Joe Holt's Notes Newsletter
September 2008
vol 4 no 9 
                  "Supreme" insight
"Jazz musicians communicate with each other and listen to each other in an effort to create a good final product. That is exactly the process that all of us should employ in legislative bodies and in gatherings to resolve important public issues. It is jazz that points the way" - Sandra Day O'Connor
Interesting, don't you think? Communication, conversation, and connection. This is where my mind has been travelling lately. Even as a soloist, one ought to  "listen" first. Always so much to learn, there is (did Yoda say that?).
The events of the coming months almost feel like a transition, but to what? Perhaps all I need to know, at this point, is to keep listening. I think it's also called "walking by faith...". Here is some of what I "know" today...
Featured Performances
FRIDAY - SUNDAY 9/19,20,21, 9/26,27,28,10/3,4,5 The Church Hill (Md) Theatre presents "Once On This Island", Directed by Steven Arnold. Joe serves as Musical Director
 This gem of a production is a must see! Combined with a strong cast (especially considering that's it's community theatre) and orchestra, it's an rare opportunity to see and hear this moving and infectious score and performance. Reserve early.  
TUESDAY 9/23: 7pm
Solo piano entertainment concert - featuring jazz and popular standards, at the Philadelphia Protestant Home , Philadelphia, Pa for info (215)697-8564
Joe has performed in concert for the Phila. Protestant Home retirement residents and surrounding community every other month since 1994 (over 80 performances)! This event is like one big family, where Joe shares personal and family stories, and presents a solo piano concert. Unique among Joe's "venues", this program is an opportunity to enjoy a warm and friendly evening.
THURSDAY thru SUNDAY, 10/16-19
Joe performs with the Midiri Brothers Sextet and Trio, and solo piano at the Sun Valley Jazz Festival, Sun Valley, Idaho.
The beautiful Sun Valley Resort hosts one of America's premier festivals. The Midiri Brothers Band performs along with top circuit groups and musicians - and the festival experience is one of a kind
SUNDAY 10/26: 6pm
Joe performs in concert at the Hollywood, MD Church of the Nazerene

Christian hymns and songs, as well as piano improvisations and jazz standards are featured in this integrated presentation. Joe shares, and performs from the heart 
FRIDAY 11/14/08: 8pm  
Joe performs in concert;  "An Evening of Piano Improvisation" at the Prince Theatre, Chestertown, Md
Joe returns to the Prince Theatre, this time with the stage to himself. An evening of solo piano; from classical themes to popular standards to contemporary melodies (and a surprise or two) - all improvised. Of Joe's solo piano performances; reviewers, musical colleagues, and fans agree: "Joe is fun to listen to. He's even more fun to watch." "Joe Holt is Mr. Happy. The joy when he plays is boundless and infectious" "Joe touches lives wherever he goes" "When you listen to Joe, listen with your heart" Come, and share in the experience.      
TUESDAY 12/2: 2pm
Joe presents "The Night Before Christmas", at the Downs Cultural Center, Wilmington, De
Joe returns to the Downs Center for a fun solo piano performance built around the famous poem by Clement Clarke Moore. Downs center performances are open to the public, with no admission charge. Reservations are requested. (302)-575-0250 x2244  
SUNDAY 1/11/09: 5pm
Joe performs with featured artists Sue Matthews - vocalist and E. Shawn Qaissaunee - guitar, with Tom Anthony - bass, for jazz vespers at Newark (DE) First Church of the Nazarene.
This service "kicks off" the 2009 jazz vespers series at First Church with Sue's strong, dynamic vocal presence, Shawn's creative originality, and Tom and I ''holding down the fort". These services are a welcoming, encouraging, and "non-threatening" window to the presence and work of God in the creative arts. Plan to attend.
Joe performs with the Midiri Brothers Sextet at the Juave Jazz Festival, Decatur, IL
 The Midiri Brothers return to Decatur, and a growing midwest audience. Joe also makes a guest appearance with ... (tentitively scheduled - stay tuned for conformation announcement). 
SUNDAY 2/8: 5pm
Joe performs with featured artists Harry Salotti and Rosemary Benson, with Paul Midiri vibes/drums for Jazz Vespers at Newark (De) First Church of the Nazarene
Harry Salotti brings jazz tuba to the vespers experience. Together with Rosemary; a top notch vocalist with reams of professional experience, they present selections from their award winning CD: "Full Swing Ahead". Paul Midiri and Joe join in the effort. Another Jazz vespers service not to be missed. A comfortable atmosphere and a unique experience.  

see the full schedule
Other Opportunities
This is an unusual month - an opportunity for me to actually take a (brief) vacation with my family. Also the opening of the musical mid-month. Leaves little time or opportunity for other engagements beyond the "featured performances" this month. One, however, just snuck in: A solo piano concert at Heron Point, in Chestertown, Md.    check out the schedule
From the Comment Box
"Were you born on a piano bench? Sounds like that's exactly where you belong."
"This never loses it's beauty,,,GB you Joe Holt,,,you are truly an inspiration."
"Oh my, Joe! Have listened to you play this several times...never tire of listening to anything you have on here,,,Perfection!"  

"Beautiful interpretation Joe. I wanna be a exellent pianist like you... touch my soul..."
"In my opinion, the true mark of a "musician" or "artist" is one who indelibly leaves his mark on anything he does. You, my friend Joe, have unquestionably done so. This performance is so classic Joe Holt! You have such a wonderful, characteristic style of playing, obviously inspired, and drawing from all that you know, feel and have experienced up until the exact moment a note is struck. Musician-artist you are indeed."

September features:
Featured YouTube video -
Featured YouTube video playlist -
Watch for new posts of hymns and Christian songs on Joe's new  GodTube channel
The "Joe Holt's Notes on the Radio" archive will be limited to (roughly) 6 months, beginning in October. Check out the "ancient" shows while you still can! 
Once On This Island opens on Friday Sept 19 at 8pm, and runs 3 performances/3 weekends (9 shows) at the Church Hill (MD) Theatre. Joe serves as musical director. A must see! Reserve early.
Jazz Vespers services for 2009 are now scheduled for January through April at the Newark (De) First Church of the Nazarene. Stay in touch with the schedule for information. 
From the Journal
Saturday 8/30/08 
Vocalist Rod Dixon observes: "When it's all over and they go home, the people don't remember what you sang (played), they do remember how you made them feel". This parallels my experience, and two recent comments from seniors (in my music therapy work) come to mind:
Around the corner, and out of view, I overheard a nursing home resident being asked if she enjoyed the (my piano music) program. She was enthusiastic in stating her pleasure in having attended, and that she enjoyed herself, while adding "I don't remember what he did". Look at this beyond the (potential) obvious, and Rod's words ring true. Another resident, as she thanked me for the presentation added "It made me think of someone else beside myself". This instructs me that it isn't (just) about the notes, and the end game is not about what you hear with your ears. The words or the notes direct us to a destination; where we have the opportunity to "get it". This broadens my awareness to see that I am, at times, too concerned about the notes I play, and what others may think (as I become stuck "within myself"). At these moments (which I just observed in myself while watching a recent gig on video), I'm "speaking" more than "listening". The common/surface presumption is to move forward (according to my ordering) when the real deep power is to move in "reverse". The spiritual connection, rooted in love, will lead to the pure expression that originates from God. People will call this "emotion" or "conviction" as it is expressed. It is the communication of the "soul", or the "renewed mind". Ultimately, it's not (about) me, or up to me to connect with others through music. This is the work of God, to which we succumb (rather than attain), and through which we are blessed.
 Lessons For the Thoughtful Pianist 
 The following is excerpted from Joe's original series: Lesson 14 - "Stand and
I wonder if piano technique is something like theology. Some of us have a thorough training, others, little or none. There are differing "schools" and approaches, each with zealots who promote the superiority of their approach, while often (and willfully) remaining (at least somewhat) uninformed about someone else's ideas. One's ego is threatened when another challenges their notions. We are quick to inform others about that to which we have been enlightened. I suppose it's human nature. No, I know it is. Don't get me wrong, I certainly believe there are correct and incorrect opinions one can have. Except, perhaps, for piano technique. I would not be willing to consider that the "school" of piano technique in which I was trained is necessary for the well being of every pianist; that everyone must do it or be considered lacking something. The piano is a manufactured beast, and a relatively modern one at that. Systems and approaches are tried and retried, come and go. I am reluctant, therefore, to pursue an agenda with regard to your school or understanding of piano technique. Truth is, I am not a theologian in the realm of piano technique, although I have been trained. My ideas regarding playing the piano and making music - all of them, really - are simple. With each lesson of the "Notes", I hope that the simple concept at the core will empower your playing (as it does mine) as you allow the idea to work it's way into your process. So it is here. In my training, I have learned something important about what it means for a finger to cause a piano key to go down. It can help you too...
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At the great Connecticut Jazz festival this summer - with the Midiri Band
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Blessings and awareness,