Search This Blog

28 November 2012


Tinney S. Heath
Meet Tinney Heath. Tinney recently published a historical fiction book titled A Thing Done (a delicious read, by the way). Among the many fabulous things she is and does, she just happens to be one of my music mentors.

Way back in my college days, I was just getting involved in the living history club I still enjoy today, and wanted to make music. I really didn't know what I was in for, but after foisting myself as a beginning mandolin player into an established recorder band, Tinney and the other band members (the Jararvellir Music Guild) welcomed me and the challenge of incorporating a plucked string instrument into the voicing of a previously all woodwind ensemble.

It worked. The Bug bit me bad. As the members of the Guild ebbed and flowed with new jobs, spouses and opportunities, I managed to stick with it for three decades(!). I remain the only active member that dates to that time, jokingly calling myself the "Memory of the Guild" as I personally saw and did most of the things the Guild took part in over the years. Now, I lead the remnants of the Guild with the hopes for a dance ball performance this upcoming May. More on that later.

Soon after I joined the band, Tinney became the Guildmistress. I learned a lot under her leadership, including the fine art of herding cats. (You don't drive cats toward something; you put something they want at your desired destination.) Unfortunately, she and her equally talented husband (Timothy, also a Guild member at the time) burned out dealing with what amounted to a lack of respect. I still don't blame them for not wanting to deal with it anymore. They became active in another music club, the Winds of Wisconsin. As the years wore on, keeping in touch became almost isolated incidents.

Fast forward to last year: Facebook, that time and attention consumer, helped Tinney find me, and we resumed our friendship on a quiet basis. This autumn as part of my coursework at Edgewood College I started doing photographic portraiture and needed models. What better place to rally/bully my friends to sit in front my camera than an announcement on Facebook? Among the respondents, Tinney had just found out she was to be published and volunteered in exchange for something that can be used for her publisher's website and the dust jacket of the book. Deal.

Now a copy of Tinney's smiling face and another portrait of her among her instruments adorn her publisher's website. Happy customers and a happy photographer make a good pairing.

Among the things I learned from my friend and mentor is the idea that it's okay to push my boundaries, better the status quo and don't give up something you believe in.

Thanks, Tinney!