I attended two concerts this past week in my newly adopted home town of Asheville – one bluegrass and one rock. I also bought tickets for four live music events coming up in July and August. It made me think about music and its place in my life.
When I was young, my dad sang with a barbershop quartet and with the church choir. He had a wonderful, deep bass voice. My mother played the piano and sang with a lovely Johnny Mathis “trill”. My brother played guitar and sang during high school and became a professional musician for many years. (At 56, he still does gigs with several groups around Cincinnati). When we were in our early teens, Dad and Mom would take us to hear the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra a few times a year and to occasional musical theater productions like my favorite, West Side Story. I loved these outings.
I sang with the church choir, I played the accordion, I was the band director in grade school, I sang in several high school plays, I learned to strum the guitar in college, and I even sang with a trio at an early 70’s company talent show.
Then, I lost music for awhile in my 20’s and 30’s. I was very busy with a career and I “didn’t have time”. I also didn’t have someone in my life who shared my musical interests.
When I met Ray, our romance began with a dance. Soon after, we were sharing music on “tapes” (remember those?) We painstakingly compiled favorite song tapes (not easy 25 years ago!) and sent them to one another. We went to jazz clubs and local beach bars. We saw as many live performances as possible … local musicians as well as nationally known artists. We watched concerts on tape and later on DVD. We hired local musicians for company parties and for our own parties. We always entertained with music in the background.
Over the years, I’ve been able to see James Taylor, Elton John, Lyle Lovett, Steely Dan, Billy Joel, Phil Collins, The Steve Miller Band, Joe Sample, Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, Willie Nelson, Kenny G, Diane Schuur, Patti Austin, Ray Charles, Dr. John, Bonnie Raitt, Dave Sanborn ….. and many, many more. Next month, I’ll see Sheryl Crow and Boz Scaggs in North Carolina. In December, it will be jazz (Fourplay) in the Big Apple.
I admit it – Ray and I are probably a little over the top when it comes to listening to music and attending concerts. Hearing loss issues – both our own and some of our other “mature” friends – keep us from turning up the volume too much during cocktail parties. But we still crank it up when we’re alone.
I believe that music helps keep us young. It definitely keeps our brains active. Who knows, it may even be helping to slow down Alzheimer’s!!!!
Here’s a wonderful quote that I like:
“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without” – Confucius
But here’s the one Ray likes:
“Play it f***in’ loud!” -Bob Dylan
P.S. Does music play a big part in your life these days? If so, let us know about it.