Category Archives: Music

The Cellist

She was thirteen and just starting middle school. She felt out-of-place and disliked. It was plain to see that she had no friends. There was no one who would talk to her, no one who would eat with her during lunch time, no one who would walk with her to class, and no one who would sit with her on the bus. It seemed that no one liked her.

She struggled with homework and she had a difficult time when it came to taking tests. She felt like she couldn’t learn anything, couldn’t remember anything, and couldn’t do anything right. No one understood her, cared what happened to her, and it seemed as though no one even knew that she existed. And she felt sad as she wondered: Is this the way that it’s meant to be?

Then one day it happened. There was something new in her life, something exciting, something just for her.

A cello.

This magnificent instrument entered her life and she began to learn how to play it. She practiced and practiced and then practiced some more. It wasn’t long before she became a member of the school orchestra. Yes, it was wonderful, and her world became a better place.

Her cello became her constant companion and her best friend. This friend was always there for her, understood her, and never let her down. When she played her cello, she could be herself and everything was all right.

She began to make friends at school – friends who played in the orchestra with her. These friends introduced her to more friends. Soon, friends were calling her at home, walking with her to class, eating lunch with her, and riding with her on the bus. And she knew that life was good. She was filled with happiness as she thought: Maybe this is the way that it’s meant to be!

Three years passed and she entered high school. All the old anxieties came rushing back to her. She was sure it would be the same thing all over again – no one to understand her, no one to care about her, and no friends except for her faithful cello.

She auditioned for and subsequently won a place in the concert orchestra, which was quite a feat for a freshman because freshmen rarely were allowed to play in the concert orchestra. Surely luck played a part in her placement. It never occurred to her that it was her talent which had secured her position.

Then something wonderful happened. The other kids told her that she was good; as a matter of fact, they said that she was really good. As before, she made new friends, and those friends introduced her to more friends.

By the time she was a junior, she was the first chair in the cello section – the chair reserved only for the best cellist. At last she was really someone, someone of status, someone who played an important part in the orchestra. And she knew that life was good. With a feeling of great joy and hope she marveled: Yes! Maybe this really is the way that it’s meant to be!

Then came her senior year, the year that every teenager awaits with eager anticipation. It was a wonderful year; indeed a memorable year, and at the final orchestra concert, she and her best friend – her beloved cello – played a solo. She played for an audience of 500 people or more. The piece she played was a difficult one, but she played it perfectly, and her best friend – her cello – did not let her down.stephcello4

When she finished, there was silence. Oh no! she thought in dismay. They didn’t like it!

Then it happened – a thunderous applause! All those people were clapping for her! One by one, everyone in the auditorium stood up and applauded. She could hardly believe it – a standing ovation! This was a rare thing indeed! But it really was not that difficult to understand why this happened. The audience recognized the talent she had, they appreciated the beautiful way she had played, and they gave her the credit that she truly deserved.

She knew then that she had found her life’s work.

And finally she realized: I know this is the way that it’s meant to be.

 

* Author’s Note:  At the present time (May of 2015), our youngest daughter Stephanie has just completed her first year of studies at the University of Wisconsin in Madison where she is pursuing her master’s degree in music performance on the cello. Her dream of being a professional cellist and some day performing with a symphony orchestra burns brightly.

 

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Writing 101: Day Twenty – “The Things We Treasure”

Day Twenty – The Things We Treasure:  

* Today’s Prompt:   Tell us the story of your most-prized possession.

* Today’s Twist:  We extolled the virtues of brevity back on day five, but now, let’s jump to the other side of the spectrum and turn to longform writing.

 

I can say without a doubt, that music has always held a prominent place in my life. I discovered at a very young age that having the ability to make music, whether it is through singing or through an instrument is a beautiful gift to the person who is performing, and to perform, thereby giving that gift of music to others is so rewarding. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve had a passion for music. I don’t mean to brag, but very early on, I discovered that God blessed me with a singing voice, and ever since then, I have used it whenever I could. Whether I was doing my chores, walking to school, riding my bike, or just sitting on the front steps to our apartment building, I’d sing. And it didn’t matter to me if I wasn’t singing for an audience, because I knew that somehow there was someone, somewhere who could hear me, even if it was only the birds and the squirrels in the trees.

I think I’ve always loved music because I knew that in music, I could express myself, whether I was in the throes of joy and happiness or in the depths of sadness and despair. I knew that if I couldn’t find the words, I could always find the music, the melody, the mood, the tempo. Music was always there. It may not make sense to someone else, but it always made sense to me.

While growing up, one of my friends was taking piano lessons, and I was so envious of her. Oh, how I wanted to learn how to play the piano! But my family could not afford to buy piano, much less the expense of my taking piano lessons. I used to look forward to going over to her house to spend time with her because sometimes she would let me sit down at the piano and she would try to teach me some of the lessons she had learned. I was an avid student. Of course, she was not the best teacher, but I learned what I could. Not only that, but I had an excellent “ear” and could play some melodies by ear. But oh, how I longed for a piano of my very own! Then one day she and her family moved away. Not only was I sad to see her go, but I was also sad because I knew that was the end of my piano-playing days.

As the years went by, and I married and had children, every now and then I’d still think about my dream of owning a piano some day, but raising a family and other financial concerns seemed more important, so my piano dream was set aside until last January. I began thinking about playing the piano once again, now that our children had left our nest. I own 76-key electronic keyboard and I decided to take the plunge and begin piano lessons. I knew that we couldn’t afford a piano, but I could practice on the keyboard. I have a friend from church who teaches piano, so I began taking lessons from her. After a few lessons at her home, It wasn’t long before I noticed the differences between playing on her piano and practicing on my keyboard. The touch was different, the weight of the keys was different, and even the width of the keys was different.  I knew that in order to derive the full benefit of piano lessons, I would have to practice on a real piano. But how? After giving it some thought, soon I came up with a plan and knew exactly what to do.

I telephoned my church choir director. Of course – I’m a member of our church choir! Since we live only five minutes from our church, I asked her if I could practice every day on the piano in our choir rehearsal room.

“Of course, you could . . .  but, I have another suggestion,” Therese said.

“What’s that?”

“Well, I have a piano at home that you could have.”

“What?”

“Yes. I have a piano for sale on Craig’s list, but no one’s really asked about it, so you could have it.”

“But we really can’t afford a piano right now. That’s why I’d like to practice on the one at church,”

“No, Cindy. You don’t understand. You can HAVE it. For free. I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather give it to.”

I was speechless. I could hardly believe what I was hearing. She was going to GIVE me a piano. FREE. It was going to be as easy, as simple, as wonderful as THAT. Before I knew it, I was sobbing uncontrollably because this beautiful, wonderful, kindhearted, loving woman was going to make my lifelong dream come true.

A week later, the big day arrived. My piano was going to be delivered. I had spent the day before preparing for it. It was like I was preparing for company! My husband and I moved the computer desk out of the living room, which is where the piano was going to “live.” I dusted the entire living room from top to bottom. I vacuumed the rug, and swept and polished the wooden floors, making them glow.

Isn't my piano beautiful?

Isn’t my piano beautiful?

Ten minutes before the piano was due to arrive, I sat on the sofa with my little toy poodle Lucy, anxiously watching out the living room window, waiting for the piano moving truck to arrive. It seemed as though the time was ticking by so slowly as I waited. Then it appeared. Around the corner it came. The truck with MY piano! Even my little Lucy could sense the joy in my mood as she jumped off the sofa, wagging her tail, running back and forth from the door to the window where I stood, watching as the truck pulled slowly into our driveway. The doorbell rang and I ran to the door to answer it. I greeted the piano movers with a huge smile on my face and happiness in my voice. I followed their every move as they carefully and skillfully brought my piano into our house, setting it into its place of honor. Then I gave them their hard-earned pay, thanked them, and said good-bye, but in my mind, all I kept thinking was, Hurry and leave, so I can sit down and play the piano, MY piano! 

And finally it was time. My dear choir director had wrapped up the bench with a beautiful white ribbon, ending with a gorgeous bow on the top. It was so like her to make such a gesture; after all it was her gift to me. I carefully untied the bow, planning to save it as a keepsake, thinking I would place the ribbon inside the bench so I wouldn’t lose it. I opened the bench and lying inside was a carefully folded note.  It was printed by hand, and on the outside were the words: Enjoy the Piano! I opened it and inside were some more words which read: May it bring you great joy and happiness!  Therese.  These words from my choir director so touched me that I broke down and cried tears of joy.

It was at this moment when I realized that sometimes if you dream long enough and add a little faith to the mix, dreams really do come true. And that it’s never too late to begin a new chapter in your life – even if it means learning to play the piano at the age of fifty-seven!

 

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Bridge Over Troubled Water

 

 

Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel is a song which describes what my husband is to me. He is always there for me, no matter what the circumstances may be. Whether it’s in good times or bad times, through sickness and through health, whether we’ve been financially secure or not, he’s never wavered, not for one single moment. I have always been able to count on his love and support. He has always been my bridge over troubled water, and for this I am eternally grateful. I dedicate the following poem to my husband, Michael:

 

~ Y-O-U ~

You are my morning, my noon, my night,

You are my stars, my moon, and my sun,

You are my laughter and my delight,

You are my dear, my special someone.

 

Yours is the love which I always seek,

Yours are the arms I always run to,

Yours is the kiss which makes me feel weak,

Yours are the words that say I love you.

 

You always make me feel I matter,

You always make me feel I’m the best.

You always make my worries scatter,

You always make me feel I am blest.

 

You are the one who’s there when I’m sad,

You are the one who’s there when I’m blue.

You are the one who can make me glad,

You are the one who will see me through.

 

You’ll give me happiness ’til the end,

You’ll give me joy sent from above.

You’ll give me what I need in a friend,

You’ll give me what I need in a love.

 

You are all that I need to succeed,

You are all that I’ll ever ask for.

You are all that I will ever need,

You are all that I’d want forevermore.

 

Y – O – U

This post has been a written as part of the Singing Saturday Challenge.

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Red-Letter Saturday #5: “She Loves You by the Beatles”

RED-LETTER SATURDAY #5:

beatlesOn this day, August 23, 1963, the Beatles released the hit single, “She Loves You” in the United Kingdom, which went to Number 1 on September 12th and stayed number 1 for four weeks. “She Loves You” was the best-selling single for the Beatles in the United Kingdom. The single set and surpassed several records in the United Kingdom charts, and set a record in the United States as one of the five Beatles songs that held the top five positions in the American charts simultaneously on April 4, 1964. 

 

 


 

Who could ever forget this iconic song by the Beatles? I’ve read a bit about this song, and in my research, I read that it was this particular song which thrust the Beatles full-scale into the British national spotlight. And part of the reason for this was due to the repetitiveness and effectiveness of the song’s “hook,” which is the “yeah, yeah, yeah”  chanted repeatedly throughout the song. As a matter of fact, they were so effective that in some parts of Europe, the Beatles actually became known as the Yeah-Yeahs!

 

 

But whenever I think about Beatlemania, I become a little bit sad. The reason for this is that when Beatlemania hit, I was only seven or eight; so therefore, I was too young to appreciate who they were. I was too young to be one of those screaming teenage girls in the crowd clamoring to get a glimpse of the Fab Four. I was too innocent to be among those adolescent girls who fainted in their seats as they listened to the four young men from Liverpool on stage singing and rocking to the beat of the music. I wasn’t old enough to be one of those star-struck girls sobbing her heart out as she watched John, Paul, George, and Ringo perform. Yes, I was just too young to be part of Beatlemania . . .

Come to think of it, maybe I was lucky! 🙂

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “From one generation to the next, the Beatles will remain the most important rock band of all time.”   ~ Dave Grohl

 

 

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This post is presented as part of my special weekly feature, Red-Letter Saturday. If you’d like to to know more information about Red-Letter Saturday, click here:

Red-Letter Saturday

 

Music is the Key

Let’s face it. In today’s world, life can be stressful. There is just no way that a person can have a stress-free day every single day of their life. There’s bound to be something, somewhere, sometime during the week that is going to cause tension in our lives. Maybe it will be a stalled vehicle in the middle of rush hour traffic which causes the commute to work to be even slower than usual. Or maybe you didn’t get the contract that you bid on and were counting on getting. Maybe the kids have been acting up lately and you just can’t seem to be able to deal with them. Or maybe you just had a bad hair day. Whatever the cause, we all should be able to have that one thing to do, one place to go, or one person to talk to that will make us feel better. Right?

Whenever I’m stressed out, there’s one thing that has always helped to make me “feel human again,” and that’s music. The reason for this is that I can listen to the kind of music that will fill my needs at any given moment. If I need music that is uplifting, then perhaps I’ll listen to a dose of spiritual music. If I’m feeling sad and blue, then maybe some rock and roll music is in order to cheer me up. Music can transport me into another world. It can take me away from all the stress and all the worries of life. It can soothe and comfort me. Music makes me feel better.

If the weather’s nice, I might sit on my deck in the back yard and listen to my music. Sometimes it’s great to take a bubble bath with the music playing. At other times, I’ll lie in my bed and listen to my music there. And I’ve also taken walks with my music playing through my ear buds (my dog loves it when we do this).

It really doesn’t matter where I go or what I do. The key to relieve my stress is music. And who is one of my favorite artists? Take a listen:

 

 

All I really need is music. Music makes my world go round.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”   ~ Berthold Auerbach

 

 

 

When You Wish Upon A Star

I absolutely love today’s prompt because it’s all about my absolute favorite thing in the world: MUSIC. Not only that, but so far, this has been a very good summer for me, and the main reason has been because of music, so I am more than happy to share it with you. And the song which reminds me of this summer of 2014 will have to be the following song, a Disney classic, When You Wish Upon a Star:

 

 

I’ve chosen this song because I have been spending my summer immersed in learning how to play the piano. Yes, that’s right. In case you don’t know, I am a 57-year-old woman who is just now learning how to play the piano. But even though I’m just learning how to play the piano, I’ve always loved music and it’s always been a huge part of my life. I knew it the very first time that I discovered what singing was and that I could do it. From that point on, I have never stopped singing, a fact which annoyed my big brother to no end while we were growing up, I might add!

I dreamed of playing the piano ever since I was a little girl, but we could never afford a piano. And then came marriage and after that came motherhood. There just never seemed to be time or money for my piano. But I never forgot about my piano dream. And in February of this year, my dream finally came true.

And now, every Tuesday morning, I drive to my piano teacher’s house for my weekly piano lesson (which will explain to you why it is that on some Tuesdays I don’t submit a blog entry). I practice on my piano at least twice, sometimes even three times a day, for an hour each time. This shows you how much I love playing the piano. Not only that, but after all, I do have a lot of time to make up for! When I play the piano, it’s as though I am transported to another world. I can let all my emotions and feelings drift through the music. It’s almost difficult to explain. It just makes me feel good.

I only wish that I hadn’t missed out on this amazing opportunity for so long. But now that I have it, I am going to make the most it. And I thank God that I am so blessed.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.”  ~ John Updike

 

 

 

My Daughter, the Cellist

stephcello4She was thirteen, and just starting middle school. She felt out-of-place and disliked. It was plain to see that she had no friends. There was no one to talk to, no one to eat lunch with, no one to walk to class with. It seemed that no one liked her.

She struggled with homework and taking tests. She felt like she couldn’t learn anything, couldn’t remember anything, and couldn’t do anything right. No one understood her, cared what happened to her, or even knew she existed. At least that was the way it seemed to her.

Then one day it happened. There was something new in her life, something exciting, something just for her.

A cello.

This magnificent instrument entered her life. She learned to play. She practiced and practiced and then practiced some more. Before she knew it, she became a member of the school orchestra. Yes, it was wonderful, and her world was better.

Her cello became her constant companion, her best friend. This friend was always there for her, understood her, and never let her down. She could be herself when she played her cello and everything was alright.

She started to make friends at school—friends who played in the orchestra with her. Those friends introduced her to more friends. Soon, friends were calling her at home, walking with her to class, and riding with her on the bus. And she knew—life was good. At least, that was the way it seemed to her.

Three years passed and she entered high school. All the old anxieties came rushing back to her. She was sure it would be the same thing all over again—no one to understand her, no one to care about her, and no friends except for her cello.

She auditioned and placed in the concert orchestra, which was quite a feat for a freshman because freshmen hardly ever played in the concert orchestra. Surely luck played a part in her placement. It never occurred to her that it was her talent that secured her place.

Then something wonderful happened. The other kids told her that she was good; as a matter of fact, they said she was really good. As before, she made new friends, and those friends introduced her to more friends.

By the time she was a junior, she was the first chair—the chair reserved for the best cellist. At last she was really someone, someone of status, someone who played an important part in her orchestra. And she knew—life was good. At least, that was the way it seemed to her.

Then came her senior year, the year that every teenager awaits with eager anticipation. At the final orchestra concert, she and her best friend—her beloved cello—played a solo. She played for an audience of 500 people or more. The piece she played was a difficult one, but she played it perfectly, and her best friend, her cello, did not let her down.

When she finished, there was silence. Oh no, she thought in dismay. They didn’t like it!

Then it happened—a thunderous applause! All those people were clapping for her! One by one, everyone in the auditorium stood up and applauded. She could hardly believe it—a standing ovation! This was a rare thing indeed!  But it really was not difficult to understand why this happened. They recognized the talent she had, they loved the beautiful way she played, and they gave her what she truly deserved.

She then knew that she had found her life’s work.

And she thought: Maybe…that’s the way it’s meant to be.

 

 

 

 

 

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