Recently I recalled that a major American news organization had polled the public on whether they believed in angels.

[Quote]Poll: Nearly 8 in 10 Americans believe in angels

Angels don’t just sing at Christmastime. For most Americans, they’re a year-round presence. A new Associated Press-GfK poll shows that 77 percent of adults believe these ethereal beings are real.

Belief is primarily tied to religion, with 88 percent of Christians, 95 percent of evangelical Christians and 94 percent of those who attend weekly religious services of any sort saying they believe in angels.

But belief in angels is fairly widespread even among the less religious. A majority of non-Christians think angels exist, as do more than 4 in 10 of those who never attend religious services.

Beyond the religious gap, women are more likely than men to believe angels are real, and those over 30 are more apt than younger adults to think they exist.

The finding mirrors a 2006 AP-AOL poll, which found 81 percent believed in angels.

Previous polling has found the public a bit more likely to believe in God, but far less likely to believe in other other-worldly beings. In May, 92 percent of adults told Gallup pollsters they believed in God. But just 34 percent in an AP-Ipsos poll in 2007 said they believed in ghosts or UFOs.

The AP-GfK Poll was conducted Dec. 8-12 and is based on interviews with 1,000 adults nationally. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points. [End Quote].

There are, of course, popular songs which encapsulate the concepts of angelhood especially as to the protection of innocent children. Here’s one of the most fitting examples.


[If this fails to play, my apologies. Please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7RCsdSGQUc%5D

Curmudgeon that I am, nonetheless, I tend to be of the ‘Show-Me’ disposition. Perhaps that comes from having lived next door to the State of Missouri, a state which has to be the State of Skeptics.

Why else would they refer to themselves as The Show-Me State?

[Missouri highlighted in red from USA map]

MOShowMeStateSign[Missouri road sign]

After all, Missouri is the State which famously produced many of those who are naturally questioning, hard-headed ‘rationalists’.

Consider Samuel Clemens (nom de plum or aka Mark Twain) who toured the world, was entertained by royalty and became a wonderful novelist of a genre more popular than ever.  What other author would deign to offer this as a description of himself and his works:

High and fine literature is wine, & mine is only water; but everybody likes water.

It was on a New Years Days’ years ago when I decided that the town of Florida, Missouri’s most famous son got it absolutely right:

Now is the accepted time to make your regular, annual, good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual!

Pave on, Dear Readers, pave on!

How about the haberdasher, Harry S. Truman, who enlisted for service in World War I? He was commissioned as a 1st Lieutenant, Battery F, 2nd Field Artillery Regiment, Missouri National Guard, on 22 June 1917.

On 5 September 1917, Truman’s regiment went into into federal service as the 129th Field Artillery Regiment.  Truman was promoted to Captain on April 23, 1918.

Having commanded Battery D of the 129th Field Artillery in France during the War. Truman was honorably discharged on May 6, 1919. He received his commission as a Major in the Officers’ Reserve Corps in 1920. Truman remained an officer in the Field Artillery Reserve until he retired with the rank of Colonel on January 31, 1953

He went on to serve as Vice-President of the United States. Upon the death in April 1945 of his boss, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, this salty-tongued yet modest man became President of the United States.

Harry_Truman-H

It was he who made the decisions on how to, finally, end the long and viciously costly Second World War.

Of more modern times, there’s the hard-headed son of a distinguished family of lawyers and jurists who, at the tender age of 16, set out to make a name for himself in the broadcasting world.

Today and for the past 25 years, Rush Limbaugh’s daily radio program draws the nation’s record-largest audience for three hours each day, five days each week.

RushLimbaugh[Mr. Limbaugh pictured in his Excellence in Broadcasting Network suite at his microphone made of real gold]

He’s been wildly successful by not being either vague or shy!

So, yes, these men illustrate ‘Show-Me’ Mentalities, each and every one.  Whether Mr. Limbaugh is angels-agnostic, I cannot say, but almost assuredly Mark Twain would have been.

Since President Truman experienced ferocious combat in World War I, perhaps his views were less antagonistic.

In any case, for some reason, for me, angels have always had to be blondes or perhaps red-heads, but almost never brunettes.

AngelsGuardianTypes_LG

AngelsTraditionalSerenadeMaryChild

Being a lady angel has to be hard work. There’s also the matter of that slightly boring wardrobe of flowing white bedsheets.  Maybe they’re ‘gowns’.

Perhaps you truly practical gals would counter that these are ‘dependable’ attire.

Then again, all that flying around surely could become more than a bit, well, shall we say ‘immodest’?

Which takes us to consider… underwear.

One leading global retailer of ladies’ smalls or lingerie, Victoria’s Secret, seems to have taken angels to their hearts (and pocketbooks!) and offered ladies… and their men… lots of angelic if oftentimes sub-minimalist adornments.

AnglesVictoriasSecretModel[Victoria’s Secret model strutting her stuff as a modern-day angel]

Obviously, to really meet standards for true angelhood, skilled musicianship is the ne plus ultra of qualifications.

How many times have you ever seen a bongo-playing angel, or one who continually is sucking away, trying to soften one of the reeds for any of the woodwinds’ family?

Clarinet? Clearly not.

Flute? Forget it!

Bassoon? Bonkers even to consider it.

Yes, admittedly, you occasionally do see trumpets, but always what we (lapsed) trumpet players call Herald Trumpets, the long, thin kinds without keys and valves.

Eons ago, I opined to a neighbor lady who taught Sunday School at the local Baptist Church that it would look terrible for an angel to be blowing out her trumpet’s spit valve, and, thus, likely ruining God’s rugs with spittle and maybe even some valve oil too!

More proof for this sweet lady that, assuredly, I was not a Baptist, and assuring my having no chance to ever qualify as a good Baptist!

So, that leaves us musically with… what?  Something in the strings section, and with the small harp being most often portrayed.

Of course, when one sees a piano, one has to realize that one is really looking at an extremely heavy harp that requires whoever might play the beast to lie it down on its side.

Then, of course, you can’t play that beast while lying on the ground. What a mess that would make of those white flowing gowns in a rainstorm!  Talk about tracking mud all over Heaven! Yuk! 

Nope, the nearest thing for any modern angel is a harp that is designed to stand upright.

Indeed, I’m delighted to say I’ve finally not only found what is a wee blonde angel, but also one who knows quite a lot about playing the harp, sublimely!

I ‘found’ her in St. Petersburg.  [No, you insularly-minded Floridians, not yourSt. Pete’, and which to me is a far-too-overly-familiar way to address a Saint you’ve never met (and just may well never do so, in any case!)].

No, I mean what I’ll call the real St. Petersburg, one of the world’s most beautiful cities, bar none, the one on the European end of Russia, and which also abounds with some of the most angelic-looking blondes on the planet.Saint-Petersburg-Russia-HermitageMuseumThe Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

It’s a city that is a stone’s throw from Finland, another source of Nordic blondes.  But, any Finnish city is far less interesting than St. Petersburg in almost every way.

This poster from Vienna’s Junge Meister Zyklus (‘Young Master’s Cycle) competition in Vienna’s St. Francis of Assisi Church about two months ago gives my choice away.

Far better, enjoy the phenomenally beautiful technique of one whom I consider a true phenom, Alisa Sadikova, then age 10, as she played in the Small Hall of the St. Petersburg Philharmonia:


[If this does not play, my apologies. Please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDGLfJdtPI8

Russia’s latest gift to the constellation of the planet’s finest of musicians, Alisa Sadikova, is one truly gifted little girl.

AlisaSadikovaProfilewHarp  Her musical skills were first blindingly apparent at age five.

She began playing the harp with zero training and merely by listening – once – to a piece of music!

She debuted at New York’s Carnegie Hall at the age of seven.

St._Petersburg._Imperial_Conservatory._Theatre_Square.,_3.

Now, at just 12, Alisa studies at St. Petersburg’s State Conservatory Music School (above) previously known from Tsarist Imperial Russia days as the St. Petersburg Imperial Conservatory.

She’s already making waves in the classical music world.

‘When Olga Shevelevich heard five-year-old Alisa Sadikova play the harp six years ago, she knew she was in front of something extraordinary.

‘It was the first time the young girl had ever held a musical instrument and she was playing a piece that Shevelevich, a harpist and family friend, had taught her on the spot.

“I was struck with awe,” says Shevelevich who is now one of Sadikova’s music teachers. “I’m still struck with awe every time I hear her play. Only a genius can do what she does.”

When asked what she likes most about the harp, Alisa replies: “Everything. It’s the softest, most beautiful instrument.”

I, for one, could not agree more. Can you see my curmudgeonliness evaporating?!

Alisa’s parents, Mr. Sadikov and Mrs. Sadikova, have a child with staggering abilities and whose future will continue to amaze music-lovers everywhere.

Angels, of all sorts, not merely musicians, do indeed walk amongst us!

However, to find this highest of phenomenal talent, this time one needs to gaze into the eyes of a very young lassie indeed.  But, have we ever found one!

Now, is there anyone out there who seriously wants to quibble about my definition of an angel?!

No, I thought not.

Indeed, it is exactly as Alabama sang to us:

Sent down to us from somewhere up above.
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live
To teach us how to give
To guide us with a light of love.

And for me?  It’s now time to move on from my life-long worship of another former child-prodigy harpist who became a world phenom, the late Nicanor Zabaleta.  I’m sure he’s been upgraded to a wonderful harp of Ethereal proportions, and smiling down on a most genuine, beautiful talent.

Go in peace, and enjoy all of Life’s music!

—###—

Hat-Tips:

In the film-clip, young Alisa was playing a piece written by yet another former child prodigy, our third in a row, so to speak, the French-born, naturalized-American harpist, composer and teacher, the late Marcel Georges Lucien Grandjany (RIP).

If you replay that link and let it roll past the end of the piece, you will discover more wonders performed by this angel at an even earlier age.

CBS News http://www.cbsnews.com/news/poll-nearly-8-in-10-americans-believe-in-angels/ Twitter: @CBSNews Facebook: CBS News

Mark Twin Boyhood Home & Museum, Hannibal, Missouri Website: http://www.marktwainmuseum.org  Twitter: @MarkTwainMuseum  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mark-Twain-Boyhood-Home-Museum/97399285589

Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, 500 W. US Hwy. 24, Independence, MO 64050, truman.library@nara.gov; Tel: 816-268-8200 or 1-800-833-1225 http://www.trumanlibrary.org/ Twitter: @TrumanLibrary

Mr. Rush Limbaugh, http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/ Twitter: @RushLimbaugh
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RushLimbaugh

Alabama or The Alabama Band, Website: http://www.thealabamaband.com/welcome.html, Twitter: @TheAlabamaBand  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Alabama
Messrs. Teddy Gentry Website: http://www.TeddyGentry.com Twitter: @TeddyGentry
Jeff Cook, website: http://www.jeffcook-agb.com/ Twitter:@JeffCookandAGB
& Randy Owen Website: http://www.RandyOwen.com Twitter: @RandyOwenMusic

Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, 500 W. US Hwy. 24, Independence, MO 64050  truman.library@nara.gov; Tel: 816-268-8200 & 1-800-833-1225 Website: http://www.trumanlibrary.org/  Twitter: @TrumanLibrary

Mr. Rush Limbaugh, http://www.rushlimbaugh.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RushLimbaugh

Venia Audition Academy & Promotion, Vienna, Austria. In 1996 came the foundation of the VENIA Ensemble for Viennese Music.

The ensemble started as a women’s orchestra but later diversified into a Schrammel Quartett, salon orchestra and other formations which greatly enhanced the repertoire and activity.

Website: http://www.venia.at/index.php/en/promotion-en/young-masters-en/292-sadikova-pro-en
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/venia.at

Alisa Sniderman, Sydney Morning Herald http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/the-11yearold-harpist-only-a-genius-can-do-what-she-does-20140720-zu14r.html   Twitter: @smh   Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sydneymorningherald

The St. Petersburg State Conservatory (also known as The Rimsky-Korsakov St. Petersburg State Conservatory), Teatralnaya Square 3, Saint Petersburg, Russia 190000. Website: http://istud.conservatory.ru/  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/NA-Rimsky-Korsakov-Saint-Petersburg-State-Conservatory/153902794678209