Thursday, February 3, 2005

Close to Nowhere
By Linda Jones

Music? Maybe

I’ve often heard my mother-in-law laughing about when her son, my husband “Pop” was a child and he learned to “sing.”

One of their neighbors was his kindergarten teacher and he adored her. And she adored opera. So, Pop learned to “sing” opera. He was a child though, so surely, it was cute.

Well, maybe. Our granddaughters have finally(!) outgrown “Veggie Tales” and progressed on to other music.

Maybe that’s good. Maybe. It can also be hard on the eardrums.

The girls, their friend Grace, their mom, their uncle and I all trooped out several weeks ago to see “The Phantom of the Opera.” (Wonderful movie, I highly recommend it.)

The baby girls also liked it, as well as loving the music. Which meant we had to get the CD; which means we listen to it in the car constantly.

Grace spent last weekend at our house and went to church with us Sunday morning. As we drove, to and from church, naturally, we listened to “The Phantom.”

Sometimes, you just don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Those three girls sat in the back and sang with absolute joy and abandon, even the highest notes of some of that music. And since the lead female soprano is a very high soprano, some of those notes got way up there — and so did the voices in the back seat.

To my very untrained ear, the voices in the back seat sound pretty good too. Sometimes. They were at least in harmony.

My friend Jane and I have always wanted to sing and dance. She wants to stand in the spotlight, alone on a stage, and sing (she does have a nice voice). I’ve always wanted to be a ballerina.

Listening to the little voices in the back seat makes me think of Jane. I can see her standing in the spotlight, singing those soaring, beautiful notes (she’s good, but actually, she’s not quite that good). I can also see me, in a floaty ballerina outfit, dancing beautifully around the stage to those same wonderful notes (we won’t even talk about if I’m good or not).

That’s about when I stop, shake my head, laugh and thank goodness the two or three voices in the back seat sound as good and as happy as they do.

“Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast, To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.” William Congreve — “The Mourning Bride.” (He’s also the one who wrote “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” —same play.)

Music does have charms. And I’ve think that whether it’s Veggie Tales or Phantom of the Opera, the voices in my back seat, singing with such joy and happy abandon, can charm just about anything.

And it sure makes the morning ride to school and work a lot more interesting!

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