How many dreams have you had in your life? How many of those dreams have come to fruition?
How many of your dreams are sitting on the back burner because you are afflicted with the crippling disease, “excuse-itis”?
Are there dreams of yours that have been deemed time-sensitive, and, therefore, supposedly void of life?
Is there such a thing as a dream being void of life? If not, why not? If so, what’s the formula to reviving it?
I’m very grateful that I have realized many of my dreams. That said, I must admit that there are some of them that remain sitting on the back burner, and some of them that lie victim, and paralyzed by “excuse-itis”.
I’ve been pondering the, “If not, why not?” and, “If so, how?”. I’ve determined that, recognizing the disease, and acknowledging my inaction, is the first step to creating the inertia to get me moving on the road to recovery from excuse-itis. No – not creating inertia, but something like, “overcoming the inertia”.
So, I must say that I’m finding it challenging, yet interesting and exciting, to begin the process of cleaning off the back burner, and exploring the possibility of reviving discarded or forgotten dreams.
One might ask, hey Terry, what has inspired you to all of a sudden begin pondering in such a reflective way?
Well, I’ve been inspired by my son, Jeff, who, just after high school, adopted what we refer to as, the Dream Adjustment model.
As a little kid of two, Jeff began playing tin can hockey with me; it was the way I learned to play the game at the Halifax School for the Blind in Nova Scotia, Canada, when I was a boy.
Jeff’s love of hockey began growing as he played with me, with the Halifax Hawks amateur league, then high school and junior hockey. He collected the cards, read the magazines; he came to know the players, their stats and stories. He wanted to play professionally, just like them.
Long story short, when Jeff realized that playing professional hockey wasn’t going to happen, he switched into “dream adjustment mode”, and decided to study to become a professional trainer/athletic therapist in the hockey world.
May we all come to know the joy of using the “dream adjustment” as an antidote for excuse-itis, and get more things happening in our lives by cleaning off our back burners.
Thanks for dropping by,
by ROY MacGREGOR
The Globe and Mail
He just got out of bed on the wrong side of the world. He is jetlagged and tired, but still he wants to talk about his great dream.
Terry Kelly sees the entire country – all of Canada – coming to a complete stop. Cars pulling over on the highways, elevators coming to a halt, coffee shops going quiet, classes shutting down, even passenger jets falling silent as they float through Canadian airspace.
For two minutes, that’s all.
As Terry Kelly says and sings, A Pittance of Time.
The Canadian entertainer is in Wellington, New Zealand, invited there by that country’s equivalent of the Canadian Legion, and this week he will sing his song in a 34,000-seat rugby stadium before what is certain to be the largest audience of his career.
It is a song that was intended as a rant, a little “venting” by the blind singer-songwriter concerning an incident he overheard seven years ago this coming week in a Shoppers Drug Mart in Dartmouth, just across the harbour from his home in Halifax.
He was in the store the morning of Nov. 11, 1999, when an announcement came over the public address system that the store would be following the legion’s “two minutes of silence” initiative and fall quiet at 11 a.m. to honour those who had fought, and often died, for their country.
At the 11th hour, the store went quiet. Clerks stopped stocking shelves. Cashiers stepped back from their registers. Shoppers paused and lowered their heads.
Except for one man.
He was there with his young daughter, and he was in a hurry.
He demanded a clerk’s attention. He insisted on going through the cash. He was loud and obnoxious and destroyed all hope of reflection for everyone within his sound range.
When the man completed his purchase, he hustled his little girl out the doors, but not before Terry Kelly – whose superb hearing compensates for his lack of sight – picked up her plaintive “Daddy – that was embarrassing!” as the doors swung back closed and, finally, allowed the store to fall quiet.
Outraged, Kelly went home, sat down with his guitar, and slowly worked out a tune and words:
“They fought and some died for their homeland
They fought and some died now it’s our land
Look at his little child, there’s no fear in her eyes
Could he not show respect for other dads who have died?
“Take two minutes, would you mind?
It’s a pittance of time
For the boys and the girls who went over
In peace may they rest, may we never forget why they died.
It’s a pittance of time . . .”
In the song, Kelly unleashed his anger (“God forgive me for wanting to strike him”) and celebrated the Canadian soldier, from those who sent letters back from the Great War to those who today send e-mails home from Afghanistan. He sang about the swift passage of time (“May we never forget our young become vets”) and about the significance of that small moment we mark at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
A Pittance of Time.
Warren Sonoda, a Toronto filmmaker, took the song and produced a remarkable video of Kelly performing in a Shoppers Drug Mart while the ignorant young man interrupts the silence. As the man rails at a bewildered clerk, others in the store stare in shock, including his upset daughter. And then – in a scene reminiscent of the parting of the cornstalks in Field of Dreams – a parade of veterans slowly emerges into sharp focus. Backs stiff, heads held high, shoulders squared, steps sometimes hobbled – the veterans, accompanied by soldiers from various eras, keep moving through the store until, finally, the obnoxious young man realizes what he has been disrupting.
It is a most powerful video and has moved everyone from elementary-school children to hardened Canadian senior officers to tears. It will play on the scoreboard of the Wellington rugby arena as Terry Kelly sings this week.
“It’s all about respect,” he says.
If his dream were to come true, he would have this entire country come to a stop on Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. Two minutes where every Canadian pauses – even those anxious to get through the checkout counter – and thinks about those who have worn the country’s uniform.
Kelly himself once dreamed of this life – he wanted to be in the air force and fly – but he and three siblings had an inherited condition that left him totally blind and his siblings with partial vision. He was sent from St. John’s to Nova Scotia to attend a special school for the blind. There he lived with “house parents” who came from the military, and they taught him to be respectful, to be disciplined, and to believe in yourself.
“For me,” he says, “it was a blessing.”
He never did get to fly in the air force, of course. But he has served his country, all the same.
Singer / songwriter Terry Kelly, in partnership with Cancer Care Nova Scotia, launched today, Celebrate Life, an original song written and performed by Terry Kelly, to honour and recognize those whose lives have been affected by cancer.
The themes Terry explores in Celebrate Life are in keeping with his own thinking. “I am grateful for the gift of gratitude,” said Terry. “I am grateful for the life that I have lived, for the life that I am living and for whatever life I have left to live. I am especially grateful for the loved ones and acquaintances that have shared are sharing and have yet to share the joys and sorrows of the world with me. I am also grateful for the gift of choice, to choose between celebrating life or not.”
“The Celebrate Life song is about survivorship, but it embraces the full range of emotion we all work through when we learn someone close to us has cancer,” said Dr. Andrew Padmos, Commissioner, Cancer Care Nova Scotia. “It also speaks to the great strength and resolve of cancer patients, their family and friends in pulling together and fighting the disease by taking an active role in their treatment, getting answers to their questions to allay fears and truly appreciating each and every moment and day they have together. Terry, a cancer survivor himself, has successfully captured the essence of these many emotions.”
Commissioned by Cancer Care Nova Scotia, Celebrate Life builds on the survivorship theme and recognizes the strength of community, friendship, faith and love in the face of challenge. Celebrate Life was written for Cancer Care Nova Scotia’s signature event to mark National Cancer Survivors Day. Terry Kelly will sing the song at the event, Celebrate Life 2006, on Sunday, June 4 at Pier 21 in Halifax.
Cancer Care Nova Scotia is a program of the Department of Health, created to reduce the burden of cancer on individuals, families and the health care system through prevention, screening, education and research.
For Immediate Release:
Last night in Calgary, Alberta, the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) presented Terry Kelly with the 2005 CCMA Humanitarian Award during their Industry Awards Gala. This award is voted on by the Board of Directors of the CCMA and is presented to a person(s) and/or event(s) that have made an outstanding contribution involving extraordinary time and energy in the support of humanitarian causes through country music
CCMA President Heather Ostertag delivered a heartfelt presentation to a surprised Terry Kelly. During her speech, Ostertag said “…He is being honoured this evening because of all the work that he does in helping to make the world a better place. His heart has no boundaries. He is authentic and the way he encourages people to be their best is inspiring. Through motivational presentations Terry has given of himself to tens of thousands of students, teachers, parents, government and business employees throughout Canada and the United States. Many of these have been done without any monetary benefit
Using personal anecdotes peppered with humour, songs and audience participation, Terry encourages individuals to develop their own values and strategies for living and working happily and healthily. ….
Twelve year old Cameron Van Welter was one of the children greatly influenced by Terry and he was on hand last night to escort Terry to the podium. During Ms. Ostertag’s presentation, she delivered Cameron’s words.
“The year that I met Terry I was having a lot of difficulty in school. I was getting suspended almost every day for defying authority. I was a very angry person. Anything would set me off. Terry offered to play a show at my school free of charge the next time he was in Toronto provided that I agreed to introduce him. He came to Toronto shortly after we had talked and he played not one but two shows, one for students in Grades 1-5, and another for students in Grades 6-8”
“My life has changed a lot over this last year. I am much calmer and kinda sorta patient. Terry among other things got me started to play guitar, and I do that a lot now so he has been a big influence in my life. This year I was given the Award for ‘Most Improved’ by my Principal and Terry was one of the influences who helped me get a better attitude. I didn’t make the change overnight. It was an everyday thing. This may sound simple, it isn’t and Terry helped me understand that. Thank you Terry.”
By Clare-Marie Gosse
Musical drama based on First World War letters sent from soldiers to women they left behind
Writers Sandy Mackay and John Meir used research and material from hundreds of real-life letters written during the First World War to build the script for Two Minutes of Silence – A Pittance of Time, inspired by Newfoundland singer/songwriter Terry Kelly’s song, A Pittance of Time. The musical drama, soon to tour the province, features local actors Brad Hodder and Sara Tilley in two principal roles. The script unravels around the emotional inadequacy of letters – all John and Elsie have to span their separation – and private monologues revealing the newlyweds’ true frustration and pain.
The First World War saga features original live music as well as some well known war songs, Kelly performs centre stage with musicians Floyd King and Trevor Mills. They’re flanked by Tilley and Hodder in emotional time capsules. The unique and moving production explores the unspoken pain behind so many written words. Elsie, the lonely sender of socks and chocolate, privately rages and sobs at the insignificance of her gestures, and John realizes the impossibility of ever describing to her the suicide of fighting at the front, the friends dead, the rats, the lice, the stench.
“They never really told one another what was actually going on because they were being protective of one another and in the letters we get to read between the lines,” Kelly tells The Independent. “We figured the letters would have an emotional hold – everybody knows what that feels like on some level … everybody knows what it’s like to be away from someone.”
Kelly is a well known Canadian celebrity, known for his award-winning singing and songwriting, his athletic achievements, professional and motivational speaking, and perhaps, most notably, his energy for life. Kelly contracted eye cancer as an infant, and his family in St. John’s made the difficult but ultimately rewarding decision to send him at the age of seven to the Halifax School for the Blind, which nurtured a love for music and his love for a challenge.
Last year he was awarded the Order of Canada.
The inspiration for his song, which, in turn, inspired the performance, Two Minutes of Silence – A Pittance of Time, came four years ago when he witnessed a rowdy customer in Shoppers Drug Mart. Out of respect for Remembrance Day, a request was made over the public address system for customers to join staff in two minutes of silence.
One customer refused. Angered by the experience, Kelly went home and started to compose. “I have a venting mechanism by writing songs so I wrote a song in response to that. From that we put a music video together and then from that we got the idea to maybe put a show together.”
The tour kicked off with a special media preview at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre November 3. From there, the musical drama will be performed in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI before returning to Newfoundland and Labrador with multiple dates across the province, wrapping up back in St. John’s on November 21.
“This is a musical drama about remembrance,” says Kelly. “… and we chose to set this in the First World War because it was supposed to have been the war to end all wars but it was really a war that was the beginning of modern warfare as it were … airplanes were being used and explosives and bombs, so even though it was different from today, much is the same
By Andrea Nemetz, Entertainment Reporter
The Chronicle Herald
Those who didn’t find their eyes wet with tears – or at least misty – at the end of “Two Minutes of Silence: A Pittance of Time” at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium on Tuesday night are likely made of stone.
The musical-theatrical production, which features music by singer-songwriter Terry Kelly along with A First World War love story written by John Meir and Sandy MacKay, is well done throughout with an exceptionally moving ending.
Tuesday was the first performance of the show, which Kelly hopes to take on a regional tour next year around Remembrance Day. Tonight it will be performed at Ottawa’s Centrepoint Theatre.
Inspired by Kelly’s song “A Pittance of Time”, which appears on his CD “The Power of the Dream”, the two-hour show is structured a bit like the runaway hit musical Mamma Mia.
Mamma Mia features hit ABBA songs but isn’t about the Swedish supergroup. The entirely unrelated plot is advanced by the infectious disco rhythms of the iconic 70’s band.
A Pittance of Time features some of Order of Canada member Kelly’s biggest songs –“Moment to Moment”, “Safe Home”, “In My Father’s House” as well as “A Pittance of Time” – with the modern day songs used to illustrate the emotions of the two main characters whose lives play out more than 80 years ago.
Those characters are newlyweds Elsie (Jen MacDowell) and John Murray (Josh MacDonald) whose wedding has been rushed ahead before John departs for Europe.
Mine manager’s son John has volunteered for service even though his father could have secured him an exemption after Albert, his best friend from childhood, convinces him it’s the right thing to do.
The story is told through letters written by John, first on his journey overseas and then from the trenches, and by an increasingly despairing Elsie left behind at home. It begins on Oct. 1, 1914 with John jauntily declaring he’ll be home by Christmas and ends on April 15, 1917 with the battle at Vimy Ridge.
The sets are simple – Elsie at home with a wooden writing desk and box of letters and John behind a wall of sandbags – and the costumes evoke the period.
The spotlight shines on each character as they read the letters in which they pour out their hopes, fears, thoughts on the war and love for each other.
In between letters, Kelly, on electronic keyboard, Floyd King on guitar and Joe Butcher on bass perform Kelly’s hits as well as war songs including “ Pack Up Your Troubles”,“Its’s A Long Way to Tiperary”,“Oh How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning” and the “Whiffenpoof Song”.
After John learns he will be a father Kelly illustrates his euphoria by singing “We Can Do Anything”. When Elsie moves in with her parents after giving birth to little Victoria, Kelly shows her seeking the safety and warmth of family by singing “In My Father’s House”.
Kelly is at his best pouring his heart into his own material while MacDowell is outstanding, capturing the shifts of emotions of the woman left behind with ease and grace. And MacDonald is every inch the young idealistic soldier.
The production ends with a screening of the video for “A Pittance of Time”, a tribute to soldiers of yesteryear and the peacekeepers of today.
At the 2003 East Coast Music Awards in Halifax, Nova Scotia Terry received his seventh ECMA award – Roots Traditional Solo Artist of the Year.
During the ECMA Industry Awards Brunch, Tony Kelly (Terry’s brother, manager and business partner) was awarded Industry Builder of the Year.
“Ottawa – Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, today announced 100 new appointments to the Order of Canada and six promotions within the Order….”
Among the appointments is Newfoundland native (Nova Scotia resident) Terry Kelly.
The following citation was written by the Governor General’s Office and is posted on her website ( www.gg.ca ) with those of the other new appointees.
Terry Kelly, C.M.
Member of the Order of Canada
“A man of determination, perseverance and talent, he inspires people of all ages. Blind since the age of two, he uses his own life experiences to motivate others. A popular motivational speaker, he discusses fears and dreams, challenges and goals and the value of enthusiasm. A runner at the 1980 Paralympics, he has also made his mark as a musician and is the recipient of six East Coast Music Awards. His latest album is the first CD ever to be released with liner notes in Braille. A portion of the revenues from every album sold is donated to the World Braille and Literacy Foundation and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.”
At Spring Convocation 2002 Saint Mary’s University acknowledged Terry Kelly and his work with an Honourary Doctorate of Arts.
“Terry’s ‘vision without sight’ is truly remarkable and his commitment to the personal growth and development of individuals of all ages and abilities is commendable. Terry’s motto and trademark phrase ‘We Can Do Anything’, certainly reflects his zest for life, perpetual commitment to all people, and his contagious enthusiasm to ‘Do It Now’.”