When Baldassare (bahl-dah-sAHR-ee) Forestiere was 22 years old, he left his native Sicily for good, he had little more than dreams to help him along. But this dream, this grand vision in his mind, was enough to motivate him, to give him hope and direction. Baldassare wanted to own a citrus farm. He dreamt of sunny orchards, stretching as far as he could see in the hot sun.

He arrived in America in 1901, and obtained his first job was in Boston. It wasn’t where he wanted to stay: he was employed to help build the great city’s first subway tunnels.  His dream must have felt further away than ever in the cold, subterranean tunnels beneath the bustling city. But Baldassare was a man of great faith, so he worked and worked, living sparingly and saving everything he could for his own citrus farm.

Boston, circa 1900

It took five years, but he finally saved enough for a start. He headed to California, to a place called Fresno. According to the ads and word of mouth, the land was cheap and fertile, and the warm climate was perfect for growing fruit.

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This post is a little esoteric for Old Spirituals.

I was thinking about a kind of music I like. It’s not a genre but it has a particular quality to it. I call it conjuring music. When I want or need to focus all of my attention on something, I listen to conjuring music.

What makes it conjuring music?

It’s hard to say what quality sets it apart or makes it resonate with me, but I know it when I hear it. An old friend of mine used to love to get vinyl records because she said it felt like there was something besides the music there. That’s probably the best definition I could give for this music: it’s got something else in it.

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There are certain monuments that are so identified with the United States and so ingrained in our consciousness that it’s hard to believe they weren’t always there. But the Statue of Liberty and especially Mount Rushmore are relatively new to the country.

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