I probably have my parents to thank for my appreciation of music. My dad played an upright bass. My mom loved singing with her siblings and performed with the Sweet Adelines, an international organization of women dedicated to preserving barbershop harmonies. From those pulses of inspiration, music has broadened into a major power in my life.
In my early years, the Top 40 songs caught my attention so I synchronized my step to their beats. As a teen, both the harmonies and lyrics of Doo-Wop captured the whirling ups and downs of the acne years. People like Dion put into melody the strain of being “a Teenager in Love” as the cavalcade of girls strolled before my watering eyes. Then in the loneliness of my room, I heard the Beach Boys sing about their lonely times too.
As I matured, I learned that music can help with my chores. For mindless work, any rock and roll ditty made it easier. For repetitious exercise, I needed rhythms that fit a certain tempo. For work that required more concentration, New Age was becoming popular and I could squeeze out the world and enter a place of beauty and creativity. When the Sony Walkman arrived, I plugged into a stereo world that crowded everything else out except my music. These days, my overloaded iPod has taken its place.
There was a time many years ago while listening to Mozart I decided some music even proves God’s existence because the sound seems far beyond human reach. A most remarkable piece to me is the Second Movement (Andante) of Mozart’s Flute Concerto #1 (K. 299). The violins play a melody inviting my emotions to overflow their bounds. The idea of music proving God’s existence came to me from the movie “Amadeus” when the character Salieri comments while looking at one of Mozart’s compositions “It’s as if I am seeing the mind of God.”
Music has had a deeply felt impact on my life. After my wife died six years ago, a group of musicians singing “Will That Circle Be Unbroken” made me feel the immense emptiness. Once, while singing in a chorus the harmonies seemed to choke my vocal chords leaving me no alternative but to sit and listen. Hearing the soloist sing “O Amazing,” (a Robin Mark song praising the stunning grace of God) at my wedding captured the mood I was feeling on that amazing day just over two years ago.
I am deeply grateful for the gift of music which collapsed the precipice of denial bringing me full face with my sorrow I needed to be experiencing. It restored my faith in God bruised from hard times. And for all the thousands of chores I didn’t really care to do, it helped make them more than tolerable.