September 04, 2015 10:23 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 Countries Compete for Oil in the Arctic

    Russia, the United States and other countries are hurrying to control Earth’s northernmost territory: the Arctic. Environmentalists have denounced U.S. oil company projects in the Arctic. A former Shell Oil Company official says new kinds of energy can be developed without harming nature. More

  • Audio Weaker Chinese Economy Sends Shockwaves Worldwide

    As markets show weakness, U.S. and Japanese officials have called for talks on China’s economy at the G-20 meeting in Turkey. The U.S. government is urging China to be more open in discussing its policy plans. More

  • Audio Pro-Kurdish Party Could Decide Turkish Election Results

    Turkey will hold its second parliamentary elections this year on November 1. Political observers believe that the pro-Kurdish party HDP could sway the elections. The party won enough votes in June elections to enter parliament for the first time. More

  • Audio In Hungary, Migrants Seeking to Go West Clash with Police

    Also, China says it will reduce its military by more than 10 percent; South Korea, China and Japan agree to talks; Iran’s Supreme leader says parliament should decide on the nuclear deal with Western Powers, and the U.N. says 13 million children are out of school in the Middle East and N. Africa. More

  • Audio Pope Allows Priests to Forgive 'Sin of Abortion'

    Pope Francis is calling his priests to forgive women of the “sin of abortion” during the upcoming “Holy Year of Mercy.” He released a letter Tuesday saying many women have told him of the pain when ending a pregnancy. He wrote women agonized and told him “that they [had] no other option." More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Tanglewood Music Center Celebrates 75th Anniversary

    The world famous Boston Symphony Orchestra normally performs at Symphony Hall in Boston, Massachusetts. But its summer home is the Tanglewood Music Center in western Massachusetts. The Boston Symphony Orchestra also has a summer program at Tanglewood for young singers and musicians. More

  • Audio Are You Too Smart for Your Own Good?

    If you think being smart is always a good thing, think again. Smart has many meanings. Read on to find out what they are and the surprising origin of the term Smart Aleck. More

  • Audio Everyday Grammar: Fun with Future Tenses

    English has several ways to talk about the future. It's one of the most flexible tenses in English. We visit some popular songs for examples of the future forms. Read and listen as the Everyday Grammar team shows you six ways to express an event in the future. You will not regret it! More

  • Video A Horseman in the Sky by Ambrose Bierce

    Carter Druse lived in Virginia, a southern state during the American Civil War. He had a tough decision to make - should he join the Confederate Army or the Union Army? Read this classic American Story to find out what decision he makes, and what it means to his father and fellow soldiers. More

  • Audio Betty Azar, 'Rock Star' of English Grammar

    It all started with a question from a student. The year was 1965. Betty Azar was teaching her first English as a Second Language class at the University of Iowa. A student from the Middle East asked Ms. Azar, “Why can’t I put a in front of water?’ As in ‘I drank a water.’” More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner
Confessions of an English Learner blog

Tell us About Our Programs