Friday, October 23, 2015

Finding Your Jam: 17 Weeks to Living A Beautiful Life

It's Week 7 in my 17 Weeks of Learning to Live A Beautiful Life! 

I've had quite the week. I won't get into all the juicy details here (think snot).

I had to go there.

I originally had some notes scribbled down for a different "beautiful" topic this week.

But. Things changed in my heart a little bit and I thought I would talk a little bit about the healing power of music.

I'm sure that all of you understand how it works. You have your favorite songs and singers. Maybe you enjoy a particular genre of music or are a musician yourself.

There has always been music in my life.

Both sides of my family are musical. My parents encouraged music in our lives in one form or another. I took piano lessons, played the saxophone...but the love of my life was choir and vocal music.

You don't have to even carry a tune to love music. Music speaks to our soul. It can sooth or agitate. It can convey a message or a feeling that can't be expressed in every day words.

Some of my favorite music speaks of my Savior's love for me and touches a place in spirit.

Some music touches me as musician. I can appreciate the intricacies and musicianship involved.

Some is just plain fun. And we all need a lot of fun.

If you could compose the playlist of your life what would be on it?

This week I want you to think about the music of your life. What are some of your favorite songs and what do they say about you? Do you find solace in music? What kind of music energizes you?

For my part I want to share with you 11 of my favorites.

I like all kinds of music. When I was little my parents bought a box of "albums" (those were round vinyl objects) from a flea market. Inside was swing, opera, a record of Disney favorites, Christmas music, classical, a little bluegrass....It was like ....magic. And Skittles. And Daffodils.

The Song That Causes My Eyebrows To Rise Ever So Dramatically

My first song is Luciano Pavarotti singing Nessun Dorma. You have to watch this. The expression on his face after his final glorious note is spectacular. It's like he's saying "I can't believe I just hit that note...I'm completely awesome!" Yes. Pavarotti is Mr. Awesome.

And what is a "Nessun Dorma?" It is an aria from Puccini's opera Turandot. I believe it's in Italian. 

The Song That Needs To Be Played Every Time I Walk Into A Room (just sayin')

My next choice is Boléro.  Bolero is a one-movement orchestral piece by Maurice Ravel. This, too, was on a record of Best Loved Classical Music. I adore Bolero. When I was little I would pretend I was part of a long procession of fairy creatures. I was the princess who made a dramatic entrance towards the end when the music starts to swell. 

Of course, I am partial to the saxophone section in this piece...You got to love the orchestra conductors. The conductor for this particular performance is Valery Gergiev. He is also the artistic director of the Marinksy Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. The Marinsky is home to the Kirov Ballet. This my friends is the kind of stuff you know when you watch documentaries for fun.

You have to watch this one with the kids. Especially if you are a homeschooler. This is a wonderful introduction to the orchestra.

The Song Most Likely To Make Me Cry

We are going to take a break from my classical choices (for the time being); My next song is one of my favorite songs in the whole history of songs.  He Leadeth Me is MY jam. It tells my story. This one is frequently is our song rotation at church. I always sing lead for this one.

The clip below is not of me. The Martins are a group I have seen several times. They have that close family harmony that I enjoy while singing with my own family.

The Song That Tells Me It's Going To Be Okay

This song has been a source of comfort for me as well. It is an old-fashioned Southern Gospel song written in 1911. My favorite version is done by the incomparable trio of Dolly Parton, Linda Rondstat and EmmyLou Harris.  This might not be your kind of music, but you would have to almost tone deaf not to appreciate the harmonies. I got to sing a few of the "Trios" songs in High School. I always sang EmmyLou's part....even though I felt like a Linda.

The Song That Makes Me Burst Into The Alto Part (unsolicited)

You have to know this next one. If you spent any time at all in a large choir you probably sang it.

Yep. It's The Hallelujah Chorus. I chose this clip so you wouldn't have to listen to Handel's complete Messiah. I can still remember my part. I think they switch the arrangement up a little. I saw some Sopranos singing on the alto part at one point. Altos never get the love they deserve.

Alto power!

Did I mention I'm an alto?

I ADORE Celtic Woman. In my spare time I dress up in a fancy ball gown and sing beautiful arias to castles full of people.

I only wish.

The Song That Makes Me Want A Ball Gown. And a Tiara. 

This song, Non C'e Piu, is gawwgeous. I believe it was composed by Antonin Dvorak.  When I am contemplative and need to hear something beautiful I listen this. And yes...this is one is on my real life playlist. I often use it as a cool down for my workouts.

I know what your thinking. Girlfriend! Do you like anything from the past few decades.

Well, yes. I do.

The Song That Makes Me Want To Sing! 

One of my favorite groups to listen to is Pentatonix. Oh. My. Goodness.

They are an A Capella  group. As anyone knows who has sung A can be a tough genre. The tendency is for folks to lose the key just a bit.

I like several of their covers, but I just saw the video for one of their new original songs online.  I don't know that it showcases their abilities as well, made me happy.

The Song That Convicts Me!

I am a big fan of the group For King and Country. Their song, "Proof of Your Love," is so powerful.

The first time I heard it we were driving through the countryside. It spoke volumes to me. The music video is pretty awesome.

The Song That Makes Me Feel Slinky...And Makes Me Think of Rockin' My Baby

I know what your thinking. 

What does that mean?

See I was right. This song is just pure wonderfulness. It's smooth. It's slinky. It's got soul. This version is from Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. Pure, Pure Awesomeness. 

I used to sing it as a lullaby to Josiah. When I hear it today I have to fight the urge to grab my teenage son and plunk him in my lap. 

Enjoy. ....Oh. By the way. If you really want to listen to something special look up Dinah Washington on Youtube. Just click on one of the playlists you see there. That lady could saaang. 

The Song Most Likely To Cause Me To Burst Into Spontaneous Dance When Played Over the Speakers At The Store

So I wrestled with myself over this one. Do you really want to know that a pastor's wife enjoys a little funk? This song was even my ring tone for a long time. I decided to change it after it went off during a Wednesday night Bible Study. The Vice President of a local Bible college was speaking. Just sayin'... However, this is the song I play when I need to put a little pep in my day. 

The Song That Just Has To Be Played

My last choice had to be this one.

I admit it. I'm not ashamed. I am a musical loving Freak! The Phantom of the Opera is not a new story. It actually was a French novel first. There have been many adaptations, but my favorite is Andrew Lloyd Webber's musicale. The above version is from the 2004 film (of which I own). The Phantom played by Gerard Butler isn't the most gloriously voiced...but it's Gerard Butler!

I generally like happy ending, fluffy kind of musicals. This one is not fluffy in the least. But the music is just plain catchy. I had to force myself not to include an addendum. The Phantom of the Opera (song) is a close second to The Music of the Night.

Aren't you glad I abstained? This has been one long post.

So my friends. I had fun sharing my music. What are some of your favorites?

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