About Me and, Maybe a Little, About You
Steve and I talk about music a lot. Why do some styles grate on one person’s nerves; yet, the same style is like…well, music…to another person’s ears? (smile) Can the same person like both Meat Loaf and Anne Murray? Are many different styles collected because daily music selection depends on one’s current mood? Is music a part of every person’s daily life?
How do people choose favorites? Is music selection a nostalgia thing? What your parents listened to becomes what you like or dislike? Your favorites come from what you listened to when you were a teen? A good event or a pleasant part of your life was happening when you first heard the song? Lyrics to a gospel song got you through a rough patch and, ever since then, you’ve liked gospel music?
Every once in a while, through the years, I’ve encouraged myself and others to conduct a thought experiment. If you know you are going to a remote location (a deserted island, maybe) and can only choose one musical artist’s work to listen to for the rest of your time there, what would you choose? What if you got to choose 2? 3, 4, or 5?
I read a theory one time that said there are two types of music listeners. One type generally selects music that matches their current mood. The other type will select music that is the opposite of their current mood so that they might achieve a balance. Which are you? Or, does it fluctuate?
My favorites range across the centuries and throughout several genres. They are what I’ve picked up from my grandparents, parents, siblings, friends, radio, and TV. Generally, I am drawn to meaningful lyrics and what brings me joy. I like the songs that, after the last note, make you go, “All will be okay. There is a lot of beauty and real love out there.” And, I get excited to share such songs, which some of you know because you’re on my email list. (Heh.)((sheepish grin))
The choral songs that do that for me are what you’ll be getting at the very end. Meanwhile, a bit more between because I love music of all kinds. Perhaps you, too?
In my public grade school, every student was in music class. In junior high, it was split into band and vocal music; I took both. Later, I was plunked into show choir. We did not sing the sort of music found in the Orcas Choral Society library, but I am appreciating the growth singing with OCS is giving me.
A couple favorites (among many) that I’ve helped perform in Orcas Choral Society:
“Noel” by Naomi LaViolette (Oregon Repertory Singers)
“Sure on This Shining Night” by Morten Lauridsen (UNT A Cappella Choir)
As I stated earlier, my favorites are from many eras and many genres. I like this upcoming song because it reminds me that, though my historical choices and experiences haven’t been what we typically sing in OCS, I still have a place there. I feel welcome. Thanks for that!
“A Place in the Choir” by Celtic Thunder
These links about the mechanics of what we use for singing aren’t for everyone, I know; but I am fascinated by the unique and beautiful ways the aided and unaided human voice can be used. This includes throat and overtone singing, haka, didgeridoo, beatboxing, and bird calls.
The best beat-boxing drum solo I’ve seen was done by Adam Rupp during a Home Free concert.
I enjoy experiencing other cultures via music:
Wairua Tapu (New Zealand), arr. D. Squire — Gondwana Cantique
E Te Atua, arr. Hato Paparoa & Josh Clark — Dilworth School.
Mo Ghille Mear (My Gallant Hero), arr. Desmond Earley– The Choral Scholars of Univ College Dublin.
The biggest musical influence in my life was my father. When we were girls, my sister and I were very shy about singing around anyone, even family. Dad would put on the Statler Brothers or the Oak Ridge Boys and goofily sing the bass part to get us to giggling. I found out later that he’d been secretly hoping we would learn via example about the joy of singing. When it got to the “Oom-poppa-mau-mau” part of “Elvira,” he put on a big show that it was tough for him to “get that low,” but he had an extraordinary range. He would also encourage me to sing with him by putting on “Sing a Song” by The Carpenters and really emphasizing the lyrics as he sang to me. That would almost trick me into joining in; Karen Carpenter was a drummer like I wanted to grow up to be. I liked her voice, and Dad’s love-filled smile was so encouraging. When we’d sit outside and watch a Nebraska storm, that was another tempting time to sing for him.
He was clever. The trickiest thing he did was to give me a recorder and blank tapes. I did DJ my own radio talk show and sing songs on it, eventually recording back and forth between recorders until I created multi-part harmonies with my voice (take that, Peter Hollens; I did it before it was “cool!” [wink][grin]).
Was it only shyness when it came to singing directly in front of someone? Was it a case of our just not liking Dad’s choice of “old music?” No. I liked his choices. Plus, he would encourage us to play our music on the family phonograph, and he would sing to “our songs,” too, including John Denver.
He would have enjoyed this, I think:
“Forever Country” (mash-up of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and “I Will Always Love You“) — “The Artists of Then, Now, and Forever”
So, what happened? Did I ever directly sing for Dad? Yes, once I was an adult. (smile) I much prefer singing with others than by myself, though. I didn’t sing him his favorite song — “People” by Barbra Streisand. But, my singing was still a long-awaited gift to him.
My tendency to live with thankfulness, joy, and laughter comes from my life with my heavenly Father and my earthly one. These two songs sum it up, I think:
“I Lived” — OneRepublic
“Footprints on the Moon” by Emerson Drive ( or with special guests [grin]).
That deserted island question? Some of my answers have been Neil Diamond, Marc Cohn, and Jason Gray. Thankfully, Steve and I have similar tastes in music. So, if we get stranded together, hopefully he’ll have choices beyond these three. We’ll be fine for music, and we can use the shiny CD for signaling ships and planes….or not. 🙂
So, here’s the promised section of some of my favorites of people singing together. My ultimate favorite is at the end of the list:
“How Shall I Sing” — Libera (in America)
“Gloria” — Vocal Majority Chorus
“Baba Yetu,” composed by Christopher Tin, in various versions.
By Alex Boye and BYU Men’s Chorus.
By Stellenbosch University Choir.
By Peter Hollens and Malukah.
“Man in the Mirror” — Stellenbosch University Choir
“Down to the River to Pray” — Bethel College Choir (and, yes, I have sung in a grain bin and in a grain elevator)
“Humble and Kind” (Tim McGraw cover) — PS22 Chorus
(The original: https://youtu.be/awzNHuGqoMc )
“Nearer, My God, to Thee” — BYU Vocal Point, ft. BYU Men’s Chorus.
We shall sing together again. <3