Hedreich Nichols


Angels Watching Over Me

I met an old friend today. It was the kind of chance meeting that makes the world a brighter, shinier place. As we shared stories and pictures of children, goddogs and granddogs,  she told me that her husband says, “Coincidences are when God wants to remain anonymous”.

My new, old friend’s husband is absolutely right and this summer has been a summer of coincidences. 

Sometimes, when the path is stonier than usual, those angelic meetings are what help us to keep it moving. In the last 4 weeks, I have had 4 such meetings. These ladies are golden threads in the tapestry of my summer. Juggling grad school, work and 365/24/7 solo parenting is like doing the Ironman Triathlon. You get much street cred for completing the course, but you have got to have those water-squirters on the sidelines! I know I have sewing and sports metaphors all jumbled up but HEY! This is exciting stuff! In a world where the news and social media show us so much ugliness, it’s just great to be reminded that the world can be a really nice place to be. And it’s great to be reminded that there are no coincidences; there really are angels watching over us.

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Thank You For The Music II

In May I usually think of my mom. It’s been 13 years but I still miss her. I also think about my son. He’s so much like her and our relationship reminds me of not what I lost when my mother departed this earthly realm, but what I still have. What I still have from her. This month alone I played 4 gigs with my kid bassist. On Mother’s Day we did my arrangement of Ed Sheeran’s “Supermarket Flowers”. There wasn’t a dry eye in the church. Earlier this month we performed “Sing My Song” from my CD Time Now in a trio with Steve Bessler. That song features a sample from my mom’s Stellar award winning song, “Victory”, and a sample of my then 6 year-old saying “sing mommy”, uniting three generations of my musical family. This week I had the joy of listening to my son audition for varsity orchestra with his own arrangement, an impressive mix of classical, Latin and modern literature. Watching this musician blossom makes me swell with pride, and connects me to my own momma. I know just how she felt watching me grow, excel and succeed. 

In seeing the reflection of my mom in a young, suddenly mustached face, I am reminded of what a good mom I was blessed to have. Thank you for the music, Putches.

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And Crown Thy Good With Brotherhood

John F. Kennedy once said we don’t need to look for the Republican answer or the Democrat answer, but the right answer. This sentiment seems to be lost. As I watch politics play out in my country, I feel like I’m watching a bad reality TV show.  Wars are bloody, and this feels like war. Unless we are to parcel off land and divide it among the current warring factions, we must find a way to get to unifying ground, lest we sink in the mire of hatred and division. How many people will die if “Obamacare” explodes? What will the casualty count be if Trump fails at presiding? What are the costs if the only policy is to repeal any and everything Obama? What are the consequences if the GOP can’t unite and reach across the aisle to build policy with Democrats, or if Democrats petulantly say no to any olive branch offered?

Many who voiced vexation at Colin Kaepernick’s protest during the national anthem use that same voice to pledge allegiance to a flag and the indivisible nation for which it stands. Is there not deep hypocrisy in the casting of that stone, when we mumble by rote our allegiance to a nation that seems anything but indivisible? What can we do, other than to watch it all play out? We can keep our rocks inside our own glass houses. We can be informed. We can contact our congressmen and let our voices be heard. We can count each man as our brother and seek to see the good, especially where we think there is none. Mostly we can remind ourselves, as we smirk at the latest faux pas of the other side,  that either we all win or we all lose.


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Credit: Shutterstock

Remember that video from Art On Ice a few years back? I took the song title this month not only because it’s AOI time again (shout out Gary Scott and the gang!) but because listening is what’s sorely missing these days in our country’s discourse. I fully understand that seeing your President’s chants go from “Yes We Can!” to “Lock Her Up” hurts. I also understand that if your team won you are tired of seeing violent protests. But…can we just listen to one another? Not jeer and name call, just listen. If your Twitter feed is laced with derision and mockery, YOU are a big part of the problem. If we all practice more kindness in discourse, we’ll be able to move forward as one team more quickly. Kindness doesn’t mean not having a voice, it just means using that voice graciously and more effectively.

Kindness means not regurgitating every angry thought onto the pages of social media. Instead, if you have something worth saying, call your congressional leaders, tell them they’re doing a great/awful job and tell them why. At home teach your children about the values you hold and why your leader does/does not represent those values. Donate time or money. Buy or boycott products and companies.  And if you find yourself typing on Reddit, Facebook & co. in a spittle-slinging fervor, just stop. The world doesn’t need another angry rant. Instead, find someone in your corner of the world who doesn’t think like you and just listen. It’s not easy and you may hear something you don’t like but take the high road. We’ll all be better off for it.

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Year’s end is always a reflective time of looking back as well as forward. And 2016 has given me so much to be thankful for. I hold two brand new teaching certificates and am at Texas A&M in grad school, currently holding a 4.0. My son has grown 5+ inches and now sounds like a hoarse grizzly bear. I cheered through his first school football season and applauded his first junior high orchestra concerts. I’ve looked on proudly as he arranged his first song. Yes, we’ve been to funerals and said goodbye to some people who’ve known me my whole life. And as a country, we’ve seen mass shootings, lost icons and been through a particularly divisive election year, but we’ve survived. As long as we’re still here, we can see change; we can BE change. We can be thankful for that.

At the dawn of 2017 I have much to be thankful for and something special to celebrate: hedreich.com is 10 years old this month! That’s eons in blogger years! Hedreich.com started as a fansite for all things musical with news, clips, pics and training or concert updates. Since I retired from the stage a couple of years ago and upped the time I spend in education, I’ve maintained it as a blog spot. I hope you’ll continue to visit. As always, we’ll keep a light on for ya!

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One Is The Loneliest Number

kindYou probably know ‘one’. Maybe it’s the one black IT person at your office or the one mom in the hijab in your PTA. Maybe it’s the one Mexican family at your church or even the lone white woman in your Hip Hop aerobics class. You exchange niceties, make occasional pleasant small talk and then retreat to your separate lives. Ones seem integrated enough but for many, especially today, there’s an outsider feel to the one-ness.

I was the only black girl in class from 2nd to 6th grade. The only black girl in my English 101 class. I am the only black person at my job and the only black person in any of my three grad school classes at Texas A&M.  That oneness can be barely noticeable but at times, it can be lonely. This week I’ve never felt more lonely.

If you watch the horribly gone wrong protests, or even the peaceful ones, and think that this is just about a bunch of sore losers, let me ask a favor of you. Step back and think about that one (insert minority here) in your circle. Could it be that being non-white under a presidency endorsed by the KKK makes one-ness suddenly feel not only unwelcome but even dangerous? David Duke, head of the KKK, tweeted,

“This is one of the most exciting nights of my life -> make no mistake about it, our people have played a HUGE role in electing Trump!

Of course every voter who supports Trump is not an extremist but world view is a funny thing. Having driven by a burning cross on a dark stretch of Oklahoma road just last month, that tweet, and many others like it, cast a shadow over this election outcome. So, if I’m your ‘one’, I’m asking something of you. Show me that you don’t hate me. Let me know that you don’t hate my child or people who look like us and not like you. Demonstrate for me that, regardless of the side of the aisle on which you stand, you decry mocking and hate. Tell me that, although violence and rioting are NOT the answer, you can at least begin to see what this loss feels like to people who are different from you. Help me not feel lonely.

While one is the loneliest number, I’m not the only lonely one. I talked to my friend, a superstar teacher pushing her students to incredible heights in a predominantly black school and her loneliness mirrored mine. She is the ‘one’ white teacher in her group of teaching friends, a group with which she has enjoyed working closely for some time. After the elections,  she suddenly found herself on the outside,  viewed with subtle but tangible distrust. Her skin color had now grouped her with people who, by their vote, seemed to say that hate is ok. As we shared our stories of disillusionment with being a ‘one’, we watched our children. They are growing up together, a part of a merry band of believers that reflects the tapestry of this country’s melting pot. My son enjoys playing big brother to her musical blue-eyed 4 year old and the baby brother who smiles whenever my son’s slightly mustached face comes into view. Her little ones don’t notice that the eyes with which my child views the world shine sepia-brown or that his skin is darker, his hair curlier than theirs. They don’t know that those things mean something to some grown-ups.  Sadly, my son already does. Still, as we watch our children, we take joy in the fact that we are not those grown-ups and we take solace in knowing that while changing our little corner of the world, we are helping to combat the kind of loneliness many have felt this week. We are teaching our children well.

We really are stronger together and only together can we have any chance of making America great again.



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In Times Like These

As a pushing throughfull-time musician, this space was filled with the happenings from my last gig or the eager excitement about my next one. Since going from full-time musician to full-time teacher/mom it’s a space that’s becoming more about navigating the world on my own while raising a boy to become a man. It’s becoming more thoughtful, more reflective, and I hope more honest, in a keep-it-real-but-don’t-overshare kind of way. So…here goes…

Early on, in the post-apocalyptic phase of divorce, my then 5 year-old son reminded me that we still had a Father in the house. I remember standing in the kitchen when he randomly hit me with that one. It showed me that my faith had not gone unnoticed and that he had started to grow his own. 

That 5 year old is now 12 and these days, faith is less about random comments and more about making sense of random happenings. This summer, that hasn’t been an easy task. Balancing conversations about disparities in a justice system that overwhelmingly tries to serve and protect us all with the very real dangers he may face as a young man is sometimes disheartening. And teaching him to be compassionate and respectful in discourse is un uphill climb when social media and headlines often make a mockery of civility. But being disheartened in difficult times doesn’t mean dropping the ball. It’s about pushing through.

keep-calm-and-push-through-4That’s my Big Job now, pushing through, modeling responsible citizenship and maintaing a safe space to talk about fear, fairness, freedoms and keeping the faith. Some of that I’ll do here, some at the homework table. Much of it I’ll do in my corner of the world where trust evolves, faith defeats fear and coming together begins. These are difficult times but if we begin to really talk and listen to one another, I know we can all push through.



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Beauty From Ashes

Charleston 9

As we celebrate the 1 year anniversary of those 9 souls senselessly gunned down in cold blood at the historical Emanuel AME church, we find ourselves once again, as a country, praying for peace and healing in Orlando where 50 have died. We find ourselves also, once again, divided by things that should have no bearing: race, sexual orientation, politics, blame. Instead of being outraged at the continual violence and the grief that loss of life produces we are angry and casting blame. I’m angry too. I have to explain to a 12 year old that the world, in spite of what we see in the media daily, is not a horrific place full of danger, hatred and violence. To do that, I have to be convinced of it myself. Today, that’s not an easy task. But I am looking for the helpers. I recently read a mom’s words to her children: ‘whenever you see bad things happening, look for the helpers. There are always more helpers than bad guys’. Simple but effective. Look for the helpers. Be a helper. I’m doing both while holding on to the unchanging Lifeline who always makes beauty out of even the biggest heaps of ashes.

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New Attitude II

Hello fans, family and friends! I am proud to introduce the new news format and its author– me!!  You’ll have noticed that there have been fewer entries than in the past as well as some noticeable gaps. I’m sorry if it feels like I’ve been ignoring you, but I’ve been readjusting, reorienting, retooling this thing called life. Going from musician to educator is a Big Job. It’s not like I haven’t been teaching and training all the while. And it’s not like I’ll leave music completely by the wayside, I couldn’t if I tried! But with my new focus primarily on being an educator, you can look forward to more blog-style musings on motherhood, culture and life in general, as well as an educational blog link that will grow and evolve as that part of my life develops. Hope you’ll stop by and check in. As always, we’ll leave a light on for ya!


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Hard Knock Life

20141223_170241There are some times in life when it’s full court press time. For those non-sports fans, that’s the time when it’s down to the wire in a basketball game and everybody is working overtime to win. Well, basketball ain’t the only place where games need be be won. Life is one big ole playing field and if you’re in it to win it, sometimes sleep, home cooking and the gym take a back burner because the business of winning the game requires nothing less than full concentration and overtime.  It’s those times when you ignore the longing for a shower and massage and get your head completely in the game. Those moments feel like hard times. But, when it’s all over, the final release is oh so sweet. When you shoot your best shot and watch that ball arch, wondering–no, knowing–no, hoping–no, praying– that it will drop just right, it’s an amazing, scary, awesome, scary, powerful, scary feeling. And that hard knock life? Well it turns into…Come back next month. I’m still waiting on the buzzer so cheer me on!

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