George Winston

Thank You Antonia

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One of my favorite musicians of all time is George Winston. I've been playing piano since I was a little kid and I would by lying if I told you his music wasn't one of the reasons I have been playing the piano for so long. George Winston plays solo piano and he has been releasing piano albums for a long time (his debut album was in 1972).

I've seen George Winston in concert twice, most recently here in Florida in November of 2015. What I didn't know at the time was that George Winston was able to play that concert for me and for everyone in that theater because of the kindness of a stranger...Antonia. George had just finished playing at a concert in September of 2012 when he collapsed in his dressing room. George was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), which is a form of blood cell cancer. George needed a bone-marrow transplant if he wanted to live and thanks to a 21 year old woman from Germany named Antonia, he got the bone marrow that was needed to save his life.

Below is a quote from an article by the New York Post:

“Her name is Antonia,” he tells The Post, of the then-21-year-old woman from Germany. The hospital flew her in so Winston could meet her. “I gave her my 17 CDs and said, ‘Thanks for helping me make the next 15!’ ”

Not only did George give his entire music anthology to Antonia but he is also donating all of the proceeds from his latest album, "Spring Carousel", to the City of Hope hospital where he was treated (which is a private not-for-profit research center).

George Winston is not your average celebrity musician. If you see him in concert he is very soft spoken and when he does speak it is generally short and to the point. He is also a very private person, which is why I didn't know any of this had even happened to him. So this post isn't about George Winston and his illness but rather the hero that didn't know George and his amazing music but still donated her bone-marrow and saved his life. We have her to thank for all the music George can now continue to share with us.

Alternative Holiday Music

We are now several weeks (or even several months if you start the clock at the 1st holiday display sighting) into the holiday season. By now the holiday music you are listening too might be getting a little stale or repetitive. Below are a few of my favorite non-traditional albums I listen to during the holiday season (and some of them all year long). So if you are looking for something a bit different to listen to you might considering giving one of these a listen...

 

Three Suites by Duke Ellington:

This a great big band/swing/jazz music album with a nod to some holiday classics. You can listen to this entire album and not even notice some of them are Christmas songs. My wife even uses a song from this album as her alarm clock.


December by George Winston:

George Winston is one of my favorite artists (I've played piano since I was a little kid, so of course I'm a fan). This is purely a piano solo album, but George Winston has a piano playing style like no other. Even if you are not a fan of piano this album may still have something for you. This album is from back in 1982 and just has an amazing ambiance that makes you want to grab a cup of hot cocoa and climb under a blanket.


If On a Winter's Night by Sting:

Sting puts his own twist on some really old English Christmas Carols with this album. This is not a traditional Sting album (if there is such a thing). This is nothing like any of the big hit songs that most people think of when they think of Sting, rather this is more traditional to the original tunes. Whether you are a Sting fan or not you have to admit he is quite an amazing artist and thi album is no exception. Try out a few samples from the album on iTunes and you might just be suprised. I listen to this album A LOT every year around this time...

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