians tune in and comment including Bill Hearne and Steve Garry. 

—— 

What am I up to this week? 

I won’t be doing a regular live show this Thursday on Christmas Eve on Facebook and my website, but I will be doing some of the music for a virtual Zoom chapel service for Cuchara Chapel at 5:00 mountain time that you’re welcome to come and watch. Also performing will be Eldaa Royer and Peggy Hoobler. Being that it’s on Zoom you have to register on Zoom to get the link to watch. Here’s the link to register - https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAufumpqzwvHNLVHNN-i4D5lB77vXEKarmE. It’s a totally no-commitment show, and you won’t get any additional emails or contact after the show. There’ll be lots of music and a wonderful Christmas story read my British friend Mark Worgan. It’s worth it just to hear his wonderful baritone voice. Hope to see you there! 

Saturday 7-9 mountain time I’m doing a winter show for my Philmont friends online that promises to be a fine time as well. It’s on a group on Facebook I created just for doing these concerts, and if you’re Philmont alumni or friends you are most welcome to join in. It’s called Tom Munch Philmont Songs Concert Group, and the link is facebook.com/groups/1176893032692370. 

Sunday 7-8:30 mountain time I’ll be doing my regular online show of favorites and requests. This last week was so enjoyable that I don’t know if we can top it, but I’m willing to try. Come on out, and throw me some requests in a reply to this email if you’d like to hear something special.  

—— 

Looking forward 

I’m doing a New Year’s Eve party of sorts with an online show on New Year’s Eve of party songs and favorites. It’ll be at the regular time - 7-8:30 mountain time, and I’d love to have you if you’re looking for a wonderful and safe evening of friendship and music. 

—— 

That’s it for this week. I hope you enjoy this week of festivities and this day of solstice. This life can be a challenge, but the ride is well worth it! 

Best always, 

Tom 

—— 

Details this week: 

Who:  Tom Munch  
What:  playing and singing for a Christmas Eve chapel service on Zoom with other talented performers 
Where:  https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAufumpqzwvHNLVHNN-i4D5lB77vXEKarmE 
When:  Thursday, December 24, 5-6 pm mountain time  

Who:  Tom Munch  
What:  playing and singing an online concert for Philmont friends and alumni 
Where:  facebook.com/groups/1176893032692370 
When:  Saturday, December 26, 7-9 pm mountain time 

Who:  Tom Munch  
What:  playing and singing an online concert of favorites and requests  
Where:  facebook.com/tom.munch and tommunch.com/online-concerts   
When:  Sunday, December 27, 7-8:30 pm mountain time 

Monday, December 14, 2020 - Angst 

I was feeling some angst this morning as I was rushing around doing my morning routine, and as always that made me want to explore it and write about it. I hope you'll indulge me yet again. I don't know how you are when you feel pressure whether it's self-imposed or external, but I think we all have felt the increase in pulse and the nervousness that stress puts into our bodies and brains. As different body-produced chemicals flow through our veins and brains they create all kinds of feelings and responses. I usually can separate myself from them, but there is no doubt that they are very powerful. It's easy to see how others can use these against us too. That's part of the reason I have always worked for myself. My wife always took jobs where she worked for others, and I know that is the norm for most people, but I found it very stressful when I had a boss who pushed me even though I sometimes needed it. So how do you deal with angst? I usually try to put myself on a higher plane ñ realizing that most stressful things are not that important in the big picture, and that I am part of something bigger than the anxious responses of my body and brain. I won't get all woo-woo on you, but I will say that I believe we shouldn't take things too seriously. We are here to love and to be joyful aside from the learning we are always doing for some purpose that we can't fully understand yet. I have dedicated myself to music and spreading goodwill, and I think having a mindset like that of helping others no matter what your job is will help to deal with angst. That's a very small thing, but I hope it helps. 

---- 

What have I been up to? 

Last week I only did pre-recorded shows for my senior facilities other than one online show. They are almost all on lockdown with their residents confined to their rooms. That is really hard on folks, so I'm trying to make shows that can be watched by individuals in their rooms on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. I hope it's making a difference to them. We do what we can. 

My Thursday online show was the first of two shows of Christmas and seasonal songs. It was so much fun! I love this music although I honestly am having difficulty getting in the Christmas spirit this year with COVID. The songs mean so much to me, and I am delivering them with all the sincerity I can, but the stirring in my soul is not happening as much this year. It's just hard not being with people in person for hugs and sharing Christmas cheer. I am trying though. 

My Sunday online show was more mellow and thoughtful - partly because of the requests that had been made, and partly because of my choice in what requests I played. We did some upbeat and crazy stuff too, but I reveled in the quiet and beautiful songs more than I usually do. 

---- 

What am I up to this week? 

I only have one online show for my seniors on Tuesday, and hopefully I can connect with some of my other facilities on lockdown and record some shows for them to use as they see fit. I haven't given up on the national facilities either, although I haven't done enough on that front yet.  

I am contemplating expanding my YouTube channel to do more videos featuring songs and tips. I have a feeling I won't be doing more than my online shows well into next summer since I am fairly healthy and probably will be in the last wave of vaccinations. Let me know if this is something you'd seek out and watch. I'd have to make time for this and improve some of my video equipment to do this ñ as well as doing some learning about better video production.  

Thursday 7-8:30 mountain time my online show will feature Christmas and season songs again. There are so many wonderful songs we didn't get to last week, and I honestly miss being able to perform them. I will probably record and add some Christmas songs to my public domain YouTube channel. Did you know I have a channel with over 130 songs public domain posted? Check it out - http://youtube.com/channel/UCLYdZkZ0isWlc9wv1QsKutQ/.  

Sunday 7-8:30 mountain time my online show will feature favorites and requests as always. I always say how much I look forward to these shows, and it's true. I spend a lot of time working on songs for these shows for days and weeks sometimes, and I love getting to share them with a little bit of encouragement and fun to folks who appreciate it. Come on by sometime. You're always welcome! 

---- 

What's on the horizon? 

I won't be doing a Thursday show on Christmas Eve since that is family time, although I will be singing at a service for Cuchara Chapel that evening at 5:00 mountain time. It's a non-denominational Christian Zoom service with a lot of music and stories that you are welcome to watch. Being that it's on Zoom you have to register to get the meeting number and password. Here's the link ñ https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAufumpqzwvHNLVHNN-i4D5lB77vXEKarmE. It's a one-off show so you won't get any more than the confirmation email from Zoom of the registration and a reminder email from Zoom the day of the service.  

I will be doing a New Year's Eve show since that falls on a Thursday, and I think it would be a lot of fun! That'll be the same time as our usual Thursday shows ñ 7-8:30 on my Facebook page and my website - facebook.com/tom.munch and tommunch.com/online-concerts.  

---- 

That's it for this week. We're plugging away trying to be safe and waiting for the vaccine. It has taken pretty good patience, and the worst is yet to come as we get into the dead of winter. Keep spreading the love and joy, folks, and don't let the angst grab you. There is too much to live for. 

Best always, 

Tom 

---- 

Details this week: 

Who:  Tom Munch  
What:  playing and singing an online concert of Christmas and season songs  
Where:  facebook.com/tom.munch and tommunch.com/online-concerts   
When:  Thursday, December 17, 7-8:30 pm mountain time  

Who:  Tom Munch  
What:  playing and singing an online concert of favorites and requests  
Where:  facebook.com/tom.munch and tommunch.com/online-concerts   
When:  Sunday, December 20, 7-8:30 pm mountain

Monday, December 7, 2020 - Christmas in COVID 

I'm contemplating Christmas this year. We're staying isolated through the holidays because of the virus, and without all the activities and interaction of the holidays it's more difficult to put myself in the spirit. I'd normally be doing loads of Christmas music at all my senior facilities and concerts ñ telling stories and letting the holiday spirit flow through me. I'm sort of put in mind what it must have been like for folks in previous centuries like pioneers and settlers who made Christmas at home with simple decorations and their own traditions of music, food and gifts. The hardest part is to let go of the worry that lingers with the virus and unrest so that the spirit can truly engulf you. I'm reminded that folks in similar circumstances have cherished Christmas in hard times ñ sometimes even more than not-so-hard times. It is a time of reflection on what is good in life as the days shorten ñ family, health, and love. Those are things we always value, but holidays bring them out even stronger. And Christmas brings a more spiritual and sacred aspect somehow even to those who are not religious. The story of the child and new birth couched in love and forgiveness can speak to us all of hope and reconciliation. I say it every year: let the spirit of this season permeate you and surround you in thoughts of love and generosity. We always have love to give. You just have to tap it and let it flow. 

---- 

What have I been up to? 

Last week I only had a couple senior facilities online again. It has been warm, but with the increased cases no one is wanting to have any music in person even at a distance, and that is a good idea. I'm still reaching out to my facilities with clever ways to provide music and encouragement to their residents. 

My Thursday show doing train songs was quite fun! There are so many songs about trains, and so many of them really capture the romance and reality of being around and on trains. We had a lively group of friends come out and enjoy the camaraderie and songs. 

My Sunday show was filled with new music to me, and I think the folks are always entertained and curious how I'll interpret a song in one genre or another. I love all kinds of music. It is so much fun to plug into a song and the emotions of the story and how it is received and what memories it brings about. Music is a thrilling thing all around. 

---- 

What am I up to this week? 

My Thursday online show 7-8:30 mountain time will be the first of two shows of Christmas music. I'll do one the next Thursday as well and then take off the Thursday that is Christmas Eve. I won't do a particular type of theme for this Christmas show, but I'll take some requests if folks have them. I have enough traditional and new Christmas music to fill probably eight shows, so we'll have some wonderful nights of music. Come on out and get in the spirit! 

Sunday night 7-8:30 I'll do favorites and requests again. I keep writing how much fun these shows are for both me and the listeners, but you really have to experience it to believe it. There is such genuine interaction and love between folks that it is truly a blessing to be involved in. I'm so fortunate to have the friends and supporters I have. I have a bunch of great songs I'm already working on. 

Again I'll remind you that I'll be doing a New Year's Eve show on the last Thursday of the month from 7-8:30 mountain time. That should be a fun online party, and you won't have to stay up 'til midnight to attend it! 

---- 

That's it for this week.  I hope you are doing well and are staying safe. I know that a few people in my group have caught COVID and are doing okay with it. We have also had folks with losses from the virus and other things in the last few weeks, and my heart goes out to them as I feel the pain of loss myself. The holidays can be a rough time on all of us, but a little love and cheer goes a long way. I'll keep giving it, and I hope you will too. 

Best, 

Tom 

--- 

Details this week:  

Who:  Tom Munch  
What:  playing and singing an online concert of Christmas songs  
Where:  facebook.com/tom.munch and tommunch.com/online-concerts   
When:  Thursday, December 10, 7-8:30 pm mountain time  

Who:  Tom Munch  
What:  playing and singing an online concert of favorites and requests  
Where:  facebook.com/tom.munch and tommunch.com/online-concerts   
When:  Sunday, December 13, 7-8:30 pm mountain

Monday, November 30, 2020 - Trains 

I'm doing a deep dive on train songs in preparation for my Thursday night show of train songs, and it has me thinking of all that trains represent in our history and mythology. I have no doubt that part of the reason we have so many songs about trains is because a train rolling down the rails has an infectious rhythm that many a musician has played along to. The whistle and horns were always musical too, which added to the audible appeal. Beyond that though, the railroad represented ingenuity and drive that is unparalleled in its thundering forward progress. And it represented the romantic notion of a fresh start and the excitement of a journey to far-away places. The whistle brought sorrow to those being left behind, and hope to those boarding for opportunity. And the jouney is the most universal appeal of a train, and it spills over into all modes of travel. That's why there are so many stories about journeys going all the way back to the Odyssey. And it's really about life. We always hear that the journey is the most meaningful thing in life. I believe it's why we're here - to experience the journey. So come along with me on this train journey for the romance, the thrill, and the love of life. 

---- 

What have I been up to? 

Last week I just had a few senior facilities, and one of them was even outside amazingly on Saturday. It was just barely warm enough for me to set up outside and play to an open door where a dozen or so residents sat with jackets and blankets enjoying the music. I love these folks, and it's so sad to see how lonely they are without all the normal interaction they've come to know. This virus can't end soon enough. 

Thursday's online Thanksgiving show was an interesting mix of Thanksgiving songs and songs about nature. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it was good to provide some family for so many friends - me included! 

Sunday's online show was an eclectic mix of songs that was so much fun. I keep thinking that these shows will not be as exciting as the virus weeks drag on, but every week seems to supersede the previous one in enthusiasm and goodwill all around. I look forward to them so much. 

---- 

What am I up to this week? 

Christmas is starting to appear on the horizon now that Thanksgiving has passed, and I will start to do Christmas songs bit by bit until we reach full Christmas spirit by the 25th. 

I just have a couple online senior facilities this week. I'm still considering pursuing some national facilities if the opportunity arises. 

Thursday 7-8:30 mountain time I'll be doing an online show of train songs as I mentioned above. This promises to be a really fun show with lots of engaging tunes. I hope you'll tune in. 

Sunday 7-8:30 mountain time is my online favorites and requests show. If you have any favorite tunes you'd like to hear please send them on.  

As a note, you can make comments on my website page for my online concerts now if you're tuned in there and not on Facebook. I'd love to hear from you if you're watching there. I know it's not as engaging as being part of the group on Facebook, but maybe we can change that if enough folks join in. 

---- 

That's all for this week. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and were careful. Again I say that this virus can't be over soon enough, so let's do our best to make it so. Love to everyone, and I hope your holiday season is starting out well. 

Best, 

Tom 

---- 

Details this week:  

Who:  Tom Munch  
What:  playing and singing an online concert of train songs  
Where:  facebook.com/tom.munch and tommunch.com/online-concerts   
When:  Thursday, December 6, 7-8:30 pm mountain time  

Who:  Tom Munch  
What:  playing and singing an online concert of favorites and requests  
Where:  facebook.com/tom.munch and tommunch.com/online-concerts   
When:  Sunday, December 9, 7-8:30 pm mountain

Monday, November 23, 2020 - Gratitude 

I wanted to explore the idea of gratitude this week as part of Thanksgiving. The spirit of understanding that we should respond to a gift or a blessing from someone else seems to be inherently understood - someone does something for you and in turn you feel an emotional response towards that person for thinking of you and giving to you. That seems like a transactional thankfulness - they give and you respond with thanks. The continual attitude of gratitude is a little bit different. To live in a state of gratitude seems to be dependent on your understanding of your existence and your belief that your life is a gift. Some believe that their life is a gift from God. Some believe that their life is a gift from a universal energy. Some believe that their life is a happenstance based on the development of our planet. All of these people can live in a state of gratitude with an understanding that their life is gift or at least a miracle that is worthy of thankfulness for existence. I believe that the attitude of gratitude is also the attitude of understanding our oneness with each other and the whole of the universe. It is a peace that spills out from knowing that everything is going to be okay and that we all have value in the ocean of being and love that we are all a part of. With that in mind, I am personally thankful for my family, my friends, my opportunities, my talents and gifts, and my path. It makes me want to give even more to all - especially those in need at this time of intentional thanksgiving. How about you? 

---- 

What have I been up to? 

Last week was a relatively good week considering all the angst and danger in our world. I did lose a musician friend, Tim Collver, to an illness at a young age. This year has seen too many deaths of friends I have gotten to share music with. None of them were from COVID. 

My senior facilities went well. I only am doing online shows with the virus being so bad in our area. 

My Thursday show was doing Beatles tunes, and it was a blast! Their songs have permeated my life to the point that they are truly part of me. I will do another night of Beatles songs as I know so many of their tunes - and so many people like them. 

Sunday night's show had some real high points with the great songs that folks requested. I pulled out a couple of my electric guitars to get a little different tone as well. 

---- 

What am I up to this week? 

I have a couple senior facilities online this week. I still haven't followed up on any national senior facilities. One of my activity directors had the idea of pre-recording a monthly show for each facility instead of doing a live show. Since they have to keep their residents isolated and can't broadcast to more than a few at a time, it is a clever idea to allow them access to a show that they can stream on-demand to smaller groups or even individuals on a laptop or iPad. I guess there are some yoga instructors and other senior facility vendors that do something like this. It's a good idea, and although I've put up some concerts on DropBox that I have offered my facilities access to, it didn't occur to me that I could give them a private folder that I could post new shows to monthly just like I would normally perform them monthly online or in person. I will follow up on that. 

Thursday 7-8:30 mountain time I will do an online show even though it is Thanksgiving. I asked my audience if they would like a show since it falls on a holiday, and the majority really thought it would be something special. My show will feature Thanksgiving songs and nature songs. One of my listeners had the idea of featuring nature since it gives some of the same comfort as being with family. It's a great idea, and I hope you'll tune in if you'd like a little entertainment and community that night - especially if you're isolating as the CDC is encouraging us to do. 

Sunday 7-8:30 mountain time my online show will feature favorites and requests as always. Some of these weeks the requests really show a variety of genres and songs, and there really is something for everyone's taste. Please tune in if you can. In addition I just realized that if you're tuning in on my website instead of Facebook you can make comments on the video. This is great! Please visit and try it out. 

---- 

That's it for this week. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and that you'll be safe and experience the spirit of gratitude. 

Best always, 

Tom 

---- 

Details this week:  

Who:  Tom Munch  
What:  playing and singing an online concert of Thanksgiving and nature songs  
Where:  facebook.com/tom.munch and tommunch.com/online-concerts   
When:  Thursday, November 26, 7-8:30 pm mountain time  

Who:  Tom Munch  
What:  playing and singing an online concert of favorites and requests  
Where:  facebook.com/tom.munch and tommunch.com/online-concerts   
When:  Sunday, November 29, 7-8:30 pm mountain

More entries at my Blogger page - http://tommunch.blogspot.com/