Music

The Sound of Heavenly Peace

holly ivyHave you ever wished you could talk with someone who has died? How do you picture something like that coming about? An ethereal mist with somewhat human form? A tangible person appearing from nowhere? Simply hearing a voice? How about just a feeling?

A couple of times my friend Kathy has “spoken” to me, but only in a kind of “I know what she’d say in this situation if she were here” sort of way. Like the first time I got a diet Cherry Coke from Sonic without her in the seat beside me. The thought came to me that she’d say, “Girl! Open the sunroof, crank the tunes and enjoy that diet Coke!”

Nah, I didn’t hear her voice at all. Just the memory of her in my head.

Then there’s the times I’ve had a conversation and said something really negative or pessimistic. “Kathy would get after me for saying that,” I think to myself.

By Wle2 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Wle2 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0]

Still, not what I’ve wanted, or hoped for or thought I needed. I’m pretty sure she said all she needed to say to me while she still lived and breathed. But this month I’m finding myself reliving and reviewing last December, since it was Kathy’s last month of this life. I can’t not do that.

So what does all that have to do with my Gratituesday today?

Kathy finally spoke to me, indirectly, but as directly as she could. Consider this quote before you read on: “If it weren’t for music, I would think that love is mortal.” ~Mark Helprin

Kathy’s husband woke in the middle of the night a month or so ago with the thought that “Kami needs to go to this Christmas concert I’m singing in.” He tried to ignore the thought and go back to sleep, but the it persisted. So he messaged me and then, a few weeks later, gifted me these tickets.

Saturday night MSH and I attended the concert. I tried not to have high expectations. It’s just a big two hundred and fifty member choir and an orchestra. Nothing professional. And I didn’t want to be disappointed by, I don’t know, Kathy not walking across the stage and waving hello to me or some such ridiculous incarnation like that.

And yet, life can surprise you.

The Christmas song Stille Nacht (ca. 1860) by Franz Xaver Gruber (1787–1863).

The Christmas song Stille Nacht (ca. 1860) by Franz Xaver Gruber (1787–1863).

The title of the concert? “Heavenly Peace.”

From the first note my heart opened up and tears dripped from my eyes like a faucet left on. Why? Because the music communicated peace right to the middle of me. I felt cradled and comforted by the harmonies. Oddly, the lyrics didn’t matter as much as the warmth that radiated through sound waves swirling around me.

Songs of delight and child-like frivolity also danced across my heart. A sweet preschool choir communicated the innocence and excitement of the holidays. A tonal poem of one word repeated drew a colored sound picture so exquisite.

By nosyme (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by nosyme (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0]

The final number, though, gave new meaning to the word breathtaking. Bagpipes and dancers, chimes, singers in the balconies, singers overflowing the stage, every single participant pouring their everything in to each note! I literally had to catch my breath multiple times to keep my emotions in check. The sheer joy of the Christmas season with generosity and fun, lights and song, focus and tradition, shot through my heart like lasers swooshing about the room. I felt lifted and renewed and saturated with incredible hope.

I felt Kathy communicating, “Feel that? That’s how I feel now! I feel relief and joy and freedom and incomprehensible love.”

I’m thankful today for music’s power to transcend ordinary communication. I’m grateful for musical artists who give with such abandon to their craft. I’m indebted to people who pay attention and respond promptly to nudges and thoughts and then follow through with generosity and love. I thank Kathy for getting through to me and showering down blessings from heaven. I’m overwhelmed with the joy of this Christmas season.

Thank you to any and all who had a part in this singularly magnificent Christmas gift.

musical notes

“Music… will help dissolve your perplexities and purify your character and sensibilities, and in time of care and sorrow, will keep a fountain of joy alive in you.” ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

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Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Holiday, Music | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

They Couldn’t Carry a Tune in a Bucket

Friday Letter to My Kids –

Dear J, J, L and L,

I hesitate to bring up this particular subject. It makes me squeamish. And I tend to cringe automatically with even the thought of it.

But, if I’m going to stay honest with you in these letters I can’t put off this subject any longer. You probably already knew this but had buried it in the deep recesses of a closet somewhere.

Our family can’t sing to save our lives.

Oh, sure, individually some of us have beautiful voices, but combining them together constitutes a crime against nature.

Surely you remember “Jumbo Elephant” or “The Train Song.”

My favorite and most memorable of the songs we sang together, hands down, goes like this:

“When we’re helping we’re happy and we sing as we go,

For we like to help mother for we all love her so.

Tra la la la la la laa, Tra la la la la laa,

Tra la la la la la laa, Tra la la la la laa.” ~ Wallace F. Bennett

Dad and the four of you would sing those words with the enthusiasm of a cow giving birth to twin calves and in about the same pitch.

Even with the piano accompaniment some of us couldn’t hit the right notes. I’m not sure why that happened. Sad, though, since your Dad in particular loves good music. What we sang was not good and whether it counted as music is still up for debate. Even “Happy Birthday” sounded painful and more like a dirge than a celebratory song. Ah, well.

My selections, although I don't mind Dad's at all.

My selections, although I don’t mind Dad’s at all.

I used to get irritated by those huge families (think Osmonds, Pointer Sisters, Jackson 5, King Family, Everly Brothers, Celtic Spring and countless other local families) that performed publicly, singing or playing multiple musical instruments. I liked to envision their four a.m. wake up calls so the whole famdamily could practice for three hours before school. And then, surely, afternoons required another three or four hours of lessons and practicing. Oh sure, they smiled while they performed, but in real life, at home, I’ll bet it was sheer misery for all involved. Or not. Maybe they loved music so much and were so good at it that no sacrifice seemed too great. It could happen.

That was what I told myself at least. I suppose it made me feel better about our non-musical abilities as a family.

A bit tinny and not exactly in tune, kind of like our family.

A bit tinny and not exactly in tune, kind of like our family.

I think I also feel badly for never providing piano lessons, or singing lessons, or music lessons of any kind. We had a piano! (I blame money and my own laziness and too many moves.) I find it silly that we didn’t make music a bigger priority. Big L, you did learn to play clarinet in Junior High and went on to High School with it but then gave it up for more important and interesting things. And you taught yourself, with a few months help from Dad, how to play piano. You found success in spite of your parents being musical slackers. Good for you! And Big J, you also taught yourself a few songs and even memorized them.

We still have that ancient guitar, missing its strings, leaning on one side of the piano. And on the other side, a violin that needs serious work that no one has a clue how to play. We are a strange music loving, non-musical family.

A sampling of the Classics.

A sampling of the Classics.

You poor kids lacked exposure to most any other kind of music except Classical, movie soundtracks and easy listening (i.e. elevator music) when you were younger. How weird is that? Sure I own a few albums; Paul Simon, John Denver, Kenny Loggins and the like. But Dad’s LP collection spans the millennia from Beethoven and Bach, Holst to Haydn. He went out on a limb with Classical Gas and Moody Blues, but they had their roots in the Classics, so it made sense.

I’m glad you finally discovered the Beatles and Alternative Rock, and every other musical genre out there. I’m happy that you’ve wandered around and partaken of the musical menu and found ways to let many different kinds lift and enhance your life.

And I’m grateful that Big J, with your mega bass speaker taking up the entire trunk of your car, completely understands the importance of turning the volume down when you enter a neighborhood. Mothers everywhere thank you.

I like to think that you all have a sense of humor about music, too. It would be impossible not to after singing along with our family in six different keys at the same time.

Laughingly and lovingly yours,

Mom

"Bluebird of Happymess"

“Bluebird of Happymess”

 ~~~~~

 

“Ducks in the pond quack a happy song,

Mother hens cackle the whole day long,

Birds in their nests and wind in the treetops,

All join in singing a happy song.”

~ Music for Young Americans, Book 2, by Berg, Burns, Hooley, Pace and Wolverton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Family, Friday Letters, Music, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Few Fab Finds and Some Fun

Found myself in serious need of ramping up my energy levels and changing the mood this past week. So I’ve tried a few different things to shake up the routine and shake off the blues.

DANCE

First, I mixed in more music with my days. The best way I know to ramp up the tunes involves that lovely free app called Pandora. I tapped on something new called Bossa Nova. Much more than the simple label Brazilian Jazz, it’s music that makes you want to dance but leaves you feeling mellow and laid back. Perfect while prepping or eating dinner. I think MSH and I need to learn some new dance steps.

ROAD TRIP

Turns out Pandora also has this thing called “Browse All Genre Stations.” It lists thirty-six genres, or types, of music you can explore. So I tapped on Road Trips. That gave me some options like Country Road TripFamily Road Trip, Road Trippin’ and Classic Commute.

So far I’ve only tried out Family Road Trip. Instantly addicted! I didn’t want to try any of the other stations because this had EVERYTHING!  Fifties to this year, Elvis to One Republic, Billy Joel to Rascal Flatt.

Can’t wait to explore the rest of the Road Trip stations. Then I plan on making my way through the other thirty-six genres and all those possibilities.

TAYLOR

Taylor Swift doesn’t fill everyone’s teacup, but I stumbled on her latest music video. What a bunch of fun! She dances and sings her way through all sorts of trends in “Shake It Off.” Mostly she’s laughing at herself, not taking things too seriously. But there are some seriously good dancers highlighted in the video. Made me want to dance, and  I laughed out loud. My favorite thirteen-year old laughed, too. That’s a good sign. Best of all it kind of makes me feel younger, which I consider a major plus!

DOG POETRY

Have you heard of Billy Collins? If you’re the kind of person who says they don’t like poetry, then you just need to spend four minutes with this video of Billy Collins in a TED talk sharing two poems (the second one is my favorite) about dogs. Yes. Dogs. Hearing his dry wit makes all the difference if you’re iffy about poetry at all.  Turns out I checked out one of his collections last week at the library without realizing who I’d stumbled on. What a great find!

TWITTERPATED

I think I might have gotten hooked. For those of you still fresh from the womb, i.e. forty years or younger, you might not recognize the term twitterpated. It’s a word that debuted in the Disney movie “Bambi.” It means infatuated or obsessed or smitten. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Twitter, the social media app.

Although, oddly, it’s how I’ve found myself feeling about Twitter recently. There’s something about “tweeting” that feels different from posting status updates. Maybe it’s the challenge of a limited number of characters. There’s a sense of immediacy on Twitter that I find fascinating as well. Whatever it is, I’m tweeting, like a newborn baby bird, uncertain of my wings and voice, but willing to learn to fly.

NOT INTERNET ADDICTED, HONEST

Lest you think all I do involves the internet, here’s evidence to the contrary.

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  • Thursday I danced with my favorite three-year old and favorite one-year old while MSH played the piano. We’ve all got some sweet moves. Really!
  • The desert sage burst into bloom overnight! Check out those purples in my slideshow above. And while you’re at it, take in the yellow blossoms, too. And don’t forget the neon orange Bird of Paradise that brightens the view outside one of my windows.
  • The sunrises this past week left me breathless and glad I got out of bed more than a few times.
  • Enjoyed a candlelight dinner in the cool (yes, cool) evening air outdoors with MSH, music wafting out to the patio from the stereo inside. Tasted better than any five-star restaurant. Nothing tops the view of the night sky either.
  • Did I mention the mile and a half walk home last week in a rare morning rainstorm? I’d recommend it the next time you have a chance. Ditch the umbrella, point your face towards the clouds and let the sky wash life’s dust from your shoulders.
The view just before the downpour.

The view just before the downpour.

Hoping for more rain later today and tomorrow. Either way, dancing’s gonna happen because I’ve got my new tunes on.

~~~~~

Have you found anything new and fun that adds energy to your day?

Categories: Fun, Music, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Warming Up and Getting In Tune

It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m grateful for music of the season.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re thinking, that sounds typical.  Except it isn’t exactly.

Mr Grinch

Mr Grinch (Photo credit: Candie_N (Welcome Fall))

During November I grinched around town. Every store I entered that already had Christmas tunes playing aggravated something in me. I’d secretly vow not to shop there during December since they ignored my personal unwritten rule that Christmas is a December thing. When I couldn’t find an Autumn or Thanksgiving themed wreath two days after Halloween, I swore off another couple stores. Everywhere I went Christmas assaulted me. Cinnamon scented pinecones here, exhortations to buy early and buy often there, and red and green glitter everywhere like a crime scene gone bad.

So on Sunday morning I’m listening to some music online and a Christmas song comes on and immediately my hackles go up, (picture a cat hissing, back arched, teeth bared.) Dang Christmas music, I’m thinking. Can’t they wait until December? Then it’s like I’m hit up side of the head with a baseball bat. Duh! It is December. It’s December 1st.  Helloooooo? Now I can enjoy Christmas music and do all the Christmasy things and enjoy the season.

But I’d curmudgeoned my way through November and couldn’t quite shake off the grouchiness even with it being December.

Bah!

photo-18 copy 26But then, last night, I attended a benefit concert put on by The Red Note Foundation in honor of a wonderful young bassoonist, Kristin Hooker, who lost her life when she was barely twenty years old.  Her love for music and her belief in its ability to change lives resonated throughout the concert. And just like the Grinch, I felt the ice around my grouchy heart begin to thaw and noticed it starting to beat again. In fact, it might have grown a bit in the process of listening to such a gift presented in voice and orchestra.

The Christmas season began for me last night thanks to those heartfelt, sacred soaring melodies.

Secular or silly, sappy or sacred, A cappella or orchestrated, modified lyrics or ancient rhymes, I love it all! The songs of the holidays rate high on my happy list, something I had forgotten, apparently. Now that my internal strings are in tune I’ll enjoy all of it with gusto.

Greenery

Greenery (Photo credit: Sharon Drummond)

Come what may, shopping frenzied crazed drivers, baking disasters, piles of unsent Christmas cards, Christmas trees that topple over, strands of lights that only halfway work, or picture perfect scenes of family bliss gone awry. No matter. I have Christmas beating right here in time with the music in my heart.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Music | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Like Nobody’s Watching

 

Feeling a bit sluggish I click on over to Pandora for some tunes to rev the old engine.

 

Serendipity does one of those “ah ha” kind of things. Kenny Loggins starts playing “Footloose.” Exactly. Yes, exactly what my body, brain and feet needed to kick start my day.

 

Dancing Feet

Dancing Feet (Photo credit: JPott)

 

Power resides in certain arrangements of notes, rhythm, timing, lyrics, beat, and style. Power to lift. Power to lull. Power to move and change and motivate.

 

Why should I be surprised when a song changes my mood? It happens over and over and over.

 

Yesterday on the road I cranked on the radio, it’s crackly speakers rattling with the shimmy, buzz, hum and squeak of my old truck. Three Dog Night started in with ‘Joy to the World.” Y’know, “Jeremiah was a bullfrog…da da daaa!” Happy crowded into the cab of the truck and road along, tapping its feet to the beat. Man, we were rocking it. “Joy to the world, All the boys and girls now, Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea and Joy to you and me.”

 

Moments like that can carry you through some crazy times.

 

I can’t get through a month without a bit of Santana’s “Smooth.” I also love moving it to “In the Mood” by Glenn Miller. And who can leave out Counting Crows “Accidentlly in Love.” And the Beatles “Twist and Shout.” And of course, “Boogie Shoes” by KC and the Sunshine Band. And the quintessential  disco album from the movie “Saturday Night Fever” especially “Stayin’ Alive.

 

Gotta admit here that I’m a kitchen dancer. Yes, me. I can bust a move, boogie, disco and cut a rug like a pro, at least when no one’s around.

 

 “Dance like nobody’s watching.”

 

It does something for your mind and your heart and I’m not talking cardio, either.

 

spatula

spatula aka a microphone if you need one on the fly (Photo credit: jmcunnin2000)

 

Maybe you’re not a secret dancer, maybe you’re a spatula-microphone or toothbrush-microphone kinda person. If so then James Taylor is your man, with “How Sweet it is to be Loved By You.” You too can be a star when you ramp up your day with a few sweet songs. Try listening to the kicky tune by Dave Barnes “Little Lies.” Or “Clouds” by Zach Sobiech, there’s an upbeat song. Kat Edmonson has a sweet one called “Lucky” that’ll get your toes tapping.

 

Looking for something different? Try Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Love Changes Everything,” or “Simple Gifts” by Aaron Copeland. And who doesn’t love Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wondeful World.”

 

Music makes a huge difference in my life from Sunday to Saturday. I need more of it, more often! So I’m building a new playlist titled:  Feel Like Dancing.

 

I’m open to any suggestions ya’ll wanna throw my way. Current stuff, oldies…I’m open minded and ready to dance.

 

Categories: Happiness, Music | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Wisdom from Tiny Bird Triplets

Like sunlight opening up an entirely different view, a new twist on an old thing can cast light where there was shadow.

I found that happening when I stumbled on this cover of a Bob Marley song on Pandora.

Bob Marley? Yup. Bob Marley.

If you have to ask “who’s that” then click here.

This particular recording of the song he wrote, Three Little Birds, gets new life through the voice of Elizabeth Mitchell and her sweet little daughter. The female vocals, the lighter quality of the accompaniment, in fact, the entire feel of this cover tastes, smells, looks and sounds different from Marley’s version.

I’ve listened to both. Both versions play well, but, sorry to tell you, I prefer the newer version. It feels light-hearted and freeing without a sense of a background agenda. It just seems happier.

But don’t take my word for it. Listen to both and tell me what you think and why.

Either way, you’ve heard a great tune you can add to your playlist, or that lightened up your day. Enjoy. I know I did.

Woke up this mornin’,
Smiled with the risin’ sun,
Three little birds
Sat on my doorstep
Singin’ a sweet song
A melody pure and true,
Singing: “This is my message to you-ou-ou.”

Singin’: “Don’t worry ’bout a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”
Singin’: “Don’t worry (don’t worry) ’bout a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right!”

Woke up this mornin’,
Smiled with the risin’ sun,
Three little birds
Sat by my doorstep
Singing a sweet song
A melody pure and true,
Singing: “This is my message to you-ou-ou.”

Singin’: “Don’t worry ’bout a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”
Singin’: “Don’t worry (don’t worry) ’bout a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right!”

Woke up this mornin’,
Smiled with the risin’ sun,
Three little birds
Sat by my doorstep
Singing a sweet song
A melody pure and true,
Singing: “This is my message to you-ou-ou.”

 

Categories: Happiness, Music | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

An Ode to Joy

How many times have you sung along to a song, not completely certain of the lyrics?  A few hundred at least? Yeah, me too. When you do find out the actual lyrics it sometimes changes how you feel about the song. Or it just makes the song make more sense.

Three and a half weeks after those first ominous days of uncertainty after her stroke, I watched my Mom sit down at a grand piano in a quiet wing of the hospital cafeteria. Her occupational therapist sat nearby as she put both hands on the black and white keys and played a simplified version of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.”

Surely orchestrated by some angel in charge of perfectly timed moments, for me that brief experience felt like serendipity!  That song played within an hour of arriving at the hospital, captured my emotions at finally, blessedly being with Mom after so many weeks of enduring the tug and pull of needing to be in her physical presence.

Page 12 (right) of Ludwig van Beethoven's orig...

Page 12 (right) of Ludwig van Beethoven’s original Ninth Symphony manuscript. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every time I’ve heard “Ode to Joy,” especially the final movement when the chorus joins the symphony and raises the roof with Schiller’s German poem put to music, my heart has soared.

Imagine how my heart felt then, hearing my Mother, a pianist all her life, play the piano again, albeit, hesitantly. Relief, at her ability to read music and have it translate from eye to brain to hand to ivory, flooded through me. Surely as more healing takes place, as more therapy trains and retrains synapses and connections, she’ll be able to sit down and enjoy playing the piano with ease and confidence again.

I’ve never known the translation of the German lyrics. I only knew that my head and heart responded to the music with a sense of exultation and energy.

Surely, I thought, as I watched Mom struggle through some other simplified piano music, the lyrics to “Ode to Joy” must be very powerful to lend themselves so strongly to the impact of the music.  Of course, I looked up the translation and wasn’t surprised.

Sorry to say it wasn’t a poem about the joy of a mother and daughter reunited. But it’s not far off. It’s a song of brotherhood, of relationships, of the joy that can occur because of those connections.

Honestly, the whole of humankind is a family. The potential for joy astounds when looked at that way. But of course, we personalize and take things in small bites. We learn how to interact in family groups and then let that translate out into the world.

That’s just my take on the music and lyrics.

But don’t take my word for it. I’ve included the English translation below.  And I also want you to be able to feel the joy in this music, so, of course, I’ve included a phenomenal flashmob link for you to click on. I recommend having tissues nearby.

Now that I know what the lyrics are, it changes how I feel about the music. From here on out it will remind me of my mother, of my family, of those most important of connections. Those permanent bonds of love and caring bring more joy than anything I know.

Joy, bright spark of divinity,
Daughter of Elysium,
Fire-inspired we tread
Thy sanctuary.
Thy magic power re-unites
All that custom has divided,
All men become brothers
Under the sway of thy gentle wings.

Whoever has created
An abiding friendship,
Or has won
A true and loving wife,
All who can call at least one soul theirs,
Join in our song of praise ;
But any who cannot must creep tearfully
Away from our circle.

All creatures drink of joy
At nature’s breast.
Just and unjust
Alike taste of her gift ;
She gave us kisses and the fruit of the vine,
A tried friend to the end.
Even the worm can fell contentment,
And the cherub stands before God !

Gladly, like the heavenly bodies
Which He set on their courses
Through the splendour of the firmament ;
Thus, brothers, you should run your race,
As a hero going to conquest.

You millions, I embrace you.
This kiss is for all the world !
Brothers, above the starry canopy
There must dwell a loving Father.
Do you fall in worship, you millions ?
World, do you know your Creator ?
Seek Him in the heavens !
Above the stars must He dwell.

Categories: Hope, Joy, Music | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I Will Do It For You

Recently discovered this song by Phillip Phillips.

Still resonating in my head and in my heart. I think it hits home, plucks those chords running through who I am. It reminds me of all the people I love so dearly. It recalls the love I’ve received so selflessly over the years in spite of it all.

The video adds another dimension of meaning and beauty.  I’ve included the lyrics afterwards so you can really catch the meat of it all.

Thanks to such wonderful artists who had a hand in this one. It’s all you, I’m just happy to share the splendor of what you do.

Phillip Phillips Gone, Gone, Gone is a track from his début album “The World from the Side of the Moon”.

When life leaves you high and dry
I’ll be at your door tonight if you need help, if you need help
I’ll shut down the city lights,
I’ll lie, cheat, I’ll beg and bribe to make you well, to make you well
When enemies are at your door I’ll carry you way from more
If you need help, if you need help
Your hope dangling by a string
I’ll share in your suffering to make you well, to make you well

Give me reasons to believe that you would do the same for me

And I would do it for you, for you
Baby I’m not moving on
I love you long after you’re gone
For you, for you
You would never sleep alone
I love you long after you’re gone
And long after you’re gone gone gone

When you fall like a statue
I’m gon’ be there to catch you
Put you on your feet, you on your feet
And if your heart is empty
Not a thing will prevent me
Tell me what you need, what do you need

I surrender honestly
You’ve always done the same for me

And I would do it for you, for you
Baby I’m not moving on
I love you long after you’re gone
For you, for you
You would never sleep alone
I love you long after you’re gone
And long after you’re gone gone gone

You’re my back bone, you’re me cornerstone
You’re my crutch when my legs stop moving
You’re my headstart, you’re my rugged heart
You’re the pokes that I’ve always needed
Like a drum baby don’t stop beating
Like a drum baby don’t stop beating
Like a drum baby don’t stop beating
Like a drum my heart never stops beating

For you, for you
Baby I’m not moving on
I love you long after you’re gone
For you, for you
You would never sleep alone
I love you long after you’re gone
For you, for you
Baby I’m not moving on
I love you long after you’re gone
For you, for you
You would never sleep alone
I love you long, long after you’re gone

Like a drum baby don’t stop beating
Like a drum baby don’t stop beating
Like a drum baby don’t stop beating
Like a drum my heart never stops beating for you
And long after you’re gone gone gone
I love you long after you’re gone gone gone

 

Categories: Love, Music | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Big Yellow Songbook

One particular music book held a special place on the piano as I was growing up.

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I called it MY big yellow songbook. Of course, I had to share, but it felt like mine.

I loved that book.

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Mom would play the tunes on the piano while I sang along as best I could. I couldn’t pick a favorite song because each spoke to a different part of who I was or who I planned on becoming.

There were songs about visiting Grandpa’s farm, riding in an airplane, roller-skating, puppies and fluffy bunnies. These were wholesome lesson-filled songs about manners, songs of the seasons and of holidays, of family, extended family, nature, songs about things that young children love to see and do.

The train song got the most play time because we’d sing it on the way to either Grandparent’s homes when we saw a train, which seemed fairly frequent.

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Making the songs even more entertaining were accompanying illustrations of brightly colored cherub faced children with shiny cheeks. A little girl rocks her dolly, children dressed for Halloween, a grandmother with her granddaughter on her lap reading a book, two kids on a pony racing a train, a giraffe and an elephant at the zoo.

My siblings and I loved that book to shreds. We colored in it, wrote in it, traced over the notes, wrote our names. The cover came loose, pages became ragged and worn, torn, and slowly went missing.

If there was anything left of that beloved music book by time Mom and Dad’s house fire took its toll, there was nothing after that. The piano was a loss, as was all of Mom’s music books and half the house.

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Sixteen years ago a 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition of “My Picture Book of Songs” came out and I got my hands on one. I felt I’d found buried treasure, won the lottery and hit the jackpot (sorry for the clichés) all at once. I gently turned the pages and felt a rush of nostalgia as my childhood swooped into the room and caught me up in a whirlwind of memory and delight.

Oh my!!

I had sung those songs as best as I could remember to my own children as they were growing up. With the new edition I could share the pictures with them, too. I could also share the songs I had forgotten.

I’m sure that Alene Dalton, the illustrator; Myriel Ashton, who wrote the music; and Erla Young, the lyric writer had no idea the impact their book had on so many children and families. “My Picture Book of Songs” was originally written as preschool book for children and their teachers during World War II. MA Donohue published it in 1947.

Now, 66 years later, their book is part of my two-year-old granddaughter’s life. She adores the “choo choo” song among many others. Her eyes sparkle with joy as we look at the pages and share a sweet melody, a moment of timelessness.

Likewise, my own eyes sparkle, but mine are filled with tears and laughter and wonder.

Categories: Books, Music | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Michael Row the Boat Ashore to Where Your Ears Hang Low

It’s Gratituesday! Campfire songs fill my head this time of year. I grew up in the era just before “Kumbaya” hit the sarcasm wave. I’m certain I never knew what it meant, but it sounded nice with a fire glowing on everyone’s faces and a few people throwing in harmony. Same with the “Michael Row the Boat” song.

 

Campfire

Campfire (Photo credit: JelleS)

 

When I was half-pint, then there was this young woman and her dog that wandered into campsite. We were there with a bunch of other families, so we were a pretty rowdy and varied group. This lady managed to make a pretty big impression on every one of our from what I could tell. Maybe it was her story, but I think it was her music.

 

Hiking and hitchhiking across the country, with her guitar strapped to her back, she’d join whatever group looked interesting and offered hospitality and a meal. She played sang a lyrical song and her dog looked properly mournful, then she played and sang some upbeat stuff and her dog’s ear perked up. I decided that very night I was going to hitchhike across the country with my dog and guitar and bring joy and music to people’s lives. Fortunately for my mother’s sanity I lost that dream somewhere along the road.

 

But the singing outdoors around a campfire, that never left me. It’s firmly wedged into a permanent spot next to my heart.

 

My cousins sing this really hilarious version of “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” I haven’t mastered this one yet. Gotta work on it at this year’s reunion.

 

A bunch of years ago I learned a camping song about “MILK!” of all things. Fell in love all over again with the singing thing. During part of the chorus you do some cow milking action while you sing, “Moo, moo, moo, moo.” It’s really fun, funny. Cute. Really, it is. Sorry, I guess you have to be there.

 

English: Campfire at fire ring, Canoe Island

 

That’s the thing. It doesn’t work unless you are there. Glow of the fire, smoke following beauty, a stick stirring the coals, marshmallows browning, a couple of good jokes, maybe even a scary story or two. Then the singing. Ah yes. Life is good then.

 

Campfire’s happen less and less often. Not for lack of camping, well, maybe, MSH would say we don’t camp often enough. Ninety percent of the time high fire danger restricts the building of campfires. Singing is less likely to happen without that glow to ward off critters and mosquitoes and, of course, to set the mood for a great tune or two.

 

The memories are almost enough though. There’s surely a bunch of ’em.

 

So what’s your favorite campfire song?

 

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Music, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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