October 24, 2014 12:45 UTC

Entertainment

Remembering Dave Brubeck; Help for Stressed Parents; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

Read, listen and learn English with this story. Double-click on any word to find the definition in the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary.

Dave Brubeck1
Dave Brubeck1

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
  • Remembering Dave Brubeck; Help for Stressed Parents; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.
 
I’m June Simms.
 
On our show this week, we play music from some nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…
 
We look at parental stress and what some churches are doing to ease it…
 
But first, we remember jazz great Dave Brubeck, who died this week.
 
Remembering Dave Brubeck
 
Jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck died Wednesday -- a day before his ninety-second birthday. Brubeck rose to fame in the 1950s and became an international jazz star. Christopher Cruise has more on the life and work of this great American artist.
 
That is “Blue Rondo A La Turk,” from Dave Brubeck’s 1959 album “Time Out.” Many experts believe the song helped launch a new age for jazz. The song has complex and unusual beat patterns. Brubeck also borrowed sounds and rhythms from the developing world and classical music.
 
Dave Brubeck was born in Concord, California. His mother was a classically trained piano teacher. He formed the Dave Brubeck Quartet after World War II, performing at jazz clubs in small towns across the country. Brubeck said those performances gave him his best training.
 
“When I grew up almost every bar had a small combo and there were dance halls that we used to drive across this country from one dance hall --- and maybe two or three hundred miles --- the next day we’d be in a different dance hall. Great dance halls clear across the open part of Nebraska and those towns, and we’d come across that way. It’s changed a lot because most of our jazz now is in universities and colleges have taken over the old way that we used to have…a way to learn was one-on-one next to an old veteran.”
 
“Take Five” was also released on “Time Out.” It is probably the song most strongly linked to Dave Brubeck. But it was written by alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, Brubeck’s long-time musical partner. The jazz piece was so successful it earned a place on pop music charts.
 
The Dave Brubeck Quartet performed and recorded until the late 1960s. At that time, Dave Brubeck decided to explore jazz-based symphonic and religious music. He also traveled a lot and recorded albums based on his experiences with other cultures.
 
Stressed Parents Find Help from Churches
 
A generation ago, stay-at-home mothers were a big help to many churches in the United States. They worked as volunteers and kept the churches operating. Today, the adult daughters of those women are struggling to balance work and children. When Sunday comes, many miss religious services.
 
“Sometimes we need just one day where we don’t have to get out of the house at nine.”
 
Deanna Troust has a media job, while her husband, Vic Fernandez, is an official with a financial business. They have two daughters in elementary school. Like countless other parents across the country, the family is struggling to find a balance.
 
“It’s really challenging and with two careers and if they’re both, I always call them 'big jobs,' if your husband has a big job too, well, you’re just sort of filling in, five minutes here, ten minutes there, to try and kind of make it all work.”
 
Christian leaders realize that stressed-out families are not good for the future of church life in America. Reverend David Gray leads the Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, Maryland. He believes religious faith can be part of the solution.
 
“In our congregation, we have a lot of people who are stressed at work. It comes from living in the D.C. area. It comes from a lot of professionals in the congregation. And so when I look out in the pews I need to deal with the stress that they are facing.”
 
Reverend Gray recently led a discussion on the subject at the New America Foundation, a public policy research organization. Newspaper reporter Brigid Schulte took part in the discussion. Ms. Schulte is writing a book about the time pressure on American families.  

“We work among the most hours of any country in the world. We take the fewest days of vacation of any country in the world.”

And America is the only major industrialized society with no paid parental leave.

“There is such a feeling of ambivalence about whether mothers should work in this country, which is evidenced by the fact that we don’t have policies to support them. There’s a feeling that every minute that you are not at work you better be with your child.”


In a new book, Reverend David Gray argues that religious groups need to be part of the fight for workplace flexibility. He says the future of churches like his depends on young families. The average age of Presbyterians is 61.
 
“So if a church is going to attract that target audience, it’s got to understand work-life imbalance.”

The Fernandez-Trousts are Presbyterians and exactly the kind of family his church is trying to interest. Deanna Troust says even with all that is going on with her the family, they still make it to church events at least once or twice a month.

“When I share with people that we go to church, often the response is, 'Wow, that’s so impressive,' rather than, 'Oh, that’s important. Oh Of course that’s we do.’ And it’s almost like, again, they're viewing it as another thing on the schedule that’s difficult to make happen.”

But church is one of the few places where Deanna Troust finds time for herself.

Reverend Gray says the goal of American churches has to be to become a haven for stressed-out parents, instead of just another burden.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees
 
Nancy Wilson, left, and her sister Ann of the band HeartNancy Wilson, left, and her sister Ann of the band Heart
x
Nancy Wilson, left, and her sister Ann of the band Heart
Nancy Wilson, left, and her sister Ann of the band Heart
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will announce its newest members in several weeks. This year, for the first time ever, members of the public were permitted to vote for their favorites. The voting was held online at rollingstone.com.
 
The 15 nominated musical acts include Randy Newman, Heart, and Public Enemy.  Faith Lapidus explores the histories and music of these performers.
 
That is “Dreamboat Annie” from the rock and roll band Heart. Sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson formed the group almost 35 years ago. Known as the “Queens of Rock and Roll,” these women are still making music.
 
Nancy Wilson is a gifted guitar player. Ann Wilson has one of the best voices in rock and roll. Together, they have sold more than 35 million albums worldwide. They also shared 20 top 10 singles. One of them was “Magic Man.”
 
Public Enemy's Chuck-D, left, and Flavor Flav performing in 2007Public Enemy's Chuck-D, left, and Flavor Flav performing in 2007
x
Public Enemy's Chuck-D, left, and Flavor Flav performing in 2007
Public Enemy's Chuck-D, left, and Flavor Flav performing in 2007
Public Enemy is as loved for its sound as for its message. MC Chuck D is the leader of the hip-hop group. His rhymes tell of the struggles of the black community and the justice it deserves. Public Enemy album titles alone are powerful social commentary. They have names like “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back” and “Fear of a Black Planet.”
 
“Fight the Power” is one of Public Enemy’s most famous songs. It was used in the Spike Lee film “Do the Right Thing.”
 
Randy Newman also gives voice to the social and political issues of the day. The 69 year old singer-songwriter from Los Angeles has made funny songs, touching songs, and songs deeply critical of the world around him.
 
Randy Newman performing earlier this yearRandy Newman performing earlier this year
x
Randy Newman performing earlier this year
Randy Newman performing earlier this year
Randy Newman spent much of his childhood in New Orleans, Louisiana. His 1974 album “Good Ole Boys” is mainly an exploration of active racism in America’s Deep South and the quiet acceptance of it in the northern states.

But there is also a deeply moving love song on “Good Ole Boys.” In “Marie,” he sings of a man with many failings and his feelings for the woman who has suffered them.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Rick from: Italy
12/09/2012 6:29 PM
The nation of jazz. Many thanks VOA


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
12/09/2012 2:08 AM
I agree American workers are one of the busiest people in the world. They may be stressed-out at works and raising children. Mothers will no lomger go back to stay-at-home women. But this was my understanding that there are many social supports for women to work equally to men. Is it true you don't have policies to support working mothers? May I ask what do you mean by paid parental leave? Is it different from simple paid leave?

It is my unexpected story that American workers are not so socially supported that they can have their own free time even during raising children. Yey, I suppose what this article wants to tell about are the status and role of current American churches. It seems Attending congregations has offered not a heaven to relieve their anxiety but a burden to volunteer services. Sitting in the pews seems have been just formal. But now churches are changing. I wonder how much rate of Christians go to church every Sunday in America.


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
12/09/2012 12:49 AM
Eventhough I'm not so much interested in music, the melody of take five is famliar even to me. I've learned this song is a Dave Brubeck's work and the first million sellar of Jazz albums. Thank you for your great works and I heartilly mourn you.


by: meilia from: sumbar. indonesia
12/08/2012 12:15 PM
Thank you VOA study english. I loved it


by: ziyue from: Japan
12/08/2012 11:34 AM
In "Christopher Cruise has more on the life and work of this great American artist." the meaning of Christopher Cruise ?

In Response

by: Charlotte_hc from: China
12/11/2012 3:04 AM
I think you do not hear / read VOA frequently...He is one of the host in VOA programme.


by: Awaludin from: padang, indonesia
12/08/2012 12:07 AM
VOA, thanks for the article....


by: Seiichi Kyoya from: Japan
12/07/2012 11:50 AM
Pray for Dave Brubeck's soul. Heaven will be more jazzy place I guess...

Learn with The News

  • Audio Gunman Identified in Canadian Capital

    Also, UN human rights officials have called on China to guarantee open elections in Hong Kong. And, an attack in southwest Pakistan kills 11 people. WHO advises against Ebola travel bans. | In the News More

  • Tiny Police Cameras Oakland

    Video US Police Increase Use of Body Cameras

    Police officers in Washington, DC, and New York City are wearing cameras on their bodies as part of a test. The goal of the program is to reduce the use of force by officers and lower the number of criticisms from citizens. Police officers in many smaller communities are already doing so. More

  • General view of the city of Luxembourg in this picture taken on November 20, 2012.

    Audio Luxembourg Set to End Bank Secrecy

    European Union finance ministers have reached an agreement that will make it more difficult for tax avoiders to hide their money. The new legislation was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. Countries known as tax havens had blocked the bank secrecy laws. More

  • Armed officers approach Parliament Hilll following a shooting incident in Ottawa, Oct. 22, 2014.

    Video Deadly Attack Shocks Canada's Capital

    Also, Kurdish lawmakers in Iraq vote to send Kurdish forces to the Syrian town of Kobani. China said 43 people tested for possible Ebola infection do not have the virus. Russia and Ukraine are still working to reach an agreement on Ukraine's payments for natural Gas. More

  • FBI Director James Comey speaks about the impact of technology on law enforcement, Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, at Brookings Institution in Washington.

    Audio Apple, FBI Battle Over Privacy Rules

    Apple recently said it was increasing security settings on its latest operating system for the company’s wireless devices. Apple said its new encryption rules are designed to protect users from search and seizure of their iPhones. But the changes are of concern to federal investigators. More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Oscar de la Renta Dressed First Ladies and Movie Stars

    Clothing designer Oscar de la Renta died Monday at his home in the American state of Connecticut. He was 82 years old. His wife said he died of problems related to cancer. Mr. de la Renta dressed American movie stars and first ladies such as Jacqueline Kennedy, Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton. More

  • Audio Iron Ships Clash at Sea

    The American Civil War was fought not only on land, but at sea. In 1862, Confederate and Union forces fought a new kind of navy battle in waters off Hampton Roads, Virginia. It was the first battle between iron ships. On the Confederate side was a ship called the Virginia. | The Making of a Nation More

  • Audio San Francisco Radio Stations Ban Lorde's 'Royals'

    The California baseball team, San Francisco Giants, is playing the Kansas City Royals for the 2014 Major League Baseball championship, the World Series. Two radio stations in San Francisco banned the hit song "Royals." In return, another station in Kansas City chose to play the song once every hour. More

  • A neurovascular unit on a chip being developed by Vanderbilt University researchers. (Vanderbilt University Photo/John Wikswo)

    Video Scientists Design Chips to Act Like Human Organs

    Testing new drugs for safety and effectiveness is a costly process in the United States. It also can take a lot of time. Some scientists are now designing silicon computer chips that act like human organs. The scientists think they have found a way to make the process faster and more economical. More

  • Brain Resource Infographic

    Audio Dealing with Distractions and Overreactions

    Five million American children and teenagers have Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD. ADHD makes it difficult - if not impossible - to stay with a duty until it is complete. Katherine Ellison knows the problem well. | Health Report More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs