#NieldsXVII Story Contest : Week 16

It’s impossible to believe it has been 16 weeks! This week’s question was about travel, and we’re pretty happy with the winner. It was a broad question and we got a wide open answer. Thanks to those who took part, and we’ll see you for our final question of this incredible 17-week run on Monday.

Week 16 Question: What’s the greatest benefit of traveling?

Travel breaks you out of your “home” mindset. If things are getting stale or you’re feeling exhausted, travel provides a distance from your regular routine that gives you perspective. It opens you up to new experiences and new ways of thinking about things.

If it’s a vacation, you’re recharged. But even if it’s a business trip you’re getting that new perspective that can only strengthen your understanding of things. It’s not just about getting away for me (although who doesn’t love to bobble in the surf on a beach somewhere?). It’s about how great things feel when you return home.


#NieldsXVII Story Contest : Week 15

We had a broad question for this week. We were looking for cool ideas and maybe too, things to add to our reading/watching/listening list. The winning answer is a thinker, and we like that. Thanks to everyone who took part and see you on Monday with a new question!

Week 15 Question: Which inspires you most books, movies, visual art, or music?  Why?

I’ve never really thought about what inspires me.  I guess I’m much more reactive to inspiration – I am inspired by what inspires me.  

If I had to rank the four media in this question, I think I have drawn the least inspiration from visual art and books, simply because they only engage one of my senses.  That’s not to say that the inspiration is less qualitative from books or art, just less quantitative.  Movies and music both employ more than one sensory input at a time, so they have inspired me more often.  

If I had to narrow it down further, music has inspired me the most for a couple reasons.  First, songs are shorter than movies (or books) and can be taken in with greater frequency.  Second, the music (melody and harmony) engages my mind on one level, while the words of a song engage my mind on a different level.  So, in case this is sounding too much like the engineer that I am, let me leave it at this – music appeals to both my heart and my mind, and it’s in this juxtaposition that I find the most inspiration.


#NieldsXVII Story Contest : Week 14

We really dialed down and got specific this week with our question. There’s nothing like a long winter to get you excited for outdoor concerts though. The winner’s story follows. This has been a great run on stories and we’ll see you again on Monday!

Week 14 Question: What’s your favorite music festival? Why? Are you more Woodstock or Lollapalooza?

Neither! Falcon Ridge and here’s why.

Falcon Ridge is home. It is a bridge between parts of myself. I started going to Falcon Ridge with a group of college friends…it was a summer reunion and time of reconnection. More than 10 years later though, I return to Falcon Ridge each summer for the people I met there..and the community I have forged on that hill and in those fields. These people changed my life, changed the way I looked at myself, changed the way I see myself in this world. They’ve made me laugh and cry. I’ve traveled with them, skied with them, climbed mountains with them, swam in the ocean with them, watched basketball with them. They’ve told their stories and listened to mine. They are some of my favorite and most treasured people. It *is* The Sweetness.


#NieldsXVII Story Contest : Week 13

This week’s question was a little out there, and we weren’t disappointed with the responses. The winning answer was both fun and thoughtful. It made us think a little of that line of Shakespeare’s, about music being the food of love. Thanks to the winner and everyone who participated this week. We’ll see you again on Monday!

Week 13 : Question: Can Music save your mortal soul?  Tell us how!

The Story:
(Quickly dons philospher/guru clothes)

I’m glad you asked me that. Setting aside the question of the mortality/immortality of the soul – for if it is the latter, how can you save something that cannot be lost – let’s look around. No, really. The treasures of life are all around, the scars that have elevated you and those that have endangered you. Not all these treasures are material goods; you have to imagine the others. Think about them, and listen to the sound of your thought. There’s music there, either the music made within your own soul or music given as a gift by others.

Music is the straw you clutch at, and the foundation you build your home on. It is for the times when the grave is full, the bed half-empty, or when gravity seems a foolish idea as your soul soars far into joy. Why do houses of worship ring with song? Why do we sing to babies? Music from without can save your soul when the music within fails you, but both are always there. The opposite of music is not silence, it is death. The soul has music like the body has blood or bone or sinew. It is essential.
I think that answers your question.


#NieldsXVII Story Contest : Week 12

We opened this week’s question up a bit and got a lot of interesting responses. It was hard to pick just one, but we managed. We say it each week, but it really is great to read each story. Keep them coming. We’ll see you again on Monday.


Week 12 Question: What was your favorite musical moment and why?

This is a hard question for me to answer, as I have so many “favorite” musical moments.  Most of those moments are individual moments (when I was able to figure out how to play Moon River on my trumpet, the first time I saw an orchestra perform at the Calumet Theater, when I met Isaac Stern and Itzhak Perlman after their performance at Hill Auditorium, the first time I saw The Nields at The Ark, etc.).  To me, those moments are personal, where my enjoyment of them may have had a lasting impact on me alone.

But I am not a solitary being.  I enjoy being part of a community, so for that reason I have to say that my favorite musical moment was the first time I went to the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival.  I had heard so much about the festival from the people on the Nields Nook.  After 5 years of hearing what a fantastic experience it was, I vowed that in 2003, I was not going to be part of the NAFR (not at Falcon Ridge) group.  It was amazing – seeing and hearing all of the great performances, being introduced to performers who I had never heard of, and meeting people face to face who I had only known via e-mail.  I felt like I was home.