Monday, August 20, 2018

Climb Every Mountain- Why I Will Always Love The Sound of Music

My Senior year at Forest Lake Senior High School, I played The Mother in Abbess in The Sound of Music. I think it is my favorite role that I have played. I was still a horrible actress but was able to quickly use my singing ability to cover up my dramatic failings. In the stage version, it was the  main 4 nuns that sang My Favorite Things, not the children and Maria like it was in the movie. We had fun and really enjoyed performing this song.  But for me, being able to stand at the very edge of the stage over the orchestra pit and belt out Climb Every Mountain as the VonTrap family was leaving was an experience I will never forget.  I believe we did 7 or 8 performances over two weekends and I was absolutely head over heels in love. In love with this song, with this play, with musical theater. But mostly I was in love with performing.

I began singing when I was 9. My sister was a very talented dancer and had been dancing competitively since she was only 2. I went with my mom and sister to all the competitions and knew that some of them, such as Symposium, also had singing categories to compete in. My mom asked if it was something I would like to do, and I thought yes. She bought me a beautiful white lacy dress with long blue sash and naturally, the first song that I sang at the competition was My Favorite Things.  I won 1st place my first time on stage, and from then on,  I had the performance bug.  I loved the applause, I loved the accolades, and I loved when the judges told me to keep it up.

I joined a music school, a traveling kids choir and started taking private voice lessons.  I knew nothing of breath support, nothing of using my voice as a tool, and for sure nothing about protecting my voice. No more screaming and yelling. No more shouting or cheering.  And absolutely, stop drinking anything other than water or tea.  (It was hard for me to give up the apple juice and orange juice.) But I did everything my voice teacher instructed and then some.  I sang as I walked to bus. I sang in the tub. I sang while playing. I often got distracted and sang while doing homework. I hummed in class and was often reprimanded.  I wanted to sing, and I wanted to sing well.

I continued voice lessons all through Junior High but not as often when I entered High School as my schedule became a bit more full. After school drama practices and youth group events filled my days.  But I kept singing. At Churches, for The Heart Association Annual Fundraiser and other corporate events and dinners, County Fairs and at The Minnesota State Fair, and even found that I could major in Vocal Music Performance at the college I would be attending.

At Crown College, I loved singing in Women's Chorale, continuing voice lessons with a Professor, and Music History and Music Theory Classes and the opportunity to sing often at events. Choir Tour through 5 states the spring of my Freshman year was amazing.  When I was 18 and declaring a major at college, my young mind thought that Vocal Music Performance sounded superb. Learn about music, hone my craft and become an excellent performer. Right up my alley. Until I actually got to Crown and realized that the only major I was interested in wasn't available anymore. I was at a loss. You mean I have to pick something else?

I didn't want to teach music.  I couldn't be a nurse. Didn't want to want to be pre-med. Didn't want to teach school. What was I going to do? I decided to focus on my Bible Minor and learn as much as I could while taking as many music classes as possible. I enjoyed Old Testament and New Testament History, Harmony of the Gospels, Psychology, World History,  Apologetics and many other classes.  I quickly ran out of money after my first semester of my Sophomore year. I knew I was going to have to drop out of school, figure out what would work for me and absolutely get a full time job.

Dropping out of College was a very difficult decision.  I started working full time a month and  half later at a financial institution and then was married four months after that.  No, I didn't abandon my dreams of singing, my dreams changed. They became more realistic.  Would I keep singing? Indeed I would. At county and state fairs, at churches and weddings, at special events, and I would absolutely continue singing in the car and in the shower. Those were where some of my most amazing performances would continue to occur.

While continuing to explore music and lyrics, I rediscovered my love of poetry.  So many beautifully written poems were just waiting to be turned into music.  I adored short beautiful, sometimes heart wrenching stanzas that pierced my heart and would bring tears to my eyes.  I started reading more, not just poetry, but short stories and the classics. I often had long drives to and from work, and discovered books on CD were a wonderful way to digest amazing literary works that I wouldn't have time to read otherwise.  I then started trying my hand at writing again. I had written short stories as a child, poetry as a teen, and found that I was ready to write again.

I have enjoyed experimenting with writing prompts, (some which are using song lyrics to write a story) writing flash fiction, non fiction stories and am currently working on two books.  One, a full length book which is a collection of short stories and poetry. The other is a children's book, written with my son Zach from his perspective. Zach is 15 and has Autism.  He is an amazing artist and the book explores what it is like to be a teen with Autism.

I love singing with my son and daughter.  My son loves Worship music and will request something new every evening.  My daughter Lily has more eclectic taste.  She loves TobyMac, Skillet and Lauren Daigle.  She adores all the Music from The Greatest Showman and knows the entire soundtrack by heart. I do not hold enough musical knowledge to ever write a whole song, but would love the opportunity to create lyrics at some point.  Lily, in her own mind, has already written enough music for an album. We will just have to wait and see. Josh used to play the guitar quite a bit and even accompanied me a few times when I sang at churches and Christmas concerts.  However, he leaves the singing up to the kids and I.

If I ever break into song, it usually is the song Never Enough, anything by Sam Smith or Adelle and worship songs that have made my heart soar. Please be kind and tolerate my musical distraction for a bit.  Music fills my heart with joy and even recharges me as it does for so many others. Now, if I ever start in with a dramatic performance of Climb Every Mountain, shut it down.  That is me trying to show off.  And nobody has time for that.

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