A Soundtrack for Our Songbird Tori

May Tori's memory live on with us through the music she loved to sing.

May Tori’s memory live on with us through the music she loved to sing.

In preparation to formally celebrate the life of my dear college friend Victoria Martin, I thought it only fitting to share a piece of the soundtrack of her life. For those of us who were blessed to bear witness to her vocal gymnastics, it was such a treat to hear Tori express herself musically. She loved R&B, jazz, the Blues and standards, but we know there was nothing standard about our little songbird.

While studying at The University of Virginia she was a member of the all-female a cappella group, The Virginia Belles. Some of the following songs she performed with the Belles, and all of the others are tunes that will always remind me of her light, radiance and spirit for life. I hope you enjoy the selections. I know you will enjoy them even more if you close your eyes and envision Tori’s rendition of each one.

  1. Never Stop – Brand New Heavies
  2. Loving You – Minnie Riperton
  3. Roam – The B52’s
  4. Birdland – The Manhattan Transfer
  5. When Sunny Gets Blue – Johnny Mathis
  6. God Bless the Child – Billie Holiday
  7. Summertime – Ella Fitzgerald
  8. Free – Deniece Williams
  9. Mary – Take 6
  10. Do You Know Where You’re Going To – Diana Ross
  11. Groove is in the Heart – Deee-Lite
  12. Affair – Cherrelle
  13. Hip Hop Junkies – Nice & Smooth
  14. Get Away Jordan – Take 6
  15. Come and Talk to Me – Jodeci
  16. Vision of Love – Mariah Carey
  17. Hold On – En Vogue
  18. My Funny Valentine – Ella Fitzgerald
  19. Tomorrow (A Better You, Better Me) – Tevin Campbell & Quincy Jones
  20. Home – Stephanie Mills

Come Sit a Spell [89/365]

This is a tribute bench for my mother.  She loved nature.  She loved to garden.  She loved to take my brothers and me to Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD when we were toddlers.  Several months ago I ordered this bench and I was happy to hear today that the bench installation was done.  Since Mommy is still living with severe dementia I find it apropos that the words “Memory of” are slightly faded.  For those of you who know Brookside Gardens, come by the Gude Garden near the Japanese Tea House and see the bench for yourself.  I now have a new favorite place to go read and be still with nature.

*Oh snap! A photo a day for 365 days. My 365Project – A daily digital diary.*

Marrrrrcuuuuusssss Darling! [81/365]

I found this contact sheet in one of the press release drawers when I worked at the Washington, D.C. CBS affiliate in the mid-90s.  There were no markings as to who took these photos of Eartha Kitt but how cool is it to see her in this light.  From her hit recordings of “C’est Si Bon” and “Santa Baby” to playing the role of Catwoman, I cannot help but think of her as Lady Eloise in Boomerang – rolling her Rs and announcing that she wasn’t wearing any panties.  Classic.

*Oh snap! A photo a day for 365 days. My 365Project – A daily digital diary.*

More Than Just Rhymes

Poet Maya Angelou has shared her brilliance through her words for decades.  On an episode of Oprah’s Master Class Dr. Angelou dropped some knowledge that we could all take to heart.  There was no iambic pentameter or sonnets recited.  She simply spoke of her own life lessons; prescriptions worth taking.  Digest:  

  • When someone tells you “I am selfish, I am mean, I am unkind” believe them.  When people show you who they are believe them.
  • “Potential” isn’t a quality, it’s a fantasy.  Erase it from your Life Partner List of pros and cons.
  • All secrets are control strategies.  If someone’s keeping secrets from you, you’re being controlled and that’s not love.
  • Don’t have mud on your wings.  Don’t let bad energy block your fullest highest expression of yourself.
  • Look for the experience, not the feeling.  Look for the experience, not the excitement.  Love doesn’t have to fix you or change you.
  • Do not let yourself be surrounded by people who will peck you to death.
  • Don’t let the past hold you hostage.  Forgiving is giving up the hope that the past could be ay different.