Music is a powerful thing. There are times when the right kind of music can change my entire outlook on a situation, or on the day ahead. When I am particularly vexed (and it doesn’t even take much), I listen to jazz or classical. Somewhere along the playlist, there is a piece by Kirk Whalum that comes with words…which is to say that there is a lady singing. She sings exceptionally well but I always skip that song because when I choose that particular playlist, I only want to hear instruments. Within the first three minutes of listening to instrumental music, I am calmer. It is usually just a notch, but sometimes a notch is all I need so that I can get out of my head and down to writing.
The Dance Chronicles
Music is powerful. It is universal. Put a random crowd of people together and then put on a good beat; everybody will start to move. Some will dance, some will sway, some will tap their toes; but movement nonetheless. When I was younger, I was in one of those youth groups at church. It’s a mainstream, conservative church and for the most part, we were not allowed to dance. With time, we “fought” to be allowed to dance and were allowed, as long as the girls wore skirts. We countered, pointing out that if decency was the main objective here, the dance moves would actually make wearing a skirt the less decent choice.
Eventually, we were allowed to dance in pants; as long as we wore long t-shirts to cover our bums (the ladies). It’s true. It was loads of fun after that. We would meet every afternoon for practice. Leaving home every day to go to church…hmmm…sounds very pious. My parents were not buying it. They were not terribly amused by the crowd. For some reason my parents, particularly my dad, has always had the idea that I am an easily-influenced person. He recently insinuated that my two best friends are sycophants; probably because I have chosen to be a freelance writer over getting a “real” job and he believes that I was influenced into that decision. But I digress. More on that later.
Campus and The Concert Family
Dance. Moving on to campus, I joined the Christian Union; only to find that dance (and pants on girls at the altar in church), was frowned on there too. I don’t know who makes these rules up. I’m not saying that the rules are stupid; I’m just saying that I don’t know who makes them up.
Fast forward two years and just after reporting for my third year, having just had a baby, there were auditions for a Christmas musical (the auditions were in October). Has anybody noticed how Christmas is beginning earlier and earlier every year? Anyway, I decided to go for the auditions. And that’s how I met Sheila, who was going to eventually be one of my closest friends and roommate in 4th year. Sheila was a member (and official, I think) of The Concert Family. She was soft-spoken, a really great listener and extremely non-judgmental. Which, I gotta tell you is a quality that you value in people when you’re a single, Christian girl who is in campus and has just had a baby. I aced the audition and started hanging out with Sheila some, mostly during practice. She introduced me to Concert Family and finally, a place where I could dance! And in pants not less!
The Concert Family nurtured me. We “found” each other when my soul needed a hug. Do you ever feel like that? Like your soul, or your spirit, needs a hug? That’s where I was. And so I went for the ministry meetings on Monday evenings, and dance practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I tried to join Selah, the singing group, but I wasn’t able to stick with it. As I grow older, I realize that I am a very show-board’y singer. I know what you’re thinking…vaaaain. But well, it is what it is; I don’t do well in singing groups. Within Concert Family, I met some amazing people; one of whom I still hang out with and tell inappropriate jokes five years on (she’s one of the aforementioned, alleged sycophants). Some with whom I check up once in a while and some with whom I have lost touch altogether. The one thing that they all have in common though, is that they enriched, have enriched and are enriching my life. Well, that…and giving me free rein to dance in pants.
Photo Credit: Flickr Hive Mind