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Friday, September 17, 2010

Another Trip Through Time Via Music

This was an article that was published in our local newspaper a couple of years ago. At the time, I was writing a weekly column for the paper that covered local events, as well as my own thoughts and ramblings. I was impressed by the spring concert and displays put on by our local high school students.

After working three shifts over the weekend, the last thing I wanted to do was attend a school concert. A quick hot meal and my recliner in front of the TV was closer to what I had in mind. But my grandkids were in the band, so of course, I was expected to be there. What I didn’t know, was how much I was going to enjoy a trip back through time.
As I entered the gym, the array of art and industrial arts projects drew me over for a closer look. I saw some amazing pieces of art on the bleachers, and the far end of the gym floor was covered with some very nicely crafted furniture, including coffee tables, computer desks, entertainment centers, a bed frame, a few dressers and many other items. Walking through them brought me back to my own high school days, when I had music concerts.
I played tenor saxophone. Not particularly well, but apparently well enough to be in the band from 5th grade through college. I knew just enough piano to be able to plink out a tune with one hand. I was never coordinated enough to be able to handle both hands on the keyboard. I admire anyone who can play well.
The picnic table brought me back a few years to when my boys were in high school and creating their own projects. One made a nice picnic table, and one made an entertainment center. They made other projects, of course, but those were the ones that really stand out in my memory. My daughters were involved in furniture-making, too.
As I wandered over to the bleachers, I remembered Becky’s art work and other projects. She is a better artist than I am, but doesn’t use her talents in that direction any more, but rather decorates her home and other rooms. I can paint a picture, but please don’t ask me to hang it straight, or come up with an attractive display of items to decorate a wall. I don’t have the imagination to handle it. The art on display tonight had won awards. As I was snapping pictures with my digital camera, a pleasant lady seated at the end of the bleachers asked me if I was getting some good pictures. I told her I hoped so. She introduced herself as the art teacher. We shook hands and I introduced myself as President of the local art club and invited her to attend one of our meetings. Unfortunately, she is in school while we meet on most months, but I told her if she could attend a summer meeting, we would welcome her.
I snapped a few pictures of the projects and artwork, then found my seat in the bleachers across from the artwork. People were starting to pour into the gym by this point, and I watched for family members.
The 5th grade band started out the program. Beginning bands can be hard on the ears sometimes, with a lot of squeaking clarinets and missed notes. But I found this group to be quite enjoyable. I recognized the songs they were playing, which is always a plus, and they were very well behaved young men and women.
On Top of Old Smokey has been played for school concerts for generations, but is still a favorite. It was followed by a few other numbers not as familiar to me, except for Kum Bah Yah, which was a song I remember singing in high school with an organization called Y-Teens, a youth branch of the YWCA.
My grandchildren played in the 6th-8th grade Band, as well as several other family members. I thoroughly enjoyed their rendition of The Andy Griffith Show theme, and the Winchester Chronicles song. Their session was over before it had even started, it seemed. However, the bleacher I was sitting on was starting to get quite uncomfortable. Why can’t they make bleachers with bucket seats and padding? Oh well, it wasn’t long before the kids were finished. I was disappointed to see them leave the floor so soon. After all, they were the ones I had come to watch.
The next performer is always impressive. Anna Rogers is a piano virtuoso. The first song was almost like a lullaby to my sleepy eyes. It was relaxing and my mind started drifting back to my own high school days, and to other talented pianists I have known. I found myself imagining myself back in the time of Mendelssohn, drifting along a canal in the back of a gondola, while a gondolier pushed my boat along with his long stick. My eyes were just about ready to close when the song ended.
The next song was as arousing as the first had been soothing. Rondo, by Mozart, is a flurry of fingers flying on the keyboard, making tinkling sounds in some spots, alternating with pounding crescendos. It was a total delight. If I hadn’t been wedged in so tight between the end of the bleacher and the little boy next to me, I would have given her a standing ovation. Bravo, Anna! I’m sure you will be on the Grand Concert Tour someday. I am always truly amazed by your talents.
After the thundering applause for Anna settled down, the CCHS Band gathered in place for their turn in the spotlight. They gave a beautiful rendition of the Military Escort, the song that is often played while troops are marched in revue for visiting dignitaries. The Invicta song was not one I was very familiar with, but it was very nice. But, the Beach Boys Medley was what really got my blood stirring. I grew up on the Beach Boys and their music. It always brings back memories of summer nights spent with friends at dances, and fun driving around our home town, with the radio blaring Beach Boys music. It had my toes tapping in rhythm very quickly and was over far too soon. Good job!
The CCHS Choir was a mixed group, but rather slim on the male section. Only two males sang in the choir, but they held their own quite well, and made very nice music with the girls. It was very refreshing to hear music that praised God. With all of the political correctness these days, few music teachers have the courage to include faith music. I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope to hear more in future concerts. The last two numbers were very good also. A few bout of giggles among the girls threatened to disrupt the performances, but it was all quite nice.
We are very fortunate to have excellent instructors in the arts in our school system. I certainly hope they plan to stay for a long time. I hope to get to know them better in the future. I hope my grandkids will continue to take advantage of the opportunities to develop their artistic and musical talents. And I hope to be able to attend many more of their concerts.
Great job to all of you--very well done. And thanks for the trip back in time. I enjoyed it.


  1. My first visit but not my last! Thank you for a lovely evening in your hometown America where family, friends, and faith are still important and active!
    Smiles ~ Sue

  2. Those things are all important to me and my family. You are welcome back anytime.


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