Tuesday, May 20, 2014

All Things Shall Perish From Under the Sky...

Did  any choir veterans catch the reference in the title?  It is the opening line of "Music Alone Shall Live", a very popular choral piece.  Specifically, I remember it being used often in middle school when I was in school.  We had middle and high school concerts together at my school so I sang it, I think twice, in middle school and heard it several more times through the years.  It is a good choice for middle school choirs because it works for any assortment of singers since it sang in unison but in a round so it doesn't matter if the choir lacks a solid SATB (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) balance or even SAB (Soprano, alto, baritone).  This is key in middle school since you never know what sort of choir you will have.  At my middle school, the school included grades 6-8.  The sixth grade was still required to take music class like the elementary grades so the choir was usually a huge group of 6th, 7th and 8th grade girls, a few boys who had the confidence to admit they liked music or were forced by their musical parents to be there and the most pubescent, immature, unenthusiastic population in the world...a whole class of 6th grade boys.  A group of boys like that would be a challenge for any music teacher.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays we crowded into the risers in the afternoon and the power struggle began between the teacher, the sixth graders, and the rest of us who were generally antsy and bored and ready for the day to end.  Instead of sitting in desks we were in chairs inches away from each other and sharing music, sometimes three to a book since the choir was large because of the sixth grade requirement and our teacher refused (in a decision I agree with) to photocopy music unless it was to reduce page turns for the piano player (that was me when I was in high school!).  It was a very wired environment and controlling the room required every method of discipline that our teacher had in her repertoire. 
Somehow this very talented teacher managed to make us sound good and we were able to put on three concerts a year in the fall, at Christmas and in the spring.  And "Music Alone Shall Live" was in the mix on a regular basis for the middle school.  The full verse says, "All things shall perish from under the sky, music alone shall live, music alone shall live, music alone shall live, never to die." 
I loved music, still love music, and now a big part of my musical childhood has come to its new home...in our house.  All my old, favorite songs will be heard again.  A few weeks ago my parents brought me our old piano!  It's a Clavinova, like I explained awhile back, and we have the perfect place for it. 
It was caked with dust and the piano lamp had one burnt out light bulb and another that still work but is probably fifteen years old.  I bought some of that electronics cleaner which blasts air to clean all the buttons and some new bulbs for the lamp.  In the picture above I have a dining room chair sitting by it but I will be using the bench from our old upright piano to play.  The bench that came with it is this  very small little stool with a very narrow center of gravity that tips over easily and I don't want Ben and Tessa to tip over when they climb on it. 

Along with the piano came a basket and two milk crates full to bursting with music books and sheet music.  Rifling through them was like a flashback to all the recitals (we participated in something called "Festival", which referred to Junior Music Festivals or something like that.  Which reminds me...I had many "gold cups" from those...where are they mother?? 

Ben likes to play "musics" and "pano" as he calls the piano and Tessa of course is interested when I let her press the keys.  I hope they like music the way I do.  It is hard for me to play a whole song without one of them interrupting me but at least I can use headphones so I can play to myself and not disrupt their naps or Justin's TV watching. 
Many years ago, when I was a teenager, my aunt gave me this little metal piano clock and I always had it in my room.  Along with the big piano it is finally seeing the light of day again!
Now it is here and Ben is really intrigued by it.  He carries it around the house with him and this morning he wanted to bring it in the car with us!  I said no to that. 

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