SISTER (by loreta kovacic)

Shine on, smile on star sister

you traveled too far

now you are a blue hole in my heart





AND IT READ: "do not grieve"

Do not grieve, sister.


What an elegant way of saying good bye,

your minimal, Budha-like style

decorated with the memory of your

signature smile.



You rocked this life

with simplicity and intensity

of a black cat monk.


Shine on, smile on, cause one day, sister

We'll reunite and sing to all

your song of joy.

Shine on smile on Sister

no more crying, halleluiah!

shine on smile on sister

The Universe is calling.


Preschool music class curriculum “BEETHOVEN: MOON and ASTRONAUTS”

 Preschool music class curriculum


From “Alchemist Da Capo” by Loreta Kovacic

Beethoven by Loreta


VISUAL aid : Bring the "Moon": laser lights, shiny light or disco ball etc. You can use a CD for the moon visual. Cut out a photo of an astronaut who is flying next to the "moon".


Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata for piano solo: first movement.

Pink Floyd: from the “Dark side of the moon”: shine on you crazy diamond 

Loreta Kovacic from “Brother Tadpole classics”: Hula dance in space.

CONCEPTS: creative space movement and sound. SOFT and SLOW music and movement with space sounds. PITCH: low and high, RHYTHM: clap the rhythm of the words and the beat. DYNAMICS: piano and forte. Playing the TRIANGLE. SINGING.

-------- -------- -------- -------- --------- ---------- --------- ---------- -------

Music day boogie    (APT intro song)  
(C) Yay yay yay  (eb d c)  music day (eb d c)
(F, G) Yay yay yay.   Music! yeeeeeee    (ab g f, g g high)
(C)   Music day….. (eb c c)


------ ------- ------- -------- -------- --------- --------                                                             

1 MUSIC: Beethoven: Moonlight sonata, first movement.

STORY: Read or tell story about Beethoven in your own words. Mention his Moonlight sonata, his hair and his piano and how much he loved the moon:

Beethoven is a great composer. He plays the piano. He plays his song about the moon. Beethoven wrote his MOONLIGHT sonata for piano. It goes like this:…. Play Moonlight sonata, first movement. Show picture of Beethoven playing in front of people.


SOUND:  CARBBON COPY SOUNDS:  Make space sounds and play “carbon copy”. The next kid copies the sound. Sssssss. Bzzzzzzz. Etc.


Clap the rhythm, then make up words to the rhythm of the theme in the 1st movement of the Moonlight Sonata:

a-e-iiiii… low-and-high



-------- -------- -------- -------- --------

2 MUSIC: Pink Floyd: dark side of the moon. (shine on you crazy diamond)ACTIVITY: Make space sounds and movement like flying: sssss or bzzzzzz. This is the space travel or “space movement”: Pretend you are floating inside the Space Station then land on the moon like the astronaut.

Show astronaut picture. Talk about astronaut-wear.  Ask questions. Astronaut wears: a helmet, boots and space suit. On his back he has a backpack called safer with jets.  It allows him to fly, or travel back to the rocket ship.

TACTILE: Beethoven bust, Astronaut mat, fluffy “moon grass” rug or blanket, soft and hard “moon rocks”, hand made or use large shiny plastic beads.

SOUND LAB: Show how you can make maracas with hard moon rocks. The more moon rocks you put in the plastic container, the louder the sound. Kids older then three can experiment with this but younger kids can just observe the teacher because they do like to put things in their mouth...

------ ------- --------- -------- --------- --------


ASTRONAUT WEAR (The more we get together tune)

Oh would you wear bunny ears, bunny ears…….. in a rocket ship?

Kids respond (say their names):  ------ can wear bunny ears, bunny ears, bunny ears, we cannot… a rocket ship


(to the music of heads and shoulders: piano and forte)     

Let’s get dressed for the moon, (kids respond LOUD or SOFT): for the moon!

Boots and helmet, space suit too.  Let’s get dressed for the moon: for the moon!

-------- --------- ----------- ---------- ---------- ---

4 MUSIC: Hula dance in space by Loreta Kovacic

ACTIVITY-DANCE: move slowly and quietly: stand on one foot like floating. Introduce SLOW tempo and movement. You cannot run on the moon. There is no gravity. Hula dance with arms right to left.

INSTRUMENT:  triangle “from the moon”: loud and soft playing, individually.

ART: cut out moons from aluminum foil to take home. Give moon or piano stamps at the end.


Make cute simple round "music monsters" from play-dough that can be hardened (in the oven). Draw music signs on their backs from p for piano to the whole note, etc. Make a matching pair in the same color. When kids find their matching pair, the monsters touch, then fly in the air making a sssss sound like astronauts in space.

Thank You, Mrs. de Menil

May 4th, 2014 – LORETA KOVACIC

All three times I met her are memorable, but the last one really strikes an outward chord in my memory…

I was invited to an art preview at the de Menil museum, one of those events you go to because you are into the culture, but you are not necessarily prepared for or excited about, especially at a young age of thirty something . . . let’s say that I was growing up my second or third childhood in Montrose, living the bohemian life of an independent musician, playing my first solo concert at Carnegie Hall, and all that cool stuff that goes along with it, the social life, the parties, the cultural life. A scientist friend of mine invited me to a presentation of Mark Rothko’s exhibit at the Menil. It was around lunch time, and I was not in the mood for a long intellectual speech . . . I love Mark Rothko’s work, but the museum’s director was talking about Rothko’s art in a very dry, super-intellectual way, known to art scholars and the like, and it basically sounded like Muzak to me. I was looking at these large paintings, thinking: wow, in those complicated art historian’s words, I don’t hear what I see in front of me at all!

Then suddenly, almost dramatically, Mrs. de Menil rose from her wheelchair and with one round movement of her arms and a few words, including “feeling” and “in space” she struck a chord with all of us. It was that aha! moment, as if I woke up from a winter sleep and was alive, feeling Mark Rothko’s art around me. Wonderful. Powerful. Unforgettable. THANK YOU Mrs. de Menil.

It was the simplest yet best words and movement ever used to describe works of art in my view. And I can really dig the fact that Mark Rothko was an artist that she knew very, very well, as an old friend perhaps . . . but also someone whose artwork she absolutely adored.

This does not in any way diminish my memory of how I met Mrs. de Menil the first time. In retrospect, there is a leitmotif, a theme to each meeting…best described by “outwardly”, “extraterrestrial” interaction.

So the first time we met, I was again invited to an opening at the museum. Since I lived close by, I used to go to openings a lot in those days. I would show up alone, and then I would usually hook up with a lot of different artist friends there. Sometimes we would go out to eat or to a party afterwards. Every show at the Menil was always worth seeing, sometimes inspiring too. This time I showed up alone as usual, and when I looked around, there was no familiar face in the crowd. But one face just kept beaming, and I could not keep my eyes away . . . it was maybe a little bit how I imagined Mother Mary’s face?! Extremely white skin with blue dreamy eyes and with an aura around it . . . all on a very fragile small body, dressed in a simple robe. I was naturally drawn to her, as if I was going to an altar . . . and I trust my instincts with people.

I must digress here and explain a little more . . . the reason why I can approach strangers without any fear also comes from my father who was an extra in a few Hollywood films when he was young. Since early childhood he trained me not to be afraid of approaching complete strangers. He would sometimes stop famous singers or actors on the streets of my hometown Zagreb just to show me how it’s done. He said that people will just play along and pretend that they know you just to avoid embarrassment of being blamed for a loss of memory, and the more famous the person is, the more people they know, so it is harder for them to remember all of those acquaintances, old friends, enemies and lovers. He would start by introducing himself and continuing to talk as if though the two of them are old friends, amigos, from a movie set or vacation. I have to say that I was entertained with the whole act. So call it a social skill or call it a social dysfunction, here I am—going towards her, drawn by her face, thinking of Mother Mary…

I do remember that we talked for a long time, like we were old friends from another planet. Both of us love art, of course, but I remember asking her, where she was from, probably because I thought that she came from heaven. She was a little confused, she stopped for a while, trying to think. We connected right there, because, as an immigrant, I felt similar, not really knowing, not really belonging fully to any place. I think she said she felt like she was the citizen of the world, although she was originally from France, and sure,  anyone could hear that in her accent. Yes she was an extraterrestrial, an unusual creature, full of light and a thinker. It was a great feeling, talking to her, a rendering, beautiful, creative composition, like Thelonius Monk’s music perhaps?

After a while, I spotted a few familiar faces in the crowd and I parted with Mrs. de Menil. “Do you know who you were talking to?” they screamed. “That was Mrs. de Menil!” She never told me her name, but I was not surprised at all. I knew she was special.

After all, I am so grateful for this memory of Mrs. de Menil, a person who contributed so much to our city’s culture.

THANK YOU, Mrs. de Menil.

Loreta Kovacic is a musician and founder of, in Houston

AMARISHNA, poem by Loreta Kovacic

Dedicated to Philip Glass, composer.


Alah-halLah, Buddha, Lord and Mother Mary

I prepare my soul and body blind

to dedicate to you my little prayer:

Ready, set, clear, OOOOMMMMM ready, set, clear, OOOOMMMMM>


Amarishna krishna Rama Vishna

Abudabi Ludjak neki Radza

Born on 3 kings day in Medjugorje

Looked up and saw high above these plains

kako kisne brada Rama Visne.

Djelem djelem in a dimple's Temple

hide your pimple, Sheik, Baby Shake.




Ready, set, clear OOOMMM< Ready, set, clear OOOMMM>


Rabi Ben, Babba Karl Iman, grew up in Iran

moved to Iraque, then to Afganistaaaan,

became the best known incognito politician,

who singlehandedly, like Bukowski,

in off the beaten path, ski lift upper class,

high in snow covered Swiss Alps,

while KGB and CIA were hiding in the bush,

removed all the evil dictators of tomorrow and today

just one superhuman against the evil world

Alibaba guru Ben Iman, Von Chilladeen,

Gavrilo Princip revolt in his blood stream,

just like my own during Milosevic regime,

in my native Ex Yugoslavia, doom's deem, 







amarishna yoddle girl



                                                  by Loreta Kovacic, October 2013


Eight weeks of mending time

Mother Mary's here with me

Outside the dawn is yawning

Decorated by a palm tree


Iggy pop is in my head

Braking silent living room

I feel like going underground

While they're playing way up high



In my decked out wheel chair

I’d be up there shine or rain

With my stiletto walking cane.   how I wish!!


Worry now cause mighty dollar

Takes away our civility

Worry now cause mighty dollar

Makes the world go tippy toe


What about Sick America, noise ostinato in my head!

What about Weak America, noise ostinato in my head!

If You can get a view from my hospital room

It”s a party up on the rooftop and I’m not dead!!!!!


Drag Racing in valley of pain

We have to fulfill our dreams

But they have a way to scream

Like peacocks against blue sky


Meds keep me laying down

And that's why I'm looking up

I have a dream of getting better

Mixing human with alien matter



In my decked out wheel chair

I’d be at that party shine or rain

With my stiletto walking cane   how I wish!!


ALCHEMIST PIANO: Reflections by Loreta Kovacic


As I am laying here on my hospital bed in the middle of what used to be my living room, waiting for the old pelvis bones to heal, I reflect about my “Alchemist Piano” studio, past and present. As the new studio is almost finished, I look back at 23 great years of my studio’s esoteric yet blooming business dedicated entirely to the Musical Arts. 

It started as a modest piano studio, growing through time into a recognized music studio with an added original musical theatre for children, the Alchemist Piano Theatre. I would have never guessed…I thought that I would forever be playing Prokofiev, Bach and Papandopulo. Many years later, after the Tortured Tendon Tour, after taking new twists and turns along my musical journey, we have arrived! And it’s all good, as I say in one of my children song: It’s all good, my dear friends. The field of Music is such a wide open road, full of hidden treasures and fantastic discoveries…it’s very similar to Alchemy or, dare I say, Science.

This morning I finally ventured into my studio to play the piano for the first time since a major car accident, which left me in a wheelchair. I played Ave Maria, both Schubert’s and Bach’s. I played it on the piano, then added melodica, then my singing voice, just in parts of it, improvising singing melodies especially in Bach.  It was such an exhilarating experience: to be doing music again, in my old studio, on my old Steinway, and, additionally, to be playing songs dedicated to Mother Mary, the one who watches over me both literally and spiritually.

I have a sculpture of her on my wall right in front of me, given to me by my Uncle, Capt. Z, a great man who sailed over many seas with his amazing wife, Ana Habl. The sculpture itself is a treasure, because of where it came from, not to mention all of its supernatural properties…. Being Croatian by birth, it comes to me naturally. The Virgin was implanted into my blood stream many generations ago, somewhere in the Dalmatian Coast, next to a church and a rocky field, with a beautiful vista of the sea from high above….


The Virgin is huge in the Dalmatian coast. She is one major player on the rocky slopes of hope, aspiration, longing and dreaming of Dalmatian folk. My mother goes to the pilgrimage in her native island Hvar once per year where they walk for miles and miles carrying the stunning sculpture of Mary back to its original church. Some people walk on their knees just like in Mexico where they are just as crazy about “Senora de Guadalupe” as us Croatians.  It is not surprising that I got married in a small church in Houston’s colorful East End, the beautiful “Our Lady of Guadalupe.” This church reminded me so much of the Dalmatian coast churches that I am familiar with. Everybody knows about Medugorje, the place where Mother Mary appears and communicates with a select group of children, now adults. This is only a couple of hours drive from Omis, my father’s home town, and also our family’s fantastic summer place in the middle of the Croatian Coast, next to Split.

I have another sculpture, the one that I brought with me to the US from Croatia when I first came here in 1986. It’s Mestrovic’s  “History of Croatians.” It’s a small replica of a large bronze sculpture decorating the front of the Law School, across from the Croatian National Theatre on Mazuranic square in Zagreb. Mestrovic created a quiet, strong, big-boned lady dressed in black, with a big black scarf on her head sitting in a yoga pose, resting her arms comfortably upon a large book. She looks kind of like a Slavic version of a Yogi.  I remember naming her “Yogi-Slav Woman” and around the same time I named myself the “Texas Slav.”  I call my son Johnny, Johnny-Slav sometimes, and my brother IS Stanislav, but we call him Stanko for short.

A small Mestrovic replica of ‘Yogi-Slav Woman’ always had a prominent place in my studio, and subconsciously it was a symbol of meditation, yoga, all that Zen and Buddhist stuff that I was into during the 90’s and into the 2000’s here in Houston. I was a Doctoral student at Rice University when I named myself the “Alchemist” or someone that’s dedicated to research, experimentation, someone that has chosen a spiritual path, also a teacher that’s trying to turn “lead into gold.” At that same time, in 1990, I named my piano studio “AlchemistPiano” and later named my original children’s theatre “AlchemistPianoTheatre.” One of my board members and friends wrote this about me as a part of my AlchemistPianoTheatre’s add: “Her spirit is what makes her a true alchemist in that she has the uncanny ability to transform the seemingly normal into true gold. This ability is reflected in the people she works with, inspiring a new level of confidence through music and performance!”  So, for all these years, people really bought into it, this idea that I am a music guru with a gold cape and a magic stick?? A note to self: ”You’ve got to produce something good, like: Moon rocks!!” (from “SpaceWiggs” by Loreta Kovacic)

Well, it was a good word that I picked, because I still love it today, after 23 years of performance, composition and teaching as “the Alchemist.” I also love all the mysticism that surrounds the word, the colors, the imagery, words like “philosopher’s stone,” the healing crystals, the elixirs, all that alchemical symbolism, the path of discovery, healing and learning….  I have the word “Alchemist” written with gold letters at the entrance to my studio, and inside my studio there are many objects that evoke the feel of the word: the golden owl, the planets, the moon and the sun, daily meditations, the shining crystal-like hanging sculpture by my favorite artist, Hana Hillerova, etc.  Even my artistic endeavors somehow manage to evoke those alchemical dreams….In recent years I especially remember my original accompaniment of Georges Melies’s “Voyage to the Moon” and other alchemy-related silent shorts that I hand-picked from his amazingly huge opus. The poster was made by the venue, Discovery Green in Houston, showing the famous picture of the moon and the rocket getting stuck in the moon’s eye. Everyone recognizes that image, and I just love it.


I can’t believe how much I love that nickname, the Alchemist, after all these years. On second thought, it does make sense, because I think that any nickname you make up for yourself is going to work better for you than the one given to you by others. I was named “Sovuljaga”  or the “Ugly Owl”  when I was in grade school, a name given to me by my arch nemeses. I would have preferred just “owl” because I really do love owls. They are a symbol of wisdom. My alma mater Rice University’s symbol is an owl. How appropriate! In more recent years I was named “Doc,” short for “Doctor” by my friend Duane, Houston’s public radio KPFT 90.1 manager. I like that name, it’s cute, but still, he only named me that because one time when he interviewed me I told him not to call me Doctor Kovacic. I prefer to be called by my name or the nickname I gave myself, the “Alchemist”.

I find it fascinating that there are practicing Alchemists in this world today, like Mark Stavish who says this about alchemy: “Alchemy offers us the opportunity to relieve suffering, ignorance, and fear of death through direct experience of the invisible worlds and how they relate to the physical world of matter. The alchemical path can bring us peace of mind, a positive outlook on life, increased vitality and creativity. Most importantly, alchemy helps us become better people.”

This brings me back to the beginning, how I played the piano today, uplifted myself and my family with music dedicated to Mother Mary. Today is the first day that I did not take my meds, trying to experiment, just like an Alchemist would, in an attempt to see how I do without them….I was feeling a little pain in my pelvis and lower back, but as soon as I started playing, swoooshhh!!!!–it was gone. Music, the art I love, protected by planet Venus, was doing its magic.

We musicians are alchemists because we work in the realm of the invisible which then brings us peace and joy in the visible world. Musical alchemy increases our vitality and creativity, and all of that made me like a thunderbolt this morning. I felt good, uplifted and happy. My family came to hear me and join me in singing or just listening. As a teacher and as a performer I feel the power of alchemy given to me through the practice of musical arts. I feel so blessed by it and I am grateful for it. I think that what I did this morning was putting the ancient alchemist phrase “ora et labora” or “pray and work”  to work through the music that I was playing. Somehow I felt both Mother Mary and God, the limitless light, closer to my heart.

“Alchemist Piano” studio is now moving to a building right next to my house, a bigger and brighter space. Two old friends, who are also friends of Alchemy, are working hard right now, putting in a beautiful golden cork floor. This was a long waited experiment finally realized.


May I suggest a meditation practice for your experiment of the day (month, year, decade, etc.): Pay attention to your dreams as you undertake your experiments because your dreams will come true!! Dominus tecum. Peace.

"Time for healing" by Loreta Kovacic

This is the title of an article published in CROATIA WEEK online magazine in September 2013. Reflecting about Capt. Z and aunt Ana and beautiful healing memories from their home in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Written after a major car accident on a highway in Houston. Loreta ended up with a broken pelvis, 8 broken ribs and a collapsed lung. This poem inspired the article: 


TIME FOR HEALING Loreta Kovacic, 2013

Sacred satin lady

She’s watching over lowdown me

Mother Mary in your eye I see

Houston hometown wonders

Sweet surprises hidden

In the hands of friends

From this planet’s many ends

Like golden specks of light

We can see from up above

Mary’s heart in orbit beating

Tick tock in unison

With low drums on Fanin





Main street so alive

Like I’ve never seen before

Many bumps on city streets

Bring the ticking of the pain clock

But I don’t care so much for pain

I’m taken by the colors of rain

And the trees, I see them

Through an x-ray of our

Claim called life,

I can really feel all that

green good luck divination

in a glow of summer emanation.


Houston and Zagreb, my hometowns

HOUSTON and ZAGREB: mixing business with pleasure!

By Loreta Kovacic, the Alchemist

I have two favorite cities and two hometowns. The first one, the one I was born in, and the second one, where I was reborn as an American. The first one is Zagreb Croatia and the second one is Houston, TX. Every city can be summarized in a single word they say, so for LA the word is Hollywood, for Paris, it’s the arts, for Rome it’s romance, for New York it’s the center of the world as all New Yorkers seem to believe, and the list goes on…It is a fun little game to try to define a city in one word.

When one feels the heartbeat of the city and calls it their home, this game becomes more difficult. I interviewed many people before drawing the line on Houston, because my idea of Houston is this other, lesser known part of the city: it’s vibrant art scene, its authentic blues music and musicians full of quirky and independent history and presence you can feel, taste and hear….And the musty picturesque bayou landscape especially the one covered with trash, and yet from a distance looking like an oil painting by Matisse…After all, if I was the decider, I would use something like “blues and bayou” to describe my beloved Houston, and I could not take one away from the other…they are such a perfect duo. In my song “Bayou tango” I sing: “don’t get lost in the magical bayou mist, where all the foliage is covered with lovely litter….” And then there is all that space history, now being slowly stolen from us by LA, a city I find to be most like Houston. However, my interview results led me to the most popular word: “business”. So, Houston is the city of business, amen.

Business it is, because in this town, you have to have at least a tiny bit of a business sense in order to survive. Mind you, survival here is a lot easier then in New York or LA by the mare fact that everything from housing to restaurants is cheaper here. It is easy to run a business here too: I know a woman who runs an extremely successful piano studio here, with a degree in Chemistry. So things are still a little bit wild and western, not so regulated, but rather new and somewhat refreshing. Why not? You just feel like, if you set your business mind to it, you can achieve miracles in Houston. I like that feeling. But sometimes, I feel that business kills an artist in me. It’s simply because I have no time to sit around in my typical “fjaka” mode and philosophize for hours over coffee and beer like I used to do in my native city of  Zagreb, Croatia.

This brings me to the words for Zagreb. I just mentioned coffee and leisure, and that seems like an extreme opposite of the word “business”. So the first thing I thought of was, why can’t Houston and Zagreb be married, because opposites attract, don’t they? Houston is business and Zagreb is leisure, two characters complementing each other? Or, in some cases hating each other, like that dysfunctional love and hate relationship? I have to say that the optimist in me sees it as a win-win situation: mixing business and pleasure!

Zagreb is still a city where I spent my childhood and graduated from college. And my version of it is going to have a little twist as you expect…I can think of two things that I love and miss: coffee shops and shoe stores, one after another in a row, thousands of them, with people sitting in coffee shops and happy women shopping for shoes....Perhaps that explains why I still have a closet packed with hundreds of pairs of shoes, majority of them bought in Zagreb, made in Italy, of course. And maybe that’s why I frequent my local coffee shop here in Houston regularly (not as regularly as I would be if I was still living in Zagreb).

As a Zagrebian living in Houston I can manage to find leisure in this business city, because I have been programed to do so. And as a Houstonian I can find a little business to do while vacationing in Zagreb like: appear as a guest on “good morning Croatia”, maybe play a concert if I am really ambitious, or, my favorite, work really hard looking for the newest and coolest pair of shoes for the best price, of course….

Just like happy little infants love bubbles you too will end up falling in love with these two cities. You will fall in love with Zagreb probably from the first sight, because, let’s face it, Zagreb is more beautiful visually, and Houston will have to grow on you, but I can say with a certainty of a bubble lover (cause if you hate bubbles you should visit your psychiatrist immediately): business and leisure make a beautiful couple, it’s like a perfect song, and you simply have to check it out. Mixing business with pleasure is the way to live. That is the word from the Alchemist.


Alchemist On The Road needs funding for projects

One of our projects is to take APT’s concert  production on a tour to New Orleans and Croatia. The first APT concert was on April 7th  at Christ the King Church in the Rice Village in Houston and the premiere of “Tadpoles save the ocean” was on Friday, May 10th  2013 at 1100 Roy street.  

Grants are also needed for projects and community events hosted at APT: "Houston Live radio show" and "Family Band Jam".  

APT needs your funding for additional supplies and support, but more importantly to provide scholarships for all children with dyslexia who join the program.We also to reach more students with special needs so we are asking for your help today. APT is a 501.C3 charity and as such all donations are tax deductable.