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Vocal Point Concert

16 Apr

This past Saturday night, we left the little boys with a babysitter while my husband took me and my two daughters to Colorado Springs to see Vocal Point, BYU’s outstanding a cappella men’s ensemble. They were absolutely fabulous! The group opened the concert with Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Watching nine nerdy white guys in ties doing some of those characteristic dance moves we all associate with that song was highly amusing! For over an hour, we enjoyed good, clean entertainment and professional talent. My older son would have definitely enjoyed the five-minute long demonstration of b-boxing by one of the singers (which for those of you who don’t know, is the skill of making percussive sounds with the voice). 

Unfortunately, the fire alarm went off toward the end of the program. The bemused audience exited the auditorium and huddled together outside the building while a spring snowfall enveloped us. Without missing a beat, Vocal Point jumped up on some concrete benches and entertained us with a rousing rendition of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” until we had the all-clear to go back inside.

We thought about leaving to go home at that point, but I’m glad we decided to stay for the finale. The last song was “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire (one of my personal favorites). One of the Vocal Point members yelled out, “Don’t fight the dance!” just before they started singing. And before long, the entire audience was up out of their seats clapping and dancing in the aisles–myself and my daughters included. We just couldn’t resist the beat. It was so much fun to get out, enjoy some great music, and have some daughter-parent bonding time with with our girls.

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Discovering Jim Brickman

6 Apr

 

Okay, where have I been all these years? I’m a pianist and have just discovered Jim Brickman for the first time. Usually, I stick to classical music, but about a month and a half ago, I discovered two pieces of his entitled “Where Are You Now?” and “Valentine” among the sheet music I inherited from my Aunt. I wanted to hear more Jim Brickman so I checked out his CD “Picture This” from the library and instantly fell in love with his restful renditions. Even though this particular album is over ten years old, Brickman’s New Age music is absolutely timeless.

Then of course, I had to do my “Lisa” thing and ordered the sheet music so I could learn to play these pieces for myself on my own Baldwin 6’3 grand piano. I have been working my way through the book and have found that listening to and playing Brickman’s compositions has been a great antidote for when I’m feeling strained, dejected, or melancholy.

My particular favorite is a wistful and tender piece entitled “Sound of Your Voice.”  It’s so comforting to my soul–like the feel of a warm blanket around my shoulders, or the gentle sound of rain pattering on the roof, or the loving reassurances of a good friend who believes in me.

I find that I turn to my piano for solace a lot these days. I think I could play all day long if I had that luxury. Instead I have to settle for playing whenever I can, which is usually in random moments and snatches throughout the day.

As soon as my toddler is strapped in his highchair and engaged in eating a meal, I slip into the next room and make a dash for the piano. Many times though, my piano playing most resembles a three-ring circus as I try to tinkle the ivories, juggle a toddler climbing up on my lap, keep my five-year-old from pounding on the keys alongside me, and answer my nine-year-old’s question about her homework. When I’m in this position, I often think of runners who train by running on the beach. The resistance of the sand makes their muscles stronger and when they switch to running on pavement, they can run faster and with less effort. I don’t know exactly what I’m training for, but I know that motherhood has made me a better musician–more intuitive to the subtle nuances of musical shading and interpretation that I certainly didn’t have when I was a young Music Performance Major without any life experience to draw upon.

In fact, I often get so immersed in what I’m playing that only the sound of a crash or a child crying in the next room can bring me out of my reverie. These days, I play as if my inner life and sanity depended on it–because it does. It breaks up the monotony of my days and gives me an outlet for positive self-expression. In fact, I’m having a yearning to play right now. Like a magnet, my piano pulls me toward it and I’m finding it hard to resist.