Sunday, January 5, 2014

My brain and spring concerts

Funny as hell, how our brains work.  The connections from one thing to another.   Though seemingly random, somehow our gray matter finds a link.  POP, you've got one memory,  trailing after another, even if they are not actually associated except in your mind.

I have been mulling over the fact winter has truly begun here in the cold but beautiful mid Atlantic state of Pennsylvania.  Last time I checked the thermometer, it was a chilling 19 degrees outside...brrrrr!!  Not the kind of weather this woman enjoys, except as a good excuse to cuddle up with a handsome man.  Normally, it's just Tink the cat that gets cuddled, lol!


Thinking about how cold it is got me thinking about how long it is till spring.  Of course, it's a little less than a month till that notorious rodent in Punxsutawney will prognosticate the arrival of spring.  Love old wives tales...not!  As I thought about spring, I began to think about budding trees, flowers, allergies, the arrival of baseball (Go Birds!!), and then wildly jumped to our high school spring choral concerts.  See what I mean about how those synapses fire oddly??

Our school choral concerts, back in the day, were a hoot - at least, they were for me.  I think any true vocal geek will agree.  The hubbub of preparing, especially if you were a senior, was fun but hard work and kind of bittersweet.  At that point, you have been through three years of prep for various musical programs, most, both vocal and instrumental.  By the time I hit high school, I was strictly a vocalist.  Not that I didn't enjoy instrumental music, but lets be honest, chicks playing brass instruments like trumpet and french horn...not cool!  I had self esteem issues anyway, being a redhead with a boat load of freckles and a penchant to cry.  Being in choir and band, nah...I eliminated at least a little bit of harassment fodder by quitting band.  Besides, I had (and still have) some serious vocal talent, but my instrumental capabilities were limited.  I would never have made first chair.  I was good at what I stuck with, singing.  A four octave range, nothing to sneeze at.  Have to thank my daddy for that talent.

One of the things I loved about being in our vocal programs was sitting in on the daily rehearsals for the men's chorus, called The Tribe.  Our school mascot is a Native American, so The Tribe.  They had a repertoire of songs, serious and silly.  While my brain was doing its random bouncing among memories, I started thinking about some of the songs The Tribe sang, like their theme song Brothers, Sing On.  I have now had snippets of that song, and several others, ricocheting about in my skull.

I sat in the choir room while they rehearsed, learning the words, learning the parts and singing along.  The choir director, a jovial fella named Mr. Kowallis, would look at me and smile, unless we were in concert prep mode, then he would give me a stern glare, and I'd shut up.  Always one of my favorite teachers, I definitely did not want him unhappy with me.  By the time I was a senior, I could blend my voice in with the guys.  Mr. K. never noticed I was singing along unless he saw my mouth was moving.  The guys who sang bass, who were seated in the area next to where the first sopranos sat (and I was a first soprano), would laugh at me for trying to hit their notes.  I had/have a really good range, but not that good, lmao!!

The tenors didn't sit too far away, so I would sing the tenor part to their bass, and we had a blast.  Mr. K. got to where he had me sing the tenor part for them so they would hear how he wanted it done.  I think I did that twice.  Solos were something I was use to by then.  I had a solo in every concert from my sophomore year to my senior year.  Like I said, I'm a vocal geek.

Another song that has been bopping around cheerfully in my head is the song Five Foot Two.  I always snickered when the guys would sing that one.  I was (and am) five foot two and three quarter inches.  Only problem, I don't have "eyes of blue" but I still love the song.  They also sang The Ballad of Lizzie Borden.  You know, "Yesterday in old Fall River, Mr. Andrew Borden died, and they got his daughter Lizzie on the charge of homicide."  Five Foot Two and Lizzie Borden were always crowd pleasers, and they got sung at two of the three spring concerts I participated in.  I still know most of the words to both songs.  Sad but true, and fun.  The guys loved performing them.

The reason for this ramble down memory lane is complicatedly simple.  Our brains are a remarkable piece of engineering.  Whether you believe it happened over eons (NOT!) or at the beckoning of a benevolent God (YES!), our brain is amazing.  I've always been fascinated by how our mind works, and how things like sights, sounds and smells can trigger a reverie of glory or horror for us.  Things like using picture associations, mnemonics and mental lists to remember things, all possible because our how finely tuned our brains can be.  We are a wonder, an amazement, a piece of marvelous handiwork from an all powerful Creator.  He has given us so much, and there isn't any of it that we deserve, contrary to popular belief.

I am so grateful to have the abilities that I have: writing; singing; feeling and giving much to give and to share.  These are things that make me happy, and that's the whole point, to be happy - to make others happy.  It's a new year.  It's a return to the things that please me, that give me joy, and pleasure.  2014, just a few days old, and already I feel that this may be the year I've been waiting on for the last few years.  I feel like something good is gonna happen.  I'm gonna keep working on the attitude I have, so that when the good arrives, I recognize it.

When it does arrive, look out world!

No comments:

Post a Comment