Meeting Up with Cindy’s group

Last Tuesday was very special for me.  I met with some ten hobbyist organists who were ready for another dose of Volare input.  For those of you not aware of what I’m referring to, Volare is my teaching program designed for amateur organs and keyboard players.  I explain the premise of the course on my web site,  One of my biggest proponents in this effort is a woman associated with the music industry by the name of Cindy Soriano.  It is through her efforts and encouragement that this week’s event took place.

It seems that there are some folks out there that consider even elementary bits of information inspiring.  They crave the acquisition of musical skills on an ongoing basis.  This is a good thing!  After all, learning music is a never-ending sport, right?  So we all convened and discussed the importance of building beautiful and logical medleys of tunes.  The first question asked of me by Marjorie had to do with my opinion about the length of an average medley of songs.  I shared this anecdotal story:

A number of years ago, a friend of mine accompanied me to a concert given by an artist whom we both knew.  It was quite enjoyable but lengthy…to say the very least.  I recall the plan for the artist’s musical arrangement.  She announced her medley to be a “musical journey across the great United States of America”.  And it was!  The medley started with a melody reminiscent of San Francisco and was to end in up in New York….a wonderful concept.  The only problem was that after almost one hour, the audience we still in Kansas City!  The moral of the story was that too much of a good thing can turn out to be counterproductive after a while.

So, I guess the moral of my story for you players out there is to keep your songs combinations entertaining, yet succinct.  In my opinion, a maximum of five tunes is sufficient for any medley content.  It can be fun to plan out these things but please pay respect to those who are the listeners.  My analogy is that as wonderful as premium chocolate ice cream is, too much of it can make you feel a bit uncomfortable after awhile.

Look for the March Song of the Month to be posted in a week or so.  Last month’s winner, Lois Phagan from Florida solved the dilemma of identifying the melody.  It turned out to be a tough one to solve…..sorry about that.  But please remember that each song posted on my web site has pertinence to the month itself.  I’ll give you one clue to the correct answer of the upcoming song……it definitely WON’T be a march.

Of course, as always, if you are interested in pipe organ, theatre organ or home organ, please feel free to visit my website at and see whats going on with Volare and Pearl.




posted by Ric Overton of


“Longer Days…..Hooray!

“Longer Days…..Hooray!
I’ve never really been a morning person, that is until about five years ago.  I don’t know what happened but I found myself rising earlier and earlier all of a sudden.  I guess the key is to curtail late night television watching.  I finally realized that staying up until 3:00 A.M., fighting sleep (and sometimes caving in to the temptation), was sort of stupid.  Most of the time I didn’t even recall what I had been watching the night before.
So this morning when I first began to wake up about 5:30, I realized the days were becoming longer again!  I like this!  Most of the time, I ly in bed for a few minutes planning my day’s strategy.  Seems like the minute I get up, the real world sets in complete with its obligations and distractions.  Strangely enough, even the animals acclimate to the change.  My golden retriever was up and ready to go when I was as were the birds.  There’s one large crow that noisily pecks at the skylight in our living room every morning.  Hope he doesn’t break it…it’s tough to sue a bird for damages.
So today’s plan is to complete the details of an abbreviated Volare course which I am presenting this Tuesday.  If you recall, Volare is my learning seminar that shows amateur keyboard players some of the secrets to musical success.  You can read more about this on my web site  There’s lots of things that are not really that difficult to incorporate into your playing…if you know how to do it.  I’ve been asked to talk a bit about techniques in creating medleys.  Great subject.  Apparently each one of these musicians have a few tunes they’ve learned to play but have no conduit to connect them into medley form.  A few of the ideas we’ll be discussing have to do with chord transformations, chromatic fill-ins, rhythm introductions, etc.  Some of this type of thing comes naturally to me….or maybe I just listen to a lot to various styles of music throughout the day….jazz, theatre organ, show tunes, whatever.  Once in a while I find myself inserting a musical passage into an arrangement that I know came from somewhere in my subliminal mind.  After all, we know the brain is an incredible storage house of information.  The challenge is to retrieve the file in our head that completes our current demand.  In music, that data could be anything from Sinatra-esque phrasing to a country banjo riff.  If we’ve heard it, it’s up in there somewhere.  The trick is to extract it to use it in one’s own playing.
I’ll be talking to you more soon and thanks for reading my weekly blog.  I certainly enjoy generating it.”
In the meantime please take a look at this newest video  and also feel free to visit my website at and see whats going on in the world of Pipe Organ, Theatre Organ and Home Organ.    Until Next Time……………
posted by Ric Overton of

Learning from my Dog

It seems that having a few weeks to strategize and prepare for activities looming in the next months is a welcome relief.  I sometimes get so caught up with the demands of my career as well as my personal life that I lose perspective of priorities.  For example, my dog responsibilities.

Here we have, of course, the best dog in the world…..ever.  She’s smart, kind, obedient and loving.  In fact, if I were able to turn her into a male human, we’d be a perfect match.  Being eight-years-old, I noticed a slow down beginning about six months ago.  She just wasn’t her old self, but then I thought, well neither am I.  Seriously, I decided to have her checked out at the vet’s office.  Through a blood test, I found out she was suffering from a lack of thyroid activity…it was too low!  I felt so badly about not picking up on this sooner but was delighted the diagnosis was treatable.  She was put on a regiment of taking a daily supplement.

So fast-forwarding to now (about a month later) and I have a puppy again!  Not actually, but she is more agile, requires less sleep, her eyes sparkle again, she’s lost eight pounds and is running around playing with dog toys.  All this because of a gland being provoked by a small pill given twice a day.  Oh, if everything in life was this uncomplicated!  It struck me that her transition from listlessness to elation was attributed to one pursuit …taking action to fix the problem.

I guess the analogy of the story is this:  at times, we all lose sight of the need for adjustment, sometime simple, that can enhance one’s quality of life and make us happier.  I’m not only talking about physical changes but emotional ones as well.  Those of you who have chosen to pursue music on a hobbyist level have experienced this.  It truly evolves to be your “best friend”, always there for you when you feel a little blue or alone.  I think that’s the reason why so many folks enroll in amateur keyboard classes where one is surrounded by people just like you.  No one aspires to perform on a professional level, they simply enjoy hanging with those who are like themselves.  It’s a beautiful thing to watch.  A small group of people assembling weekly to learn how to play music……no age restrictions required.

So if you’re considering taking that leap of faith, my suggestion is to join a music-learning program at your local music store, the library, community center, or wherever you find the opportunity.  Just like my doggie discovered, a little additive to your daily life can make a positive difference.  There’s no pills involved here, only the high created by your own success.

Whether it is preparing for upcoming theatre organ engagements, pipe organ performances or planning my spring schedule for Roland/Rodgers Corporation or Volare projects, I love making music and you will too.  Visit me at