This year, my mother came into town over the weekend. Partially, this was for Mothers Day, but mostly, it was to celebrate my wife’s graduation from University. Four long years of work paid off, and now the real work is about to begin. After I was around 10, I was raised almost exclusively by my mother, and it can’t have been easy. I wasn’t ‘normal’, and my brother and I didn’t really get along all that well until we had both grown up.
No matter how hard things got though, my mother made sure I could continue to participate in the extracaricular music programs at school, and drove me early in the morning, for practices, and was ok with me staying late. She found a way to get me to the various international band trips, or local clinics. When I was younger, too young to really appreciate it, she signed me up for guitar lessons, and I’ve been kicking myself for years for quitting after 6th grade. It wasn’t until I was about 27 that I picked one up again. I’m still surprised to find myself writing, rehearsing, and performing, but can’t imagine giving it up.
My wife and I are blessed, in that both of our children are musically inclined as well. We’ve done all we can to pass on that torch, and keep the flame of inspiration burning bright in the next generation. It hasn’t always been easy, and prices have only gone up, but looking at what our kids have already managed, we’re hopeful that they will continue. Our son began his journey with a year of music discovery, trying clarinet, trumpet, and voilin. He stayed with trumpet, but also learned french horn, bass guitar, and now piano, largely on his own. He has joined the various school bands, as well as performing frequently with me and occasionally with some musical collegues. Our daughter had a larger pool of instrument discovery to draw upon in school, and has been bouncing between percussion and trumpet for a couple of years now, while dabbling with guitar and piano. She has far more courage than I ever did at her age, performing with us at various concerts and festivals, as well as solo performances both at school and open mic nights.
Our listening preferences are pretty varied. I grew up listening to everything from classical to rock, rap, country and pop, and my wife’s preferences put mine to shame. Her play list is so diverse that most music stores would cower in fear. With all the music in our home, and surrounding the family when I drag them along to my shows, it’s not all that surprising that we would choose to see some award winning songwriters perform in an intimate venue for Mother’s Day. Don Henry, Craig Bickhardt, and Nathan Bell killed it, individually and in various incarnations of duo and trio over the course of about 2.5 hours. Hearing songs made famous by touring artists performed by their writer was a special treat. We were by no means the only folks to take part. Trinity House Theater was packed to the rafters, and nobody would have minded if it went on all night.
The funny thing about music being a major part of your life is how much it impacts other areas. Some singer-songwriter friends surprised my wife with a giant chocolate cake at the concert, in celebration of her graduation. Serenading commenced, and the whole audience enjoyed the cake. Music is heartfelt, and brings out the best in people, forming a community. Whether you’re a band kid, a garage band member, an open mic attendee, a local or touring artist, you just play for friends and loved ones, or you love to go out and see live music alot, music brings you closer to those you choose to share it with, and that’s something special.