Thursday, November 13, 2008

I Am Thankful For Music

Music has always been a part of my life. I grew up in a family where we would gather around the piano to sing. Our extended family reunions always involved a talent show and church services filled with music.

My mother is a contralto. She has always sung in church, at funerals, and at community concerts. In her mid 80's, she still has a better voice than people half her age. I'm a soprano myself, but I know the alto parts to all the hymns in the book simply because I listed to my mother in church. (This is helpful since my daughter has discovered she is an alto and I can sing alto with her to help her learn.) My father was a bass. He wasn't as comfortable singing in front of people as my mother was, but when they sang their song, "I Love You Truly" they blended beautifully.

I was in the concert band at school from 5th grade until I graduated from high school. I learned to appreciate classical music, from John Phillip Sousa to Wagner to Gustav Holst. If you've followed some of those links, yes, our high school band really did play all three of those pieces (but without the violins).

I can't imagine life without music. It's imprinted on my DNA. Unless someone is talking to me (and sometimes even then) I usually have music running through my head. I'll listen to anything except some forms of heavy rock (too painful to the ears) and rap (which is not singing - it's talking to a beat). Good music is good music, whatever genre it happens to be. But what I love most is when the words and the melody and voice combine to create something transcendant, when it speaks to my soul and becomes a prayer to God.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I Am Thankful . . .

For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flow'r,
Sun and moon, and stars of light,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our humn of grate-ful praise.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth,and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grate-ful praise.

For the Beauty of the Earth
Text: Henry Alford, 1810-1871
Music: George J. Elvey, 1816-1893
Jon Schmidt arrangement

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What Does Thanksgiving Mean To You?

What does Thanksgiving mean to you? Getting together with family and friends? Feasting until you are so full you can't move? Pilgrims and pumpkin pie? Macy's parade? Football? Scanning the sales ads in preparation for Black Friday (biggest shopping day of the year)?

Do you take time to give thanks on Thanksgiving? Many families have a tradition of taking turns saying what they are thankful for before they eat Thanksgiving dinner. We should be able to give thanks every day of our lives, because we are blessed every day of our lives. And the more we take time to give thanks, the more blessings we will recognize. At the very least, let's take the month of November and make it a month of truly giving thanks. Maybe we'll make it a habit.

So what do you think? What are you thankful for?