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    thoughts on “LGBT

    1. Phil Bondi says:

      Excellent reviews. Congrats.

    2. I think this is a real great post.Much thanks again. Will read on…

      I think this is a real great post.Much thanks again. Will read on…

    3. Joseph Caulkins says:

      Thank you Scott. I really appreciate your encouragement very much! Hope you and Susan can attend our Cirque des Voix March 13-14. Lots of new music and composers that you may enjoy very much and April 18 we will perform works from Mozart’s final year, both with Key Chorale. Hope you can attend one or both!

    4. Joe has gotten us to pull together as a team. Always a joy!

    5. Scott Cornwell says:

      Congratulations Joe! Well done. We think of you and Michelle often and can’t wait to hear another concert. I often hear music by both Karl Jenkins and Morten Lauridsen on Classical South Florida. You introduced us to both of these giants, and we are so thankful. We await the next installment in our classical education. Best wishes, Scott and Susan

    6. Lynne Meskey says:

      Hi Joe–That was completely engrossing–I think I can breathe now! So glad you turned back, although I’m sure you’ll be back there an other time. The photos are glorious–makes it easy to understand the conditions. Glad you & Michelle are back in the good ole’ USA!—-Lynne

    7. Whew! Thank you for deciding on ‘safe.’

    8. Joseph Caulkins says:

      Glad you enjoyed it! Looking forward to rehearsals coming up very soon!

    9. Christian Vivet says:

      It’s all about balance, always! Great writing, my friend.

    10. sarasotab says:

      Well written and engrossing. I could feel the tension. Glad you made the right decision. See you in rehearsal.

    11. Nancy Morris says:


    12. Joseph Caulkins says:

      It was my honor and privilege to read the story, particularly after recently meeting and getting to know your grandfather first-hand. Previously, I’d realized he was something of a character, but upon noticing the mementos and the pictures on his walls and inquiring about them, he proceeded to give me a — relatively — short description of his life and adventures. I was more than somewhat enthralled and had visions of a lifetime spanning an era of honkytonks, smoky bars, juke joints and dance halls form the late thirties to god-knows-when. Your description of Johnny as a combination of Johnny Cash, Wayne Newton and a rodeo clown — while accurate — misses some of the not-so-subtelties and nuances of his obstreperous, rowdy, rambunctious, somewhat vociferous character. Jezzus CChrist!!!

      Anyway, I liked him greatly. I could easily see a book, screenplay or maybe even a documentary about him, his life and his adventures and mis-adventures. Thanks for an entertaining read and a bit of bio on a truly fascinating character and a dying breed, indeed.

      David S. Pyle

    13. Deanna Nelson says:


    14. Delightful and fun reading!

    15. Paul Moeller says:

      That’s really an amazing story Michele! I really like the way you described it. It was as if the inner journey was greater than the outer… As it often is:)

    16. Sies ravestijn says:

      Hi Michelle. Happy Birthday today !!! Fifty’s is great !! I’m having a busy summer. Had my 2 grand kids for 10 days, now waiting for my friends from Holland,[they’ll be here in 2 hours] who will be here for 24 days and then I’ll fly to Holland for 19 days. I know how great France is. Enjoy. Hug for you and Joe. Love Sies

    17. Glenn Breitzig says:

      May you always be so content!! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy and HB
      Shirley & Glenn

    18. Rosemary Wallace says:

      Michelle, YOU GO GIRL…!!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY – enjoyed reading about your adventures..

    19. Michelle Caulkins says:

      Thank you Nancy for keeping tabs on me 🙂

    20. Nancy Morris says:

      Happy 50 and Happy Climbing! Thanks for the pics too! Nancy Morris

    21. Joseph Caulkins says:

      Pumped to Hear from Tricia Stoudt that her choir got an excellent and a superior ratings at MPA!!
      Congrats everyone and thanks for your hard work!

    22. Joseph Caulkins says:

      Dear Eva, Thank you for sharing your story. My wife and I visited Saint-Sulpice while we were on a choir tour in the early morning hours before we had to leave for a concert south of Paris. Wished we could have heard a concert there! So many times we focus on the excellence in music, which is very important, but we can overlook that music is meant to be experienced by all levels of singers and instrumentalists. We can’t overestimate the power of music and its ability to touch us all – even challenged singers! Looking forward to our next session of the “Off-Key” Chorale next fall.

    23. Eva T. Slane says:

      Joseph, Last June I was in Paris for a brief visit with friends. We attended a concert of the VERDI REQUIEM conducted by Hugues Reiner (not known to us but with very impressive European credits) in the lovely Eglise Saint-Sulpice Cathedral. It was not until after the concert that we found out that the Chorus was made up of “challenged” singers. I do not remember the specific challenges they had, but I am sure many of them had Parkinson’s. It was a remarkable Concert of a very challenging piece of music. The work that the ASOLO in conjunction with Children’s Haven and Community with their annual KALEIDOSCOPE Project has done for many years has been powerful and touching. The program has expanded into several area schools in Bradenton and Sarasota. The healing power of all the Arts is astounding, and essential to be available to our Youth. I commend you and Leigh Dougherty Ross with your Choral Group. How can we convince our political leaders of this?

    24. Joseph Caulkins says:

      Thank you so much Julie for your beautiful words of encouragement! It always seems when you are giving back that it is so easy to underestimate the importance of the act and and the rewards that follow.

    25. Fllorence Robinson says:

      Joseph< I would still put you up against Tchaikowsky to spot a singable melody and exploit it in a most winsome way, from folk who LOVE to try harder for you.

    26. Joseph Caulkins says:

      Thank you Julie, that is very kind!!

    27. Julie Cook Ramirez says:

      Joe, you are an inspiration to us all!

    28. Joe Waldron says:

      It turns out that Innovation, Creativity, Collaboration, and Community are at work in the “Off-Key” Chorale sessions as well! As we all give ourselves over to the moment, singing with joy and breathing with purpose, real work is getting done to strengthen the bodies and spirits of our fine participants. Thanks so much for providing this venue to benefit every singer involved in this endeavor.

    29. Julie Cook Ramirez says:

      These kinds of endeavors are just one of the many reasons I admire you so much, Joe. Not only are you the most amazing musical director/conductor I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, but you care passionately about giving back to the community. You have such a deep understanding of the power of music to transform lives and you use that knowledge, along with your immense skills and talents, to make a real, tangible difference in peoples’ lives. (Often, the lives of those who need it the most.) The Off Key Chorale is a wonderful endeavor and I applaud you for undertaking this initiative. The world needs more people like you, my friend!

    30. Ahh, my dear friend Christian – foie gras is so plentiful here that I need not prepare that myself. Bloc & mi-cuit are our favorites, but the patès and rillettes are just as devine. Who would ever have guessed this girl who cut her gastronimic teeth on bratwurst and kraut would get so deeply in touch with the thin, faint line of French in her heritage. Ooh la la!

    31. Now that we’re back stateside, those wines are all nestled quietly in their sleepy wine cellar…….sleep well and age gracefully dear wines.

    32. Really? Well, thank you Deanna. We’re going to cross fingers that all future travel experiences are smooth sailing. Joseph was my rock and strength!

    33. Thank you for your comments, Steve and Marty. I hope that you’ll stay tuned for my 2014 Summer in France blog posts. Until then; Drink deeply from the goblet of life. Cheers!

    34. Joseph Caulkins says:

      Thank you Mic! My time in the mountains is an much spiritual as anything else. Hours and hours of single mindedness thought is something I hope I can bring back from my mountain experiences into daily life. Still a challenge, yet to be conquered. The wound is doing well and almost back to normal!

    35. Mic Jessogne says:

      This was a really fantastic journal of what is going to be an adventure that you will never forget. I loved reading every word and know that this type of experience just adds to the appreciation and awe that you already have for nature and for mountains! When you said “much of mountaineering is having a certain comfort with suffering,” I was really feeling exactly what you wanted to relay in thought. Loved this!!! By the way, hope the calf is healing…ouch!

    36. Duke says:

      Congratulations on summitting Joe! Way to go after it! I’m going to attempt the Matterhorn the first week in September. Thanks for documenting your adventures! Happy climbing!

    37. Joseph Caulkins says:

      Hi Duke. Yes, I did summit July 31. We had a summer storm dump more than a meter of snow the day before and still managed to make it. Only 22 made it that day, and even with the poor conditions, the gear list was perfect. I have a more recent blog about the climb you might enjoy. Best of luck as it was a fantastic climb in one of the most beatiful places in the Alps. Let me know how the climb goes!

    38. Joseph Caulkins says:

      Thanks Dick and Marnie! It has been an amazing summer and certainly the week in Switzerland was a highlight. The climbing in Fort Myers is pretty slim. I like the idea of the church. Maybe a steeple summit is in my future..

    39. Joseph Caulkins says:

      Hey Phil, great to hear from you. I can’t recommend enough the Banhoff after summiting the Matterhorn. What an amazing view from a very special place. A week of climbing in the Swiss Alps certainly delivered with some unforgettable experiences and a few surprises along the way. Best to you and Candy!

    40. Joseph Caulkins says:

      Thanks Fred, sweaty palms is what I was shooting for! I appreciate it, that’s saying a lot from a fellow climber. How did your climb go?

    41. Fred R says:

      Joe, Congratulations. Absolutely loved the post and in a nod to your writing, my palms were sweating the whole time. Cheers my friend!!!

    42. Joseph Caulkins says:

      Thank you Julie. I hit the jackpot with Michelle. I couldn’t ask for a more loving and caring partner in life for sure.

    43. Joseph Caulkins says:

      Jerry, so nice to hear from you after all these years. Great times with the Proud Image Chorus and all the guys back then. Glad you enjoyed it. I have to say I haven’t done Pikes Peak – You got me on that one!

    44. Joseph Caulkins says:

      Thank you Bob for sharing this with your family as well. So glad you all enjoyed it! Looking forward to the start of the season in a few weeks and the peaks Key Chorale will be climbing this year.

    45. Kathy Grey says:

      I’m in awe. That’s all I can say.

    46. phil hoffman says:

      Fantastic! I’m proud of you and even prouder of the Maestro for doing the Matterhorn. Candy and I were in Zermatt with it’s unbelievable beauty back in 1968. We visited, but did not stay, at the Bahnhof Hotel. I’m reliving some of it right now. Phil Hoffman

    47. Duke says:

      Hi Joe, stumbled upon this site while I was looking for gear list to bring to the Matterhorn for the hornli ridge. Have you climbed it yet? If so, would you modify your list? Thank you!

    48. Joseph says:

      Kilimanjaro perhaps….whatever you do it will be fantastico!

    49. Robert Barr says:

      Wow, you did it! Read the entire episode aloud to wife and son at dinner last night. They were mesmerized and the pictures fit perfectly with the narrative. Great storyl

    50. Joseph Caulkins says:

      Thanks for following along Nancy. So awesome to be able to share this great trip with you and others.

    51. Joseph Caulkins says:

      Thanks Laura. The crampon wound is healing pretty well. My climbing friends are hoping for a big scar so I can say, “Oh yeah little Timmy that was ffom when I climbed the Matterhorn.” Don’t know what’s up for next trip. This will be hard to top. Any thoughts?

    52. Jerry Easter says:

      Joe, your commentary was very well written and kept me with you all the way to Michelle and the glasses of champaign. The pictures are superb, too! I’ve made it up 14,000 feet to Pikes Peak, but that is small stuff when you rude to the top in your car or the cog railway. Thanks for the adventure. Let’s sing a tag someday !

    53. Julie Cook Ramirez says:

      Congratulations on your latest accomplishment, Joe. You ARE truly amazing. And congratulations to you and Michelle on 26 years of wedded bliss. Yours is certainly a deep, enduring love.

    54. Nancy Morris says:

      I am overjoyed to have been able to read and follow along on this moumental adventure. Wow! you are a truly amazing individual. Thank you for sharing!

    55. Laura Hillstad says:

      Wow..l gasped when I read about the crampon. It makes the cut on my finger seem like child’s play. You ROCK Joe! Can’t imagine how you’ll ever top this event!

    56. Linda benoit says:

      Truly amazing…wonderful to read of how joyful it was for you and Michelle…

    57. This has had to be the most exciting season for you both to be in and out of your wonderful French home. What stories you’ll have to tell all your friends when you get back to Florida. From the number of times we’ve come to visit you we’ve never seen a mountain in and around Fort Myers so Joe, the mountain man, will have to be content climbing the outside of your condo. Maybe the face of the church or just click on the mountains and dream of next year. As for you, a bed sheet with a couple of ropes isn’t going to work off your lanai so don’t try it please. You are both so loved….but you know that!
      Hugs and love
      mom and dad

    58. Michelle caulkins says:

      Thanks to all my followers this summer. Please share my page with your friends to enlarge my subscriber base 🙂 Michelle

    59. Linda benoit says:

      What an exciting adventure…reading your blog is always so interesting…so glad you have had such a wonderful summer…it certainly refreshes your soul…

    60. Nancy Morris says:

      I am breathless and teary eyed reading this, what a wonderful way to share the journey.

    61. Joseph Caulkins says:

      Hi Tom and Jane, wonderful to hear from you. Great news, the ascent was successful and it was as expected an incredible climb. We climbed after more than three feet of snow nearly shut down the route. I will have the blog with pictures and videos posted this week. Love to you both!

    62. Tom Toftey says:

      I’ll be hiking with you, Joe, via your blog — and minus that heavy pack and ice pick. What a wonderful adventure lies ahead! Jane and I hiked as high up the Matterhorn as we were allowed when we finished college, so your climb has special meaning for us. What majesty! What wonder! Be safe, my friend.

    63. Laura Hillstad says:

      My heart is a flutter thinking about what you are going to accomplish. I love that your dreams and aspirations are as big as the Matterhorn. Well played, Mystro, well played!

    64. Joseph Caulkins says:

      Thank you Nancy! All the preparation, planning, and dreaming are about done – now it’s time to climb. A little like when all the rehearsals are done and now it is just time to enjoy the experience. All the best!!

    65. Joseph Caulkins says:

      Thank you Marty! I appreciate the wishes and am really looking forward to this adventure for sure!

    66. Marty Remis says:

      If you climb as well as you conduct and write, Joe, you should be just fine on this climb!!

    67. Nancy Morris says:

      My heart and my prayers are with you as you make this monumental climb. Can’t wait to hear all about it when you and Michelle return to the USA and to see what new climbs you will be challenging Key Chorale with.

    68. Winifred Schroeder says:

      So proud of you Michelle and Joe for sharing your wonderful music with the French people. Thank you for sharing.

    69. sarasotab says:

      Lovely, what a wonderful experience.

    70. Joseph Caulkins says:

      Thanks Tony! Miss you and hope you are doing well!

    71. Cliff Roles says:

      It’s always fun reading about your exploits in France – break a leg for “Allpns enfants”…! You should start writing more when you get back as well!
      See you in October – I’m off on walkabout (not to France this time) in two weeks myself and will return to Sarasota in late September.
      My love to you both!


    72. Tony DiCosta says:

      You guys are making me jealous for a major change of scenery! (Nice job of writing, btw.)

    73. Linda benoit says:

      Wonderful chance to try new things…enjoy…

    74. Christian Vivet says:

      Awesome writing! Great Pics! Don’t forget Foie gras for your next cooking endeavour!

    75. Christian Vivet says:

      And what do the poor people do during their time off?

    76. Ruth Ellis says:

      Whew! I was exhausted just from reading about the effort it took to get there! Hopefully by now you are relaxing and all settled in for a nice summer. I’m just catching up on your blog since I’ve been working. More on that when you are back here. For now, we’ll stick to YOUR adventures!


    77. Linda benoit says:

      Ah, living vicariously by your lovely, descriptive words…enjoy, enjoy, enjoy…

    78. Joseph Caulkins says:

      Fred, Rob and I stood atop Wyoming’s incredible Grand Teton in 2010 . It was a great trip for sure. HEY Fred what’s the big objective this summer?

    79. Joseph Caulkins says:

      The sunshine has been making more appearances this past week and the flowers are really giving the village a wamth hard to put into words.

    80. Linda benoit says:

      Looked Axat up on Google maps and see that it is such a lovely village…thanks for writing about all your doings there…hope you get more sunshine and warmth…

    81. Joseph Caulkins says:

      Linda so happy to share my love of the moutains! Some of my most amazing moments have been surrounded by the incredible beauty that these remote corners of the planet offer. Mountaineering requires a certain threshlold of suffering and these blogs are suffer-free!

    82. fred r says:

      Love it Joe. I too am cleaning out the pipes for an alpine adventure later this summer. Not as majestic as The Matterhorn but one that requires me to be in better shape for sure. Train and climb safe my friend!!!!!

    83. Linda benoit says:

      Nice to live vicariously through you…no equipment, no stress, no cold…must be this Florida weather…enjoy..

    84. Michelle Caulkins says:

      Ahhh, vrai Christian. Nous allons effort pour se détendre davantage.

    85. Laura says:

      It always amazes me how giving fresh eggs to someone makes their day. I must have pictures of the “brood” at Armand’s and Bernard’s house.

    86. Christian Vivet says:

      La vie est belle mais courte! reposez-vous et bientot vous trouverez le chemin du bonheur! (bonner?)

    87. Michelle says:

      You know…that just might be worth considering Christian. Well, and then there is the freezing water, the sharks, and the sheer length – so, maybe not. (hee hee) – Michelle

    88. Michelle Caulkins says:

      It was my bag, Mari – that story will be posted next. Stay tuned – Michelle

    89. Lynne Meskey says:

      Hi Joe & Michelle–I will be awaiting all installments of future ‘blog’–LOVE IT!! Can’t believe you had to go through all this just to get there–you guys are TOUGH!! But your place must have looked wonderful–
      fire, cheese,baguette–what more could one want?? Have a divine summer!!! L

    90. Mari Vivet says:

      Wow Michelle you are a trooper as is Joe! Whose bag got lost yours or his? Mari

    91. Christian Vivet says:

      Holly Guacamole! Not what I call smooth sailing! You’re tough! Next year, make it easy on yourself and try swimming across the atlantic. It might be easier!

    92. Linda benoit says:

      Glad you finally arrived at a peaceful destination…have a great summer…love reading about your adventures…

    93. Deanna Nelson says:

      You make an enroute nightmare sound like fun.

    94. Steve and Marty says:

      Sounds absolutely glorious – even better than when you first described it to us. 🙂

    95. Michelle Caulkins says:

      Many people ask how I’m able to cope with the stresses of Joe’s mountaineering hobby. As a loving spouse the best thing I can offer Joe is my support, encouragement, and understanding. Once he starts a climb, my emotions do nothing to alter the outcome of the climb~so worry is useless. I put my trust in his planning, his abilities, his sound judgement, and our love. (ps. I’m all in favor of traveling with a French Chef…Christian, you’re welcome anytime.)

    96. […] To read the entire article Click Here.      If you enjoyed this article you might enjoy reading Mountain Top Experience in Southwest Florida – Click Here […]

    97. Joseph Caulkins says:

      Thanks Laura. We are excited about our new commission from Ola Gjeilo for choir, piano, string quartet, and guitar for next season. Ola will be in Sarasota to help us make the premiere even more spectacular!

    98. Laura Hillstad says:

      ” left the audience in awe and anticipation of hearing more in coming programs” what a great description of the performance of Key Chorale.

    99. Joseph Caulkins says:

      Thank you Tony. My hope was that through this Blog I could write in such a way that the non-climbers could get some insight to many of the things that go into climbing and catch a glimpse of what makes this hobby so spectacular. I am working on one that will give you a sense of what the climb will be like, kind of a virtual climb if you will. Glad you liked the video, it was really cool to see the mountain from that perspective and gives you a great sense of the mountain. Definitely getting down in mandatory. Ed has that correct for sure!

    100. Tony DiCosta says:

      Nice blog entry, Joseph. I particularly liked the inclusion of the video as it really helped to visualize not just the mountain, but the route you will be taking. Thanks, also, for writing at a level that even a non-climber could understand. I am looking forward to following your travels and your final ascent. Just remember what Ed Viesters says: “Getting to the top is optional, getting down is mandatory.” Thanks for sharing.

    101. Joseph Caulkins says:

      Christian, we may need an excellent French Chef for the trip.

    102. Christian Vivet says:

      The Hornli ridge is THE way to go! Wow!

    103. […] To read the entire article Click Here.      If you enjoyed this article you might enjoy reading Mountain Top Experience in Southwest Florida – Click Here […]

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    105. Joseph Caulkins says:

      Cynthia, So wonderful of you to share the story of your mother. I find the courage expressed through my new friends with Parkinson’s to be so amazing. They are diagnosed with a degenerating disease, but yet they inspire me in ways I could have never appreciated before this experience. To see the joy in their faces, hear their improvement each week, and celebrate with them along the way is a gift I could never have understood until now. Thank you so much for your beautiful and heartfelt words. We are planning another session in January, I hope you can come and join in a rehearsal or two. I think you would find it a wonderful way to honor your mother. Love to you!

    106. Cynthia Sand says:

      Joe, having lived through the disease with my mother, I know too well how it steals the voice and facial expressions. What a fabulous way you have found to ignite the desire and share the knowledge to push beyond the physical limits. Always a fan of yours, I think this makes me most proud of you. Thank you for all that you do. I wish my mom had had the good fortune to be lifted up by your music. If I can sing with you all in her memory, I’d love to do so. I can’t think of a better way to honor her on this November 23rd, the 11th anniversary of a death that freed her from the paralysis of Parkinsons. Bravo and bless you, Maestro.

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