My last blog was about the “connection” of music, and even if we are not musicians per se, how the connection is still there and a message is placed in our subconscious through music, whether we realize it or not.
Do you remember a “first song?” I know we had the nursery songs, Christmas carols and other children’s songs in our home. My mother played Tchaikovsky, and I danced to it as a pre-schooler. I was exposed to all types of music. My parents told me the first song I SANG was “Let Me Go, Lover,” recorded by Joan Weber. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_Me_Go,_Lover! My version was “Emme go, emme go, emme go, yuver!”
But the first song I remember hearing on the radio was “Tammy,” by Debbie Reynolds. I still smile when I hear that song. I considered the name Tammy Gail (my middle name) for my child. It didn’t pass muster with my school-teacher husband. (It is very difficult to name children when you are married to a teacher. You find something you both like, and you yell “SOLD!”)
I took piano lessons for two years when I was seven. When I was about nine and my brother seven, we learned to play the ukulele and my parents bought him a wonderful junior guitar. Ben could not see well; so he could hear and play. He was very gifted for a seven-year-old. We could both sing.
When I was about nine, the “Hootenanny” era was launched on Saturday night TV. My aunt was in college, my cousins were in high school and junior high, and we all played and sang folk music. Even today I can listen to the Limeliters, the Kingston Trio or Peter, Paul and Mary for hours! We knew ALL the songs and we traded around the records, and when we got together; be it Christmas or any other time of the year, we WERE “Hootenanny.” I knew even then I was singing harmony, so by the time I got to organized music in school, I easily slipped into the second soprano role.
I sang in junior high and in my freshman year (remember we were not at the high school in those days, although these were high school credits) I sang in choir and also a select group of 16 women’s voices, where we sang some specialty music in a SSA format. In that group, I was also “in the middle.”
When I moved to high school, I became involved with an excellent music program. I was in the Concert Choir my sophomore year (I call it the training choir because that’s what it was educationally) and then made the top choir, the A Cappella Choir my junior year. During these years, I was excellently taught skills that remain with me even now, although my talent and my ear is slipping; I still know how to breathe and what good diction is supposed to be, even though I can slip up there also
The friends that I made in high school choir were like no other. To this day, there is a special connection with all of us. Our memories of the music, the travel to competitions and just the being together during third period every day stay with us.
Because my high school director was also my church music director, I got it from both ends. I was not allowed to sing in church choir until I had made A Cappella Choir in school. The training had to be there first. I have probably said to every church choir director I have ever had, “What I lack in talent, I make up for in training.”
|This is my senior year, 1971. I am in the front row.|
Seventh from the left.
In those days, much of our music was scripture-based; and that was my first experience with scripture memorization. I went to church, make no mistake about that, but I was never involved in a scripture memory program per se. Most of us in my graduating class can quote Revelation Chapter One verbatim, and we know why! It was our state competition required piece.
I sang in Wright State’s Choir my freshman year, but it was such a step down that it was a little frustrating, and once I was on the fast track to graduate in three years, I did not have time for that. I still sang at church. I sang in a church choir when I moved to Columbus for a year. I sang when I got home to Fairborn. In fact, the only real breaks in my life were my early marriage, then again after I had my first baby, and from 2002-2007, when Joel was a three-sport athlete. I never doubted my return, however.
I have actually sung with my present choir director in two different churches, so I am pretty comfortable with him. We have talked about this, but it seems like churches are “aging out” of choirs. This makes me sad. I am just surmising here, I don’t really know this for a fact; but it seems that the younger people are not coming out of their high school and college choral programs with a vision for choir in their churches.
|2011 Christmas Program|
Front row, second from right.
We have praise teams now. I LIKE being on a praise team! It offers me a different sort of expression for music. There’s a little more “wiggle room” for me as an alto, because I am the only one singing that part, and if I go off-path a little (and I AM rebellious!), as long as it’s within the harmony of the piece, it’s OK!
However, I still like choir! I also like more contemporary music than I sang in high school, but that’s my personal choice. I am very grateful for the opportunity I had, and the ability to appreciate the classical pieces.
Today, I think of my role as that of “worship leader,” not performer; and I just love pieces that offer “audience participation.” OK, I will get spiritual now and say “congregation and choir participation.” After all, it’s always for the Audience of One!
I would LOVE to hear from my readers as to how music impacts their lives! To comment, you do not have to have a google or other account. You can choose “anonymous” and write your comment. Please sign your name and anything else of pertinence. I don’t even have to give permissions to comment, although I would remove anything inappropriate. So far that has never been an issue!