"If we ever get into an argument, take me dancing”, I said to my new husband. That is when I fully realized the value of music in my life. I cannot remain angry if I’m dancing. I just enjoy it too much. The funny thing is even though he did not dance well (at first), he always would.
It was music that caused me to act totally obnoxious at a jazz festival. "Kem", the head liner, started singing "Heaven". When most women were emotionally reaching out to Kem, I starting telling my friends "I got a man who says those things to me!!!" "That is what Isaac tells me". I bought the cd, took it home and "Heaven" became our theme song.
Though acknowledged late in life, music has always played a major role. During my 4-year college life, I performed in every dance production held there except one. I taught dance to Upward Bound students, with Angelia Bassett possibly being one of them. I danced a duet that was life impacting. I directed “Porgy” for my senior project and it was the first production ever to use the theater’s new sound system featuring a then unheard of electronic sensorsizor. “Summer Time” became the first song I could hear and remember the notes. I convinced my daughter to play it with her flute as I sang. Since then she has collected numerous versions of “Summer Time” and listens to them when she needs a little solace. [the version with this story is the same music as my play, the person singing it is blowing it up - love it]
As a child I sang in our church’s “midget chorus”, however, other than the one song I could lead, I was tone deaf and could not carry a tune alone. As an adult, I took singing lessons and I sang a duet with my elementary-age daughter who had to bail me out somewhere between “do and me”. This itty bitty little girl looked up at me, saw my distress and got us through it.
30 years after the fact, “the life impacting duet” led to my dance partner being directly responsible for my being appointed to portray Mary McLeod Bethune as a one-person-show. I sing two 2-line solos during the performance.
Recently a rhythm memory flooded back to me when I took an African shaker with me to a small church. I really wanted to play a washboard, but that would have been rude to the sole washboard player for that church. To my unexpected delight, I calmed my corporate nerves and allowed the childhood rhythm memories from my aunt’s sanctified church flow through my arm to that gourde. With the washboard and the shaker coming together it was as if Africa met African-American. Others performed a spiritual dance and my Methodist (AME) raised soul was happy.
Wonderful Ersula. I love the humble description of your singing prowess and someday I want to sing a duet with you. Now, that would be something to remember!! Thanks for sharing.
Music, YES! It has great power to influence the human soul. Some Civil War general supposedly said something like: "I'd rather lose a regiment than give up my band." EVERY Army knows the value of music as does any savvy lover.