Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

Anthony Johnson Showalter was an American gospel music composer best known for the song “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms”, which was published in 1887. He wrote the music and chorus, and Elisha A. Hoffman wrote the verses. The song features prominently in the score of Night of the Hunter and forms about a quarter of the score of the 2010 film True Grit.
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Elisha Albright (E. A.) Hoffman was a Presbyterian minister, composer of over 2,000 hymns, and editor of over 50 song books.  The son of an Evangelical minister, Hoffman grew up singing sacred hymns both in church and in the home with his parents.  After completing high school, Hoffman furthered his education at Union Seminary in New Berlin, Pennsylvania, and was subsequently ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1868.

I heard Allan Jackson sing this hymn at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.   I have had this tune in my head ever since that time and this is what I came up with.

 

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In The Garden

 

Charles Miles attended the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and the University of Pennsylvania. In 1892, he abandoned his career as a pharmacist and wrote his first Gospel song, “List ’Tis Je­sus’ Voice” which was published by the Hall-Mack Company. He served as editor and manager at the Hall-Mack publishers for 37 years.  In his own words: “It is as a writer of gospel songs I am proud to be known, for in that way I may be of the most use to my Master, whom I serve willingly although not as efficiently as is my desire.”

According to Miles’ great-granddaughter, the song “In The Garden” was written in a cold, dreary and leaky basement in Pitman, New Jersey that didn’t even have a window in it let alone a view of a garden.  This hymn was first published in 1912 and popularized during the Billy Sunday evangelistic campaigns of the early twentieth century by two members of his staff, Homer Rodeheaver and Virginia Asher.

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Here is my arrangement of this lovely hymn – enjoy.

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Solstice Halloween – Past years

These are some of the past Halloween years at Solstice in Nevada City, CA.  They dress up during the last two weeks in October.  This is the best place in northern California to get a fantastic costume any time of the year at a very reasonable price.  If you are in or near the area come and join the fun.  The address is Solstice, 104 north Pine st., Nevada City, Ca.

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Parker/Fogerty History

I recently found on Facebook the William A. Wilson Intermediate school site.  It is now an adult ed school so I was surprised to find it.  I joined because I taught there 1970-75.  Some ex-students are asking about what happened to me and in particular if I once played with the Creedence Clearwater Revival band so I thought that this family website would be a good avenue to explain my history with the group.  The paragraphs below along with some pictures should clear up my connection with the group in the past.

I attended El Cerrito high school 1957-1960.  El Cerrito is a city north of Berkeley,Ca. with Albany in between.  I was always involved in music and was in choirs all years in kindergarden, jr. high, & high school.  I was a singer mostly and played around with the ukulele, upright bass, & guitar.  In the summer of 1957, my best friend, Ron Fenolio, who lived across the street brought over a vinyl record and played it for me to listen to.  The musician was a fellow named Joe “Fingers” Carr.  Ron and I were starting high school as sophomores at that time and when I heard this record I immediately said, “I have to learn to play the piano”.  I got the record and in a few weeks was playing the “12th Street rag”.  Hearing Joe “Fingers” Carr play was such an inspiration to me.  He also played boogie woogie on the record and it was not long that I was playing boogie woogie also.

I would play in the choir room at lunch for whoever wanted to listen.  Anyhow, Gail Skinner sang in the choir and her boyfriend from Saint Mary’s high school in Albany was Tom Fogerty.  She was a friend of mine and introduced me to Tom.

1958 EDHS Acappella Choir - Gail Skinner (middle) George Parker (upper right)

1957-58 EDHS Acappella Choir (partial) – Gail Skinner (middle) George Parker (upper right)

Tom and I soon became friends and he and his younger brother John came up to my house after school a few times and we would jam.  They played at school assemblies and I got to join them a couple of times playing the piano.  When Tom graduated from Saint Mary’s in 1959 he got a job at Regal gas station in Berkeley.  He continued to date Gail and they eventually got married and had a family.

Young Gail and Tom now married

Young Gail and Tom now married celebrating CCR’s first album (on lap) in 1968

He was well liked by Al Peterson the manager there at the gas station so he basically got John and myself jobs there also.  In the fall of 1963 I went to San Jose State University and did not see them much but I stayed somewhat connected because Tom would go up and visit my mom who would relay to me what they were doing.  TomFogerty1964SSShe was quite musical and had written many songs.  Tom had a close connection with her because she had tried to make it in music also for many years but with very little success but Tom was young and very passionate about his ability to make it big.  She, of course, was very supportive of his passion and energy.  In 1968, a couple of years after I graduated from San Jose State, they hit it big on “Susie Q”.  It was on their first CCR album (above).  I visited them once at there little home in El Cerrito and they showed me there gold or platinum record on the wall.

I started teaching at William A. Wilson intermediate school in the fall of 1970.  I was still playing the piano daily and got the idea to teach a summer school class on how to form and keep together a garage band.  On Easter of 1971, I went up to Tom’s huge home in Grizzly Peak (Berkeley Hills) and talked to him about coming down to be a guest lecturer for the class.  He was not at all interested in coming down to the school.  It made me angry so when I left it was not in the best of terms.  He did not tell me at the time but I since found out that he had been disgruntled with his position in CCR and had actually left the group a few months earlier.  Tom was a great guy and was really the impetus that pushed the group to stardom.  Countless times he said to me “George, we are going to make it big and you should come and sit in with us”  I’ve always felt bad that I never knew the truth of what he was going through in March of 1971 and I never saw any of them again after that.  He was interviewed when he branched out and he can be seen on youtube.  I must say as a musician, that, though Tom was the pushing force at the beginning, John had a very special talent with the guitar.  I had played with many different guitarists but I could see that John was in a class all of his own even at the young age when I had the opportunity to play with him.  Anyhow, I had a close personal connection with Tom Fogerty and enjoyed a temporary but close musical connection with a young John.  And the three of us enjoyed a part-time working relationship at the gas station also.  I never knew the other two guys in the group:  Stu Cook (bassist) and Doug Clifford (drummer) (both in the class of 1964).  I was a good friend of George Clifford, Doug’s brother, who was in my class (1960).  John was in the class of 1963.JohnFogertyCommEntertainECHS1963SSJohnFogertySeniorPic1963ECHSSSAs I said, Tom was married to Gail Skinner but I lost track of them both.  In 1980, I heard that Tom was getting married again but I have no idea what happened to Gail.  I do know that they had children.  Some years ago, I was taking to a mutual high school friend, Skip Kelly, and he said that Tom’s wife had a freak accident at their home pool and was paralyzed.  I could never find out the truth of his statement and he has since died.  I have been searching the internet regarding Gail but have never found anything about her.

Tom had a back problem and had many surgeries.  He moved to Arizona and received many transfusions during back surgeries and contracted AIDS from one of the blood transfusions.  He died from AIDS in 1990 at the age of 48.  If any of you are interested in hearing the full story of CCR by John, Stu, & Doug you can click on this link:  http://www.uncut.co.uk/features/creedence-clearwater-revival-the-full-story-by-john-fogerty-stu-cook-and-doug-clifford-6563

Many people have asked me if I ever regretted not being a part of CCR.  First off, they had such a wonderful and simple sound without a piano and I don’t think that my talent on the piano would have fit into their scheme of things.  And secondly, I have had such a wonderful 33 years of teaching teenage kids.  My last 23 years were at Ponderosa High School in Shingle Springs, Ca.  I had an fantastic electronic shop where I taught high school, ROP, & some college students electronic technology.  The students were great there and I enjoyed teaching until the last minute of the last day that I retired in 2003.  Even though my mom said that I came out of the womb singing, and certainly God has given me and my mother an unbelievable ear for music, I am so satisfied about the direction that I was taken for a career and would not change a thing.  I have had the opportunity to be a part of students’ life decisions and have watched many become successful.  I would not trade that for any amount of fame or money.

I did have students, teachers, & administrators in bands every year.  We would play as many as 3 to 10 gigs a year for assemblies in our school, other schools, Apple Hill events, Rotary, Elks, secretary nights, etc.  But our biggest gig was 2 years in a row at the Tahoe Hyatt Regency in there main ballroom for the statewide administrators conference.  We were not that good but we had a great deal of fun with the large audiences.  It was a 2-day event and though they really liked us, I think it became too costly for them because they would put us and the families up at the hotel.  We had roadies (some of my students) because I built a sound studio in the corner of my shop and taught sound recording techniques the last 10-15 years of my stint.  It was a great way to train them in a real live performance and we the musicians got the benefit of them setting up and running the sound for all of our gigs.  It was such a great time for all of us.

Now that I have retired from teaching I spend many hours playing the piano and have a make-shift sound studio in one of our bedrooms here at our home in Apple Hill.  I play wherever some one wants me (currently retirement complexes) and have made CD’s that I give to friends and family.  You can hear some of my songs by looking through past blogs on this site.  I have some pretty sophisticated recording programs and sound generators that I use.  My system is MAC operating.  As of 7 years ago I go to a jazz camp every year where I am put into a band and we are taught by the greatest professionals and then do a performance at the end of the week.  You can see what I am talking about with pictures and videos of these outstanding professional musicians performing.  They are in past blogs on this site.

Thoroughly Modern Millie/SLVHS Performing Arts Center

Hi All:

A few months ago in March, Judy and I stayed with my cousin, Carol Perkins, at her home in Boulder Creek, CA. (Santa Cruz Mountains)

 

Carol, Miranda. & Susan

Carol, Miranda. & Susan

As always we had a great time with her and Buddy (her best friend – Dog).  The highlight of the trip was going to see her granddaughter, Miranda, perform in a musical at her high school.  It was the last night of the show on a Saturday evening.  We had a great dinner at a local restaurant and then went to the show.

Wow!!   What a treat.   It was an enjoyable evening watching this group of talented actors sing and dance to the audience’s joy and amazement.  The main character, Millie, was played by Miranda Robinson – she is really talented folks!.  We met her mother, Susan Robinson  (Carol’s daughter) in the parking lot there.  She saved seats for us and I immediately brought our the camera.  The pictures and video are from that camera taken by a guy who shakes.  Most of the pictures came out OK but holding the camera still during the exciting performance was a challenge.

“Millie” was the christening show in the, just finished, San Lorenzo Valley High School performing arts center in Felton, CA..  This school has a phenomenal performing arts program as you can witness by watching the video.  They, evidently, do three different high school performances a year.

Where to buy tickets in the future:       http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1303520

As a former high school teacher it makes my heart sing to watch the enjoyment and fun that these students are having together.  Accomplishment and success build steps for a productive adult life.  It was a fantastic job by everyone involved in this production!!!

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Sacramento Traditional Jazz Camp – 2015

Once again I was blessed to go to the camp and continue to learn how to play in a Trad Jazz Band.

Our Band this Year

Our Band this Year (back L/R) – Don Risser (Trumpet), Fran Ferrance (Trumpet), Terry Myers (Professor/leader), Richard Downey (Clarinet), Dave Graves (Trombone), & Gerry Turner (Bass)  –  (bottom L/R) – Jim Henderson (Drums), & Dave Stare (Banjo).

Nothing beats this experience to help increase one’s ability to improvise on the fly.  Here are some pictures and a video of the professors modeling the art of playing with a team of musicians.  Enjoy!!

 

Another picture with me in back

Another picture with me in back.

 

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Anita Thomas teaching a jam session

Anita Thomas teaching a jam session