I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing

Last night I did something spontaneous!

Every summer, the lovely ladies of Spirit of Harmony come over to the theatre and serenade us. They are a chapter of Sweet Adelines International, basically a group of acapella singers in choruses or barbershop quartets made up of women only. The following is a video of them performing in competition (where they won either second or third place, I’m not sure)


Every time I watch them perform I say, “I want to do this, this looks like so much fun.” Last night I said it out loud, to one of the members of the chorus. She said, “Come to rehearsal with me!”

I said yes.

I had a blast. It was so fun to sing just for the sake of singing, and be part of a group making beautiful music together. I wasn’t trying to prove myself, or worrying about what people might think, I was just singing.

Life is much better if you just let go and sing once in a while.

Anyone want to sing with me?

Joyful, Joyful! Living a Life Full of Moments

I admit I love watching flash mobs. Some of them are lame, but sometimes they touch something in me that makes me want to run out and sing and dance to express the pure joy of existence.  It’s the combination of music and/or dance, with the look of surprise on the faces of the observers that makes me think “That’s what it’s all about!”

I love being surprised by art and beauty when I least expect it. There is something about those expressions that take me out of myself for one brief moment, and recognize the magic that exists all around us.

Art found in Seattle.

There is nothing better than walking through a crafty little store and finding a little drawing with a quote or a snippet of poetry that speaks to your heart. If I could buy ever whimsical craft that calls to me, my house would an eclectic mix of inspiration and kitsch, but everyone walking in would find something to look at which makes them smile.

 Music, song, poetry, dance, art, laughter, words, friendship . . . these are the things that fill life with the moments worth living.

It’s too easy at time, to lose those moments, and get swallowed up by the cares and worries that obscure the spontaneity and the beauty But when that happens, its even more crucial to take time to:

Dance in the waves.

Eat ice cream in the sun.

Or simply sit and relax with someone you love.

I need to remind myself of this more often, and focus on the wonderful moments that make life worthwhile. Either that or I need to start having spontaneous flash mobs or turn my life into a musical by singing and dancing through the day.

On the Road Again . . . Into the Unknown

I’ve always had the secret fantasy of becoming a singer in a band, sharing music with the masses as I travel from town to town. I have the hidden urge to be a song writer, but that would require me to become much more fluent in the language of music then I currently am. Of course, I can read it a little better now, since I decided to start studying piano last year, but I lost the fluency of my youth.

But this post isn’t about music, or about my secret dreams. It is about journeys and our path through life.  I would have to argue that “journey of life” is one of my guiding metaphors, but I’ve forgotten that recently. In my desire to “find home” or find a place to belong, I’ve forgotten the motto I adopted earlier this year in a post called “The Journey” .  [Some days I AMAZE myself with my creativity and originality :P ]

We are about to embark on the next journey.  Literally and figuratively. If I can ever get my family moving, we will begin the 8 hour drive back to Independence, KS. Then we begin the job of packing our little house up to begin the journey to the next phase of our lives in Massachusetts. We still don’t know for sure where we will live once we get there (but I have found a rental I hope). I still have no idea what work will come my way once we get there (except for a definite class in the spring).

We say farewell to our summer home, which is always bittersweet. Okoboji Summer Theater is a unique and magical microcosm, that is almost a fantasy. We are surrounded by people who love creating good theater. We live and breathe quality work. We do not need to worry about food, or shopping, or any of the basic chores of survival (beyond laundry and cleaning up) and we can walk out the door and be at our work. In many ways, this is heaven.

For me, this summer has been complex, to say the least, but overall rewarding. My family hopes to return next summer, and I do to.  I only hope that, in that return, I can feel more confident in my own purpose here and contribute a little more. I have already applied to teach for the ArtsLIVE camp that I helped out at this summer, and if that comes through I’ll feel more confident about the whole thing.

But again, this is not about our summer, it is about life’s journeys.

Today our journey continues. I wonder where it leads?

The Soundtrack to Life

The Show Must Go On...

Image by HocusFocusClick via Flickr

An icy cold night in Southern Vermont. The pangs that started earlier in the evening grew into an excruciating groan that led to the decision it was time to go.

Step into the freezing cold car. Turn the key. The first blast of music from the radio “This is it! Make no mistake where you are!”

Hysterical laughing ensues, followed by, “You need to calm down, I can’t drive.”

This is one of the most memorable moments of my life, marked even more vividly with song.

How often has this happened to you.  A song comes on that exactly matches the mood you are in, or gives you the message you need to hear. I don’t know if the mood calls forth the song, or if we simply look for connections that make a deeper meaning in life. Whichever it is, it happens to me all the time. Or, songs simply pop into my head as background music to whatever is going on at a given moment.

At one point in my life I would sing spontaneously, whatever I was feeling at the moment. Sometimes real songs, sometimes made up ones. It didn’t matter. My daughter does that now, and I envy her the spontaneity.

I always joke that I want a soundtrack to my life, or that I’ve always wanted my life to be like a musical with show-stopping song and dance numbers whenever appropriate.

This morning, with me stuck in my head perusing the purpose of my existence, the first song when we got into the car was “The Show Must Go On” by Queen:

Empty spaces – what are we living for?
Abandoned places – I guess we know the score..
On and on!
Does anybody know what we are looking for?

Another hero – another mindless crime.
Behind the curtain, in the pantomime.
Hold the line!
Does anybody want to take it anymore?
The Show must go on!
The Show must go on!Yeah!
Inside my heart is breaking,
My make-up may be flaking,
But my smile, still, stays on!

“This is perfect,” I said with a giggle. And then I realized, it really was. I have a soundtrack to my life, just like I’ve always wanted. That soundtrack does wonders; it heals, it hurts, it makes me laugh, it makes me cry, sometimes it makes me want to sing, and sometimes it makes me want to dance. The music defines me in so many ways, and that is a great thing.

Keep the music coming!

Childhood Memories: School House Rock! (Another Argument for Arts in Schools)


Schoolhouse Rock!

Image via Wikipedia


I am preparing to direct a production of School House Rock, Live! that goes up in February. So, in a natural way, the songs are floating around my head on a regular basis. The thing I find fascinating is how many of them actually live in my brain. There are a couple I don’t remember, but for the most part I know almost every song, including the tunes as well as most of the words. Now, why do I remember them so well? Simple answer, they were fun, they included music, and they were interesting. Why does that recipe for success in learning seem so elusive these days?

This morning I started watching the videos again. There is nothing fancy about them; they include basic animation, with excellent music, and catchy words. Some of them are very dated. BUT, they still touch something inside me, and bring back good memories. They live in my memories.

Isn’t that what we hope to achieve for students today?

Which cartoon do you remember the most and why?

Musings on The Writer’s Almanac

Driving home,

Listening to the deep,

melodious tone of

Garrison Keeler

tolling like

church bells.

I don’t hear church bells here.

Am I missing them

snuggled in my home on Sunday Mornings

dream of

Sunday brunch and quiet?

Hoping for a future

full of contentment, peace

and words

that echo through the ages

like the writer’s

intoned by that

deep, magical voice.


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