my family, for as long as i can remember, has been surrounded by, immersed in, and moved by...music.
we sang grace at the table, holding hands, peeking at one another, when we barely could form the words.
now my sister's children do the same. leading the others who aren't familiar with the words of gratitude. following a tradition for at least another generation. reminding us of our youth.
we sang hymns. the historical, respectful, amazing hymns. we watched with little eyes as our father swayed his hands to keep the beat. we watched the smile grow across his moustached face as he looked out across the small crowd. we held the hymnals and pretended that we could read the words. then one day, we could.
we went to concerts, tried to sing along. bought a cd and a poster and had them sign it. thought it was worth pure gold.
we performed for people, making them laugh and smile.we joined choirs, sang casually in groups. "they're like an american von trapp family. sing us the national anthem!" we played instruments, learned about the history of grandad's trumpet, our ancestor's songs. performed for many, performed for few. sometimes only for the walls.
we jammed out with our walkmans. worked up trouble when we blasted the stereo. struggled to change the car radio. fought over cassette tapes and cds. "no, i remember, i bought this at the mall last summer. it's mine." sang with our friends. made videos, longing to emulate her, him, or all of them. played a super good song when we returned to a place we loved. drove around the block once more to hear the smooth voice sing loud over the beat. "are you listening? you've gotta listen to the words! i'll start it again." always wanting to share our experience. listened when nobody else wanted to listen. we would sing on a good day, or just allow the sounds to permeate our souls on a bad one.
listened as the music made us smile, laugh, or cry and shed tears beyond our understanding. the music made us still. the music made us move.
"i'm just movin' to the music."
"where did you learn to dance like that? i didn't know you could do that!" --it's just in me, mom.
dancing for hours so we wouldn't scream. dancing for hours so we could.
the music helped make us who we are, expressed what we weren't sure of, and interpreted the feelings we couldn't explain.
i am convinced that if we couldn't hear, couldn't make a sound, couldn't move...we would always have a soundtrack running through our heads. and if not, always a song in our hearts.
on a lighter note, i remember my mother once telling me that music didn't seem to affect me the way it did my sisters. i was a bit offended by that, but told myself "it's because i am more private. i don't want anyone to see that about me." i'd like to think that is true, but maybe it just took longer for me to appreciate the finer notes and tones.maybe it was more than zoning out to the cranberries, or feeling like eddie vedder just got it. i think my voice also strengthened when i was older, and i became more confident of my musical abilities.
i think we all still long for the stage.
well, when i did have the stage, i sure did enjoy it. a few of my best performance memories are:
music when soft voices die.
children of the earth.
the man i love.
and now, i still miss the uniformity, individuality, rigidness, fluidness, and beauty of performing in a group. for now, i just sing along. and hope that no one hears me. or if they do, that they like what they hear.