Music in Mesa – MIM

The Day of the Dead

Dolly P and We met Paul and Catherine Pickering by chance on Vancouver Island back in September, when we discovered surreal coincidences between our lives. They invited us to visit them in Mesa, AZ when we passed by on our way East and fortuitously, this coincided with an annual party they host, the ‘Mexican Day of the Dead’ (with a twist). We were supposed to dress as our favorite musicians, but sometimes, the simplicity of an outfit wins over how Beethoven or Berlioz would have dressed; Jimi Hendrix (Paul) and Willy NelsonColin as Willie Nelson and Cheryl as Dolly Parton. Neither of us got the message that we were suppose to dress as our favorite DEAD musicians. So sorry Willie and Dolly – not to hurry your demise. Paul is an accomplished musician, plays a wicked guitar, and plays with many bands around the area. Consequently, most of the 50+ crowd were performers and we were treated to all-evening performances of jazz, blues, rock, country, and . . .  bagpipes. Yes, Colin played for the crowd too. Colin had a different kind of appearance as Willie played the Northumbrian Smallpipes (NSPs). Thank you Pickerings for letting us drive on your grass to park our van, the great hospitality, and the great music and food. Fun, fun, fun.

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Musical Instrument Museum (MIM), Phoenix

We can’t say enough good things about this amazing museum. Since we are both musicians, we loved seeing the history, the development, the variety, and the different countries in which these musical instruments were ‘born’. Even if you aren’t a musician, go! We are all connected by music, and the MIM proves this by the sheer magnitude of its inspiring 10,000+ instruments and exhibits. It wasn’t just the instruments that made this museum so unique. Almost every exhibit had video of either the instrument, a musician playing the instrument, or histories of those well known musicians who created magic on those instruments. Note: At the time of our visit, there was a special exhibit which highlighted intricate inlays on guitars called, “Dragons and Vines.” This collection of guitars was created by Pearl Works of Maryland, Larry Sifel, founder (1948-2006).

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Colin: I was interested to see the large variety of bagpipes on display at the museum. There were about 30 examples, mainly from Europe and the Middle East. Because of the popularity of the Greater Highland Pipes, there’s a common misconception that bagpipes originated in Scotland. However they have been played for over 1,000 years and likely originated in the Middle East. The pictures below show two different methods of providing air: mouth-blown and bellows-blown. My instrument, the Northumbrian Smallpipes (NSPs, bellows-blown), was not in evidence, the most similar being the Uillean pipes from Ireland. Naturally I encouraged the MIM staff to expand their display to include the NSPs!

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Calliope from Antwerp, Holland

  • Mesa AZ

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    Mesa Arizona and Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix Arizona

  • 3 Comments on “Music in Mesa – MIM

    1. I think you guys are living the dream, my dream actually. You are really making the most of it. Good for you!! Loved that museum. Btw, tell Willie and Dolly I said hi.
      From Cheryl: Willie and Dolly say, “hey” back. We loved being around musicians for the evening and hearing all the different kinds of music. But what was an amazing thing was that museum. It was definitely a WOW, beyond what we could have imagined. As we said to Marge (Ms. Baez), the only problem with the museum was that it took the poop out of us. We walked out of there exhausted, but it was a terrific place. Lots of love.

    2. Wow! What faces (Dolly, Willie, Carmen Miranda and Jimi!), and what places! Steve and I definitely want to go visit that music museum. Thank you for the effort you put into showing us what is there. Fascinating! I would want to be Joan Baez, but she is still very much alive!
      From Cheryl: Dear Ms. Baez, so glad to have you join us! Love that you and Steve should put the MIM into your future, it was amazing. We were fried by the time we got out of there, couldn’t finish it in one day, just too much and too overwhelming. But oh, so interesting and beautiful!

    3. I have to see that museum! How long did you spend there? To whom did that drum kit belong? Curious people like me want to know.
      From Cheryl: It took us 4 hours plus, and we pooped out in the end, just couldn’t move after awhile because the museum was so large. The drum set came out of the jazz area and back up swing bands. You could imagine Gene Krupa on them, but the information on the card didn’t have a particular musician. You gotta go. It was amazing. Thanks for your comments, they mean so much to us! Lots of love.

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