The Music and Me

Music was always a part of my life.  As a child, I remember listening to my father sing as he played the piano. I would often dance as he played, or would go to my room and give performances to an imaginary audience. As I grew older there was hardly a night that my sisters and I would not stand around my father at his piano singing with him in harmony. By the time I was ten I was taking piano lessons. Practicing my lessons was usually cut short, so I could write my own music. I loved finding chords that fit together, especially if they were sevenths and ninths, or what I call "sad" chords. They fit my mood at the time as I experience the first tragedy of my life, when we moved from my wonderful and lively street in the city to the lonely suburbs. Though I did make new friends, I still yearned for my old ones. Soon I met Carol, who would become my best and life long friend.

It was through Carol that I was introduced to my first guitar. One day she took me to visit a new friend, Suzy, who had just moved into the neighborhood. We spent many lazy summer days hanging out in Suzy's bed room where a guitar leaned against the wall. When the conversations turned to boys, something I was not ready for, I would play Suzy's guitar. I fell in love with it and became much more interested in it than anything else that was happening. I was amazed at how easy it was to find the sad chords I loved so much on the piano. I asked to borrow Suzy's guitar which she willingly gave up. With guitar music spilling out of my door, my parents were soon complaining that I was not spending enough time with the family. With a broken heart, I had to give the guitar back to Suzy.

But my dad came to the rescue! He offered to match whatever money I could save by Christmas, so I could get my very own guitar, which I still have today. I began singing and playing with other friends who were into music. Every weekend we had "hootenannies" where we sang, played and shared all the songs that we knew. Soon we were asked to play at local musical events, which planted the seeds for my future.

In high school, just before graduation, I auditioned for a music workshop in Pennsylvania, run by Fred Waring. I knew my parents couldn't afford it, but something told me to do it anyway. Sure enough I won a scholarship to the school for the whole summer. I said good bye to college and hello to a career in music. Eventually I ended up touring with Hugo Winterhaulter. I sang in his chorus along with my future writing partner. We developed our own style and songs, and were offered a spot in the show.

One night a producer happened to be in the audience and he offered us a record contract. We were soon on our own tour as the duo "Heaven and Earth". I soon married and became preoccupied with family life. As it does with most human beings, life challenged me with several years of painful growth, which in turn lead me into spiritual inquiry. I came to question the suffering that lay beneath my favorite “sad chords” and wondered why we all suffer in life.  Ultimately this led me to explore the very nature of existence. It is this continuing exploration that inspires my music now. I hope you enjoy it and may all music open your heart.

I am fortunate to report that music I made with Heaven & Earth has been reissued and that we have launched a new website with lots of great material from our album "Refuge". Click here to take a look.

Patricia Dennison