Friday, July 10, 2009

The music of our lives

Ever consider yourself at the center of a big concert stage and our audience are the folks who influence our very lives.

Music is an integral part of my life. For me the enjoyment of it goes back to when I was in elementary school and our class put on a concert for the town. One of the songs, In the Çorner of the world we sang many times. My mom and dad came to the concert and at the end, I was thoroughly exhausted from having sung it that I could not speak too clearly, but enjoyed the moments sitting at the kitchen table slowly sipping some hot chocolate.

Singing music has been a passion of mine as I have sung as part of my congregation and youth led fellowships and bible studies. We spent time in the dorm room singing praise songs to 'God and each other while Amanda played her guitar and I enjoyed repeating the refrains over and over with my friends. Hearing the melody of the words wash over each other. Imagining what the lyricist must have felt when he created the full-bodied tunes.

At my sunday morning class, I get to hear the choir and vocal teams rehearse their pieces before the service starts. It has a magical quality being below where the music is sung and hearing it in the distance creates a special sense that does not get duplicated when I am in the midst of the congregation singing those same words. They are the same exact words and melody but being immersed in it, it is hard to capture that same essence.

Many times when i am getting ready for work in the morning, I will sing tunes that come to me at random to me-making me like a juke box where I randomly put in a quarter and out comes one of the songs listed on the roster of tunes.
Yet, I tried that during a retreat as I was getting showered at 6 in the morning and Paul sternly told me, "please Scott, no singing in the shower at this time of morning, even with your love of the Lord. Hey, we men are trying to sleep!!:" Yet, that never deterred me at home as I will spontaneously burst out in song with part of a popular lyric, and it does not matter if I get lost midway through the first verse. Singing it is like reciting poetry, hearing the words rhythmically dance across the air.

Music has a special effect on my friend, Gary, from the Kennedy Center. I brought him and his housemates to our christmas holiday program at church and he made a special connection with the choir even before he became part of our congregation.
He refers to it periodically of how special the choir members are to him. Mike in the choir has been very helpful in providing him and myself with rides and spending time at dinners and baseball games. Judy is special to Gary's heart in the way she speaks to him and stands sturdily besides him and can encourage him if he has had a rough week. They became part of his extended family.
Even though Gary can not sing the words eloquently, what comes from his inner being and soul is genuine.

Classical music is another one of my passions. I attend the local Bridgeport Symphony at the Klein auditorium and have been a faithful subscriber for the last few seasons. It is great to be able to hear the various composer's works performed before the able-bodied hands of Gustav Meier. Meier travels a great distance from Switzerland to conduct these concerts but he makes a good connection with his audience.

I go with several from my building,, and we sit together in a row of the red upholstered chairs. My neighbor Polly, across the hall from me, humbly performs some solo pieces from memory since she is legally blind and no one would know that she has this handicap;. Often when I am passing by the hall and hear her playing I will stop for a moment and enjoy her few brief strokes at the piano , Janet my neighbor who drives several of us to and from the symphony observes often of how before Meier came the symphony was not as great as it is now with his international fame. Intertwined in the concerts are stories that Meier tells of the composers lives and what the pieces of the music reflect in life at the time. He likes to tell of colorful dances and movements reflecting the moods of love found and love lost. At times after he puts down the microphone after making his few comments, he bows curtly to the audience and his white head of hair shows and his love for the music flows smoothly out of him as he conducts his pieces with poise and grace.
When I listen to the pieces, I find it hard to interpret them the same way that he shares, but it offers me a moment to appreciate the piece a little differently than if I were to hear it walking through the mall or hearing it over the radio at work.
When I walk through the concert hall, I will meet up with several friends that I have not seen in a while to catch up on her their lives are.

One summer when in our rental cottage in Maine , mom took a Sarah Brightman CD out of its case and played it during our lunchtime. I never before heard such a crystal clear voice and we enjoyed listening to her. Later that fall when i was home in Bridgeport, i noticed the local Arena at Harbor Yard was presenting, Sarah Brightman's Harem tour in concert. I immediately booked the ticket and sat in Section 106 directly across from where the stage was set up. I was seated midway up from the arena floor and it provided me with a birds-eye view as she moved amongst her dancers and was lifted high on her trapeze as she sang the songs while she wore her flowing white gown and had her hair adorned with a bright crystal crown. A lot of the songs had a middle eastern component but the words and tones were rich and fertile with meaning.. Reflecting of how in that part of the world during early civilization's new birth.
I just sat there dazzled and amazed at the beauty of her music having just discovered her a few months prior through a borrowed CD collection that we randomly opened up and listened to her.
After the concert, I purchased several of her CDs and have most of her music at home and my mom has done the same thing. Occasionally when we are together in Maine, mom will put on one of her CDS and listen to it also amazed at the clarity of her voice.

One saturday when I was getting together with friends at the local Andros diner, George Paci commented maybe there will be door prizes that day. When my friend Mark was at the diner, he commented that he recently updated his ipod and was looking to sell his used one. I often saw this ipod in his car as he played it while giving me a ride home from an event. He showed it and I took it and tried on the headphones and spun the dial back and forth getting a handle on how it operates. I subsequently have added several thousand songs and podcasts from collections from the itunes music store and from my own personal collection of cds. Yet, I rarely take the time to dust it off and turn it on to be inspired by all kinds of excellent genres of music that are out there. Yet, there is a world out there that I should myself of so I can someday during a retreat perform a different routine in the shower and maybe win an audience of Paul and the others of my singing in the shower. Yet, I have gotten no encores for my 6 am performance. Definitely would be not be sung to sold-out concert halls and definitely without Michael's swagger and without a white glove.

I have found that music is to be lived and loved. And I am thankful for the composers and songwriters who have magically put together notes and words in such a way that they are celebrated world wide in the presence of our friends and family.

1 comment:

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I'm so glad you have this joy. I like music, but I'm very insecure about singing in front of others. I wish I had your freedom in singing.