Monday, May 08, 2006

There is Sweet Music Here...

that softer falls
Than petals
From worn roses on the grass.
Or night dews
On still waters
Between walls
of shadowy granite
in a gleaming pass.

--"The Lotus-Eaters", Alfred, Lord Tennyson

One of my favorite poems that sums up how I feel about singing is that one, by Tennyson (of course it helps that I love Tennyson...well, except for Idylls of the King ). Music has always been a major part of my life, starting with when I was about three and sang "Someday My Prince Will Come" in my preschool's version of "Snow White". I've loved to sing since then, and act, when applicable. Music is my art, my therapy, my solstice, a surrender, and a great way to create beautiful art out of black notes dotting a staff.

I sang at SPX, often cantoring our class Masses with my best friends, who also sang, or singing solos. I played Jasmine in Aladdin and Aurora in Sleeping Beauty where I was originally cast as the Witch, because she was the only girl's part with a solo. After a rehearsal or two, the director, a priest from Seton parish in Pickerington, decided that it just wasn't working because I didn't look like a witch-I looked like a princess. So he wrote me a beautiful song about love and being young and in's fantastic, "When I Fall In Love". If anyone out there in blogger land knows Fr. Dave and can get me a copy of this, I would be forever, eternally grateful. I loved that song. By that point, my voice was dropping from my childhood soprano to the more mature Alto I would nurture in high school and in voice lessons.

I took private voice lessons in high school and learned classical singing and a few songs from operas (always ones sung by boys...sigh). My favorite songs to sing in recital were "Send In the Clowns" and "Storybook"--I will never forget singing the later junior year at the high school talent show and having boys whistle when it was over (OK, that could've been because of the was black, short and sparkly...hey, the character was posing as a bar maid. What more do you want?).

I loved performing, loved the rush I got from being on stage and watching the curtain rise, following the methodical rise and fall of the conductor's baton. I loved hearing my voice run over the intricate parts of the score, which increased as I got older and sang in the All-County and All-State Choirs. In college I was a member of the Women's Chorus, and every year the three choirs of Cap put on Christmas Festival, a two/three hour extravaganza of Christmas music. It is a fantastic experience, matched only by the performance of Verdi's Requiem my freshman year. A 200+ choir and a full orchestra...amazing.

Musis, I have determined, in God's great gift to us, and one that He has blessed me with abundantly. Besides singing I also play the piano, where I play Beethoven, DeBussy, Bach, Mozart and other pieces that evoke romanticism and melancholy. (I'm good at that :) ) I used to play Beethoven's "Moonlight" sonata at home, whenever it rained, because it seemed to compliment rain so beautifully.

AS my lungs because more and more damaged, singing became more difficult, but I neer gave up. Instead, I found solace in hymns, such as:

The King of Love my Shepherd is
Whose goodness fails me never.
I nothing lack if I am his
and He is mine forever.

Perverse and foolish have I strayed
But my dear Lord, He calls me.
And on the shoulder, gently laid
And safely home he brought me.

As transplant grew closer and closer, I couldn't sing that hymn all the way though. The "safely home" part was just a little too true for me. It was the same with "Amazing Grace", ever since Sept. 11.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come
'Tis grace that's brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.

Singing hymns became part and parcel of trying to get through the rough times. It was amazingly hard, sometimes, to make myself sing those words. But I did. My happiest memories are connected with music--it was at a musical that a man first told me he loved me enough to marry me. I can soone rimagine a life without music than a life without oxygen. Singing is the ultimate release for me...and I do it so much better now!

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