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Category Archive: Music

Nov 14

The late musical legend and entertainer’s entertainer, Al Fike, inducted into Holt County, Missouri, Music Hall of Fame, Nov. 28, 2015, in Forest City, MO.

Al Fike Estes Park.jpg

“Al Fike and his beloved Rocky Mountains” reprinted with permission by The Estes Park Trail-Gazette, originally published in the Time of Your Life edition, Autumn 1989.

Al Fike, longtime music educator in Holt County and nationally-known entertainer, is one of the inductees in the new Holt County Music Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be held at 7 PM on November 28th at the Historic City Hall on The Al Fike Stage in Forest City, MO. More information about the ceremony can be found on this link: https://www.facebook.com/forestcitymo/?fref=nf.

Al Fike Stage

Al Fike’s life story is on the link below directing you to the biography I wrote about him. It was a pleasure helping him record his memories of his amazing musical career. It was not published until after he died, although we worked on it together a few years before then. Al would indeed be honored and delighted to be inducted into the Music Hall of Fame in Holt County. I can just hear him saying “Ain’t ya glad you come” (a saying he used to begin his shows). Here’s the link to my book if you want to take a look: http://kayhoflander.com/books/al-fike/


Al began his professional career in 1948 in Central City, Colorado, after years of teaching music and serving as a school superintendent in Missouri. Al Fike became a living legend, preserving and enhancing the traditions of the American musical stage as no other performer has ever done. The Al Fike Show was an opportunity to see an entertainer’s entertainer perform (and teach).



Jul 01

On Independence Day, whistle Yankee Doodle with the fervor of John Adams – from my archived columns first published in The Examiner, an eastern Jackson County, Mo., daily newspaper


“Yankee Doodle went to town a-riding on a pony. Stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni.”

– Revolutionary War ditty

As we celebrate the 4th of July this weekend, perhaps whistling the song Yankee Doodle is just what we need to do as we reflect on the birth of our nation, 233 years ago in 1776.

We must never forget that day and why it is important. Whistling and singing Yankee Doodle might help us do just that, if we do it with the gusto John Adams professed.

As I researched the history of July 4th to rejuvenate my memory, I remembered that July 2nd not July 4th was the official date when the Second Continental Congress voted in a closed session to separate the American colonies from Great Britain. But the date July 4th is the date shown on the Declaration of Independence document, the date when the colonial government announced its independence to the world.

The exact date does not really matter anyway as John Adams wrote in this now-famous note to his wife at the end of the colonists’ world-changing congress. What does matter is how we remember and celebrate our nation’s birth.

John Adams penned: “The second day (later celebrated as the fourth) of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated at the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

I like what John Adams had to say.

In fact, I wish patriotism would come back in style with the fervor John Adams describes.

I wish we could unabashedly sing Yankee Doodle Dandy’s light-hearted and whimsical tune without a cynic raising an annoyed eyebrow.

I wish folks would stick a small American flag in a flowerpot with pride, display an official flag with dignity and respect, and never, ever belittle it.

I wish the citizens of this great country would feel proud of their fine country, the best experiment in freedom ever envisioned. I wish we would never hang our heads about the United States of America, I wish.

I wish when fireworks explode over ballparks and city parks this July 4th, that we collectively get a lump in our throats, that we swell with pride as the national anthem is sung.

I wish we would do all these patriotic things again without apology as we did in days and years gone by.

And yes, I wish folks would walk around whistling the light-hearted and whimsical Yankee Doodle Dandy refrain. It would bring a smile to my face. It would make you feel good, even if you are dressed up, as my cousin Al used to say.

Hey, Kermit the Frog sang Yankee Doodle and so did Barney and Friends. Caroline Kennedy named her pony “Macaroni”, and it is the official State Song of Connecticut.

How can you go wrong with that? It won’t hurt you, it will help you.

So won’t you join me this Fourth of July by taking John Adams’ words to heart and sing happily and proudly:

“Father and I went down to camp, along with Captain Gooding. And there were all the men and boys as thick as hasty pudding. There was Captain Washington upon a slapping stallion; a giving orders to his men, I guess there was a million.

Yankee Doodle went to town a-riding on a pony. Stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni. Yankee Doodle, keep it up, Yankee Doodle Dandy. Mind the music and the step and with the girls be handy.”

Happy Fourth of July!

Jan 20

Cures for glummest day of the year–Blue Monday

“Blue Monday how I hate Blue Monday…cause Monday is a mess.” – recorded by Fats Domino, 1956; written by Dave Bartholomew and Fats Domino

It is that time of year, late January, when many of us are in a funk, especially on Blue Monday.

Going back to work, post-Christmas debts, nasty bad weather, failed New Year’s resolutions and low motivation.

All these dilemmas add up to one sour, dour and miserable bad mood.

I am blaming mine on Blue Monday.

Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year falls in late January, according to Dr. Cliff Arnall. He is the mathematician credited with devising a formula that he says proves this is the most dismal, gloomiest, melancholy and depressing day of the year.

Wonderful news isn’t it.

Don’t get too gleeful, however, if you think that Blue Monday occurred last Monday, Jan. 17th, and is behind you. It may not actually have happened yet, since apparently there is some confusion as to when it falls in 2011, the 17th or 24th of January.

Happily, there may be cures for these Blue Monday blues if you happen to suffer from what is also referred to as “Blue Monday Syndrome”.

Step One.

Listen to an old Fats Domino recording of “Blue Monday”, his top-of-the charts 50s tune (Hint: you can find the recording on YouTube, search Fats Domino – Austin City Limits).

You will feel better right away.

I just played it on my computer and am rocking and rolling right out of that Blue Monday funk even as we speak.

Step Two.

Bean soup. Eat yourself happy because comfort food in the dreads of winter really does help. Bean soup, anyway you want to make it, is my personal comfort food favorite served with cornbread and warm tapioca pudding, dolloped with beaten egg whites. Note: don’t serve the pudding chilled if you want true comfort.

Step Three. Choose from these most-often used suggestions and hopefully you will find one that helps you survive Blue Monday.

Take off your shoes and walk around your home or office barefoot. (Makes sense, unless one happens to have overpowering foot odor. If so, move on to the next suggestion please.)

Drink a hot beverage throughout the day as the act of holding a warm cup in your hand can help. I’ve got that one down.

Sit up straight. Stand up straight. Don’t slouch. (Yes, it is your grandmother’s voice in your head, and she was right.)

According to numerous university studies, I found that the following activities provide some much-needed wintertime TLC. Sing, dance, flirt, give to charity, help others, light floral-scented candles, play board games or watch I Love Lucy. Survey says.

Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in our misery that we don’t know how to find our way out. Thus, I direct you back to Step One and Fats Domino, a perfect place to begin.

Turn up the volume and sing:

“Blue Monday, how I hate Blue Monday. Got to work like a slave all day. Here come Tuesday, oh hard Tuesday. I’m so tired got no time to play. Here come Wednesday. I’m beat to my socks…Thursday is a hard-working day, and Friday I get my pay. Saturday mornin’, oh Saturday morning’, all my tiredness has gone away. Sunday morning…I’ve got to get my rest. ‘Cause Monday is a mess!”

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