20th Century, History, music, Uncategorized

Andrews Sisters: Singing Sensations

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1941
The up-tempo harmonies of the Andrews Sisters (Patti, Maxene, and LaVerne) are some of the biggest hits on wartime juke boxes. The Minneapolis trio will sell 60 million records before LaVerne dies in 1967.*

“There were just three girls in the family. LaVerne had a very low voice. Maxene’s was kind of high, and I was between. It was like God had given us voices to fit our parts.” ** Patty Andrews Weschler 1971

““They sing too loud and they move too much.” ** Olga Andrews, the trio’s mother 1937

“The Andrews Sisters were an American close harmony singing group of the swing and boogie-woogie eras. The group consisted of three sisters: contralto LaVerne Sophia (July 6, 1911 – May 8, 1967), soprano Maxene Anglyn (January 3, 1916 – October 21, 1995), and mezzo-soprano Patricia Marie “Patty” (February 16, 1918 – January 30, 2013). Throughout their career, the sisters sold over 75 million records (the last official count released by MCA Records in the mid-1970s). After the death of Patty in 2013, the new recount of the group’s total sales was 90 million records sold worldwide, making them the best-selling female group of all time. Their 1941 hit “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” can be considered an early example of rhythm and blues or jump blues. Other songs closely associated with the Andrews Sisters include their first major hit, “Bei Mir Bist Du Schön (Means That You’re Grand)” (1937), “Beer Barrel Polka (Roll Out the Barrel)” (1939), “Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar” (1940), “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else but Me)” (1942), and “Rum and Coca Cola” (1945), which helped introduce American audiences to calypso.” For a more comprehensive listing of their discography, please see link. ***

It is difficult to find closer harmonies than when family members sing together. There are some logical reasons for this: they share the same regional dialect and inflection, they have listened to the same voices to learn how to speak and therefore they share any unique vocal idiosyncrasies, and they have an intimate familiarity with each other personally. Perhaps this last point, knowing each other in a relational context, is the underpinning of a successful music group.

If one thinks of a successful music team over the past 100 years, be it songwriters, performers, or musicians, those that stick together make a long-lasting impact. Why could this be true? Music is a sport of the heart first, and the head second.

At least in much of the history of American pop music, we love those who touch us, not those who execute a series of notes perfectly. We seem to relate best to artists whose perfect imperfections and authenticity convince us of a genuine portrayal of emotion. As a musician and performer with 39 years experience, the author humbly offers this maxim; “If the artist believes in the song, the audience believes in the song”.

Now, we turn to You, and ask to observe this era of the Andrews Sisters with You. We thank You for Your creation called music. If we were born without ears, it would have been sufficient, but You chose to create this pleasure for Your glory and our enjoyment!

We recall that we live in a spoken universe. Let’s recount how many times You spoke, and then invented in the Creation story.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light…
6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters, to separate the waters from the waters.”…
9 And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered into one place, so that the dry land may appear.” And it was so…
11 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth vegetation: seed-bearing plants and fruit trees, each bearing fruit with seed according to its kind.” And it was so…
14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to distinguish between the day and the night, and let them be signs to mark the seasons and days and years…
20 And God said, “Let the waters teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the sky.”
24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, land crawlers, and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so…
26Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness, to rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, and over all the earth itself and every creature that crawls upon it.”…
We see a clear pattern repeated six times as You created; You spoke and an act of creation took place.

Will You indulge my line of thought further, Adonai? Our greatest thinkers and scientists know much about Your universe, though many may not be able to even entertain these meditations. If the universe and the known elements are made of matter, then what is the commonality of all matter?

To my limited knowledge and recollection of science, all matter exists at a frequency. If this is true, then it would follow that all matter and known elements are a pitch or note value. Granted, this universal keyboard would be much longer than a piano and beyond the perceptions of our ears, but theoretically are tones.

Could this be, at least in part, an explanation of a spoken universe? Did the utterances of Your voice create the frequencies of the elements? Was it literally the note values of Your voice that created the musica universalis; the Music of the Spheres?

All this to say that no one can comprehend, or can make music like You! We love You for so many reasons, but today celebrate Your love of music. Will You guide us further?

We thank You for Patty, Maxene, and LaVerne! We thank You for their Greek father Peter, and their Norwegian mother Olga. We thank You that Minnesota was a place with conditions hospitable for their parents to fall in love. We thank You for the unalienable freedoms You have given all humanity, but were expressly codified in American law!

We thank You that these familial and regional flavors gave influence to the sound and excitement of the Andrews Sisters! We thank You that their first hit, “Bei Mir Bistu Shein”, helped familiarize our state and nation with Yiddish culture of lyricist Jacob Jacobs and composer Shalom Secunda.****

We thank You for their songs of tenderness that soothed the pains of the Great Depression, the heartaches of World War II, and the jubilance of the Baby Boom! We thank You for their example, though human, that sisters who worked together could create something great! Will You, in turn, bless the present and future musicians, artists, and performers of Minnesota in their artistry and in their families?

Lastly, we give You thanks for their interpretation of the universal language of music! We thank You for the good memories “spoken” to us through their music! We thank You that You ordained our universe of music, and that it helps us better know the universal music of the heart! Amen!
* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** https://ew.com/article/2013/01/30/patty-andrews-dead/
*** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Andrews_Sisters
**** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bei_Mir_Bistu_Shein

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20th Century, Catholic, Christian, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Science

Institute of Science and Letters

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Saint Paul Auditorium ca. 1907 Interior, Original Home of the Institute of Science and Letters. Photo by Scotty Moore

1907
The St. Paul Institute of Science and Letters is incorporated. The institute sponsors research, and a museum. After reinventing itself several times, it is now known as the Science Museum of Minnesota–home to dinosaur bones, computer and an IMAX theater.*

It is a blessing to learn that my city had a love of science fervent enough to create this institute! Furthermore, its benevolent nature was expressed in making scientific knowledge open to all! The Institute of Science and Letters was,“Originally a provider of public lectures, it was located in the St. Paul Auditorium”. http://www.smm.org/media/historicalfacts

As with any audience, surely in 1907 there were proponents, opponents, and those who remained open. Then, as in the present, most would not argue the data collected from experiments, but may differ drastically on its meaning to their life. Why is this?

One idea may be that we cannot extirpate the framing effects of our memory, our temperament, and our worldview. By “framing effect”, I mean the resistance we have to knowledge outside of our point of reference. A classic example is the story of the blind men describing an elephant.

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“A Jain version of the story says that six blind men were asked to determine what an elephant looked like by feeling different parts of the elephant’s body. The blind man who feels a leg says the elephant is like a pillar; the one who feels the tail says the elephant is like a rope; the one who feels the trunk says the elephant is like a tree branch; the one who feels the ear says the elephant is like a hand fan; the one who feels the belly says the elephant is like a wall; and the one who feels the tusk says the elephant is like a solid pipe.
A king explains to them:
All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently is because each one of you touched the different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all the features you mentioned.” “Elephant and the blind men”. Jain Stories. JainWorld.com. Retrieved 2006-08-29.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_men_and_an_elephant

Lord, will You have mercy on our judgments made regarding science and its meaning to our lives? Will You forgive those in 1907 who used their new found scientific knowledge as a tool of separation from their predominantly Catholic neighbors? Will You forgive any counter judgments of scientists made in Your name or the name of the Roman Catholic church? Will You give us mercy on our neighbor whether they “know” through the channel of logic, association, observation, or relationship?

Your Word is not primarily a book of science, but where it does intersect with the sciences, it is accurate and eloquent in its claims. For example, You begin Your Word with the phrase, ”In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 CEV A scientist, upon first reading, may take it as religious and mythical poetry. However, would this same scientist observe that this simple phrase covered the building blocks of the universe: time, space, and matter?

Jesus, will You forgive the prejudices of the religious towards the secular-minded scientist in St. Paul: past, present, and future? Will You forgive the prejudices of the science community toward people of faith? We measure each other falsely at times Lord! We use the wrong measuring stick because we so often lack empathy much less love towards our sparring partners in debate. Will You heal the words we use to describe the intersection of faith and science? Have mercy on our small frames! Let us ‘see’ the whole elephant together, in Your revealing presence.

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

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James Frederick Ferrier photo International Association of Scottish Philosophy

**”Every question in philosophy is the mask of another question; and all these masking and masked questions require to be removed and laid aside, until the ultimate but truly first question has been reached. Then, but not till them, it is possible to decipher and resolve the outside mask, and all those below it, which come before us in the first instance.” James Frederick Ferrier
http://www.greatthoughtstreasury.com/author/james-ferrier-fully-james-frederick-ferrier

*** A brief summary of the Scottish philosopher’s life. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Frederick_Ferrier

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19th Century, government, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Native Americans, State Government, Treaties

Nelson Act Allots Indian Lands

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Jan 14, 1889
Passed into law on January 14, 1889, the Nelson Act breaks up Ojibwe reservations into individual plots of land, leaving only Red Lake in tribal hands.

Named for Knute Nelson, who from 1883 to 1889 served as representative to the U.S. Congress from Minnesota’s newly formed fifth district. It was during this time as a congressman that Nelson made one of the most significant moves of his political career when, as a member of the Committee on Indian Affairs, he drafts an act entitled “Relief and Civilization of the Chippewa Indians in Minnesota,” commonly known as the Nelson Act. The Act stipulates that Ojibwe families receive “allotments” of land on the White Earth Reservation.

This attempt to consolidate all of Minnesota’s Ojibwe people on a small land base results in the loss of Indian lands beyond what had already been ceded to the United States through treaties as the government sells leftover land to lumber companies.*

Father, You have established order in this universe. You have said over and over to any who would listen, “ Pray for Your leaders, for those in authority. May Your will be done!

As a human being, I acknowledge the potential for fantasy we may create when we have a self interest. Nelson may have genuinely believed that the sale of these lands were the path to reducing the conflict between Native Minnesotans’ and their new neighbors. Christ have mercy! However, it appears to be more probable that he thought he knew how to use their land better than the Ojibwe did.
Will You forgive the heart of force in the Nelson Act? Will You forgive the pride of our government in these dealings with the Ojibwe? Will You forgive the heart judgments’ against the Ojibwe, Cherokee, or any other native Minnesotans? **
You do not abhor property in your word. You gave allotments of lands to specific tribes of Israel. (See Genesis 12:7, 13:15, 15:18, 26:4, Exodus 32:13, Deuteronomy 1:35-36) You teach us to be good stewards of the property You have given us to manage, yet You ultimately are its Sovereign and owner.

Father, we have broken Your laws and have broken faith with Your Native Minnesotans! We have used the force of government to wrongly divide their land. Lord, will You release us of this sin? Will You release Native Minnesotans of their counter-judgements’ stemming from the Nelson Act, and the accrued judgments since?

Will You reveal to the Ojibwe that You alone are indeed the Sovereign of all land in Minnesota? Will You show Minnesotans how to disagree and maintain relationship on the issue of private property? Will You release the lands affected by this Act from their respective curses? Will You turn the Nelson Act into a blessing for ALL Minnesotans in perpetuity?
In faith, I send these offenses and counter-offenses to the Cross of Christ. I send these curses to the Cross of Christ. I wish to bring the Nelson Act into Your eternal present, that You may give us life and blessing! Lord, forgive our unbelief and failure to evenly steward Your property in our charge! You alone are Sovereign of all property of all States and Nations, all Worlds, and the only and honorable King of the Universe!

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** For more depth on the Bible and private property, see “Ownership and Property in the Old Testament Economy” by Dr. Walter Kaiser: tifwe.org

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Faith, History, Native Americans

Treaty of Traverse des Sioux Jul 23, 1851

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“Suppose your Great Father wanted your lands and did not want a treaty for your good, he could come with 100,000 men and drive you off to the Rocky Mountains.”

Luke Lea, U.S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs, at treaty signing

Facing mounting debts to fur traders and the pressure of settlers pouring into the newly established Minnesota Territory, the Dakota leaders reluctantly sign treaties, hoping that government promises of reservations and annuities will provide a secure future for their people. Powerful and influential fur traders coerce the Dakota into giving up their land in exchange for promises of cash, goods, annuities, and education. “The Indians are prepared to make a treaty when we tell them to do so,” said Henry Sibley. “No treaty can be made without our claims being first secured.”

Luke Lea, U.S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and Minnesota territorial governor Alexander Ramsey negotiate separate treaties with the Upper and Lower Dakota Bands. In July they meet with the Upper Bands (Sisseton and Wahpeton) at Traverse des Sioux. After several weeks of discussions and threats, the Upper Bands relinquish their claims to all Minnesota lands west of the Mississippi in exchange for an immediate cash payment of $305,000 and annuity payments in goods, food, education, and gold. The treaty also provides for a reservation along the upper Minnesota. Thinking they are endorsing a third copy of the treaty, the Dakota leaders sign “Traders’ Papers,” illegal documents drafted by the traders themselves. The documents promise much of the $305,000 cash payment to the traders to fulfill “just obligations.”

In August the commissioners begin negotiations with the Lower Bands at Mendota. The Mdewakanton and Wahpekute are pressured into agreeing to terms similar to those forced on the Upper Bands, including $220,000 in upfront cash to the fur traders. Both treaties promise the Dakota new reservations along the Minnesota River “in perpetuity,” a pledge that will not be kept.*

“But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.” Exodus 11:7

Sweet Holy Ghost, I really do not relish writing today, especially for such a time as this in our state’s memory. Will You lead me, perhaps give me insights, and the courage to pray for this moment of contention? Through Your amazing kindness for the brokeness of humankind, I invite You to come watch this treaty!

I do offer real thanks for the promise of the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux. There was a chance to make things clear, put things in writing, and have an agreement that honored both sides. Thanks for this opportunity to become better neighbors, even if it was squandered.

Just Advocate, this what I see today, the Upper and Lower Dakota Bands were willing to concede land if the end result was a stable and secure future. I see them extending these concessions in good faith and a real sense of relationship. What is also clear is that Luke Lea, Sibley,Ramsey, and the fur traders’ lobby were used to getting their way. Their quotes suggest an attitude of dominance and willingness to exert power.

This is my confession to You today Wise Counselor: will You forgive these grievous sins made through Luke Lea, Henry Sibley, Alexander Ramsey, the Bureau of Indian Affairs towards these specific peoples, tribes, first nations; the Sisseton, the Wahpeton, Mdewakanton, and the Wahpekute? Will You lift the weight of this robbery from their shoulders, and restore their inheritance?

More specifically, will You forgive the spirit of deception behind the “Traders Papers”, and the damage it did both relationally and economically to these tribes?
Will You forgive the horror of our offense to You, done in the name of our state, it’s officers, and any other duplicitous parties? Have mercy on these “Traitors Papers”!

We also offend You, Great Spirit, when we answer offense with counter offense. Will You forgive the Sisseton, Wahpeton, Mdwakanton, and Wahpekute any counter-judgments against the same offending parties, whether named; Lea, Sibley, Ramsey, or the B.I.A., or unnamed, the authors of the “Traders Papers”? May these peoples receive mercy so they do not carry this offense generationally in their hearts, and become doubly wronged?

That said, will You make a difference between the righteous and the unrighteous? As Abraham asked of You, “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?…Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Genesis 18:23-25 Of Course You Will!
I praise You that You allow each generation the fruits of their choices!You allow humans to be temporarily wronged by the short-sighted, but these ill-gotten gains will bring separation and destruction. May all such devious treaties ring hollow throughout the history of Minnesota!

*Note – PrayThroughHistory uses the timeline located for several years at the Minnesota Historical Society Web site, at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm .

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