Category Archives: My Day

Arts & AGEing KC

This is my Tiny Grama. She is pure joy and one of the greatest inspirations in my life. This week I taught my second songwriting class to a group of elders at her retirement home. It’s a program through the not-for-profit organization Arts & AGEing KC and its hands-down my favorite job I’ve ever had in my entire life. The general idea is to not just perform art FOR seniors, but to get them to participate in art. It was just coincidence that I was placed at Tiny’s community… or divine universal intervention… whichever it is, I am so grateful. After each class I have walked away feeling joyful, fulfilled, and like I am the student sitting at the feet of my elders. At the end of the next few weeks, we’ll have a song that we will have all written together.

Pictured: Waunita (Ford) Felts – March 2, 2017 holding a picture of her mother helping her take her first steps. Circ. 1927. Parkville, Missouri. 

Home Sweet Home – Making Connections

A sign that reads “Home Sweet Home” hangs in the background of one of my favorite pictures in the world. It’s a black and white photo taken by the Department of Reclamation in the early 1940’s. It’s my family making music. Great-Grandpa Arley Delp with banjo in hand, along side his only two daughters (among many sons), Delores on piano and Vernice (my grandmother) on trombone. The picture says so much; captures more than a thousand words. First, it shows a family bond through music, a bond that is as beautiful as a perfect sunrise. The sign on the wall indicates a certain amount of humble pride for the home that they worked so hard to build — and build it by hand they did, one board, one apple tree at a time. The sheet music at the piano shows that there was an effort and skill in learning music on the young woman’s part (the story goes Grandpa Delp didn’t know a lick about reading music or theory.  He just knew what sounded good.) It also shows an equality in the mindset of the family – women in music for one, and two — a woman playing trombone was almost unheard of in those days. A rarity at best.

Home Sweet Home - Banjo Trombone Piano - Arley Vernice Delores Delp

I also look at this photo and think, “what does this mean for me? How did this moment captured on film affect my life?” For starters this is my photographic Truth that I am at least a fourth-generation music maker. It’s a piece of the evidence that tells me I am on my authentic path. It connects the memories that I have of sitting in the living room with my Grandma either listening to her make music, taking her instruction on how to hear one more note in the sound, or just soaking in the pride I felt seeing her smile when I shared a song with her. It explains why one of her biggest wishes in life was for her children and grandchildren to play music together. It all makes sense now. These connections are precious and real. This picture makes all of that tangible for me – something I can see with my eyes to go with everything I’ve felt in my heart for years.

I think connections are generally what people need and desire in life. Whether they know it or not, or would admit to it or not, a sense of belonging is crucial in building self-worth and value. This thought is partly inspired by a conversation I had yesterday with an employee at the Jesse James Bank Museum in Liberty, Missouri. If she had a nickle for every person that wandered into that museum claiming to be related to Jesse James…  Maybe some of them are, many of them certainly are not, but at the root of it, there’s the desired feeling of connection. To be a part of something tells us that we’re not alone.  

And that’s just one of the many reasons I share my love affair with music. Even if only a single note is played, it makes its way through the air, vibrating each particle along the way, present with the very moment, full-circle, from the heart of the source to the heart of the receiver. With each heartbeat, it sends that energy right back out to the world for another moment waiting to be grasped. Connection made.

Many of my family members are out makin’ music in the word today.  Give ’em a listen!

Kim Rausch McLaws (my sister) – Video of  “Stars Fell on Alabama” duet with Narciso Lobo

Kent Rausch (my uncle) – Vine Street Rumble; New Red Onion Jazz Babies 

Natalie McLaws (my niece) – Video of “A Song About Parkville.” Check out her BandCamp page!

Collin Rausch & Kyle Rausch (my cousins) – Shy Boys – BandCamp

Ethan Ridings (cousin) – Ethan Ridings Band

Anthony Gropper (cousin) – The Student Loans

And of course… let’s not forget one of the few things I enjoy bragging about, my 8th cousin 3 times removed, Mr. Waylon Jennings!  🙂

Happy connecting & music makin’, folks!

Kasey Rausch

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Terry Rausch & Larry Ford, un-related uncle-in-laws, making music. 

Dreams to Reality

“What choice can I make today to help my dreams become a reality?” I read this quote in the book “Something More” by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  My new friend Stefanie loaned the book to me. I love that. I love it when someone puts in your hand the very thing that you didn’t realize you needed. And so I ask myself this very question. I wrote it on a sticky note and placed it on my laptop where I’ll see it every day. It’s staring at me now. What can I do today to make my dreams something livable, tangible… to make my dreams my way of life?

Last night I attended a seminar on website building led by my friend, Chris Dahlquist. She’s not only one of my favorite photographers, but one of the people I feel so fortunate to have in our Kansas City artist community. She goes above and beyond to keep integrity in her art and to help others do the same (thus the seminar). She spoke of the importance of blogging and sharing a little of yourself outside of just your chosen art form. For some reason the term “blogging” really gets under my skin. I’m gonna have to figure out a word for it that I’m more comfortable with, but for the sake of clear communication, I’ll use it for now. So this is me – “blogging” **shiver** in an attempt to share lil’ about myself and in a conscious choice to make my dreams a reality.  

I often feel that things like blogging or asking people to buy my music are such egoic actions. I search for the balance in all that I do and still the pendulum constantly shifts – this I know. I knew that by choosing to attend Chris’s seminar last night that was me putting into action a choice that could help my goals in music become reality. I willingly opened my hand (and heart and mind) to the evening and once again, someone placed within it something I didn’t know I needed. It was this:  Don’t make your blog entirely about yourself.  Be giving.  Talk about the people who’s art you love, the music you’re listening to, the things that inspire you. It was one of those, “well, duh!” moments for me. Oh here I go again. “For me. Me. Me, me, me.” In all honesty, I feel so strongly connected to people that it’s almost impossible to talk about “me” without talking about “you.” Make sense? Yeah… I’m still trying to figure it all out, too. But again, for the sake of clear communication, what I’m really trying to say here is this:  Please check out the beautiful landscape photography work of my dear friend Chris Dahlquist!  Perhaps the book “Something More” will inspire you, too!  My new friend Stefanie is a gem for sharing it with me!  I love to smile!  And I’ve been listening to a lot of music by Kyle Reid from Oklahoma lately!


Kasey Rausch

July 24, 2015

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My Time at the Grand Ole Opry

Photo by Natalie McLaws
Photo by Natalie McLaws

I got a chance to sing on the Grand Ole Opry stage!  Whew!  There.  I shouted it.  I tried starting this story a couple times but nothing quite captured the joy I felt when I stepped on that historic circle.  It was mid-March and I was so glad to be able to spend my daughter’s senior year spring break with her and my niece.  We had been planning on bee-lining it for the ocean but the forecast looked iffy so the day before we were to be leaving town we got the notion to head to Nashville.  My long-time friend Lorie Jo opened her home and chauffeured us around a bit.  She dropped us off at the Opry that day for us to do the tourist thing — and the tourist thing we did.  We took pictures outside by the giant guitars, bought tickets for the tour (scored the very last three for the last tour of the day! Sorry to those folks right behind us. :/).  But when I stepped on that stage, it really didn’t matter that I was there just like every other tourist.  I was given an opportunity to sing – to exercise my  lungs and share a song with a group of people on this fine stage.  Thoughts ran through my mind as we winded through the back hallways, greenrooms, family rooms.  What shall I sing?  Singing one of my own songs just didn’t feel right at the moment for some reason.  I couldn’t pinpoint why.   The only person that kept running through my mind was my songwriting hero, Mr. Johhny Mullins.  But what of his songs?  They are all so beautiful, varied and numbered.  For a moment I considered his song “Nashville” (which the girls and I had been singing quite a lot while we were there) but I decided that maybe as a guest in their fine town, I should pick something that maybe wouldn’t be hurtful or sorrowful to them (“Nashville, where a lonely face is common place in Nashville.” – Johnny Mullins.)  So to honor two birds with one song (*smile*) I settled on “Blue Kentucky Girl,” a song that Johnny wrote specifically for the one and only Loretta Lynn.  I stood tall, (well as tall as my 5’2″ frame would let me), took a strong breath in and… sang.  I sang with all the joy I could offer.  A Capella. One verse. A memory for life.  Maybe if I ever earn my way on to the Grand Ole Opry stage I’ll share a song of my own.  Until then, I’ll hold on to that feeling and cherish that few moments spent with my kids, a handful of strangers, and empty seats in the Grand Ole Opry.