The language of music speaks to the heart

Of course, my good time had a lot to do with the music!

With Alberta in an economic slump that has even caught the attention of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, it seemed rather unfair of me to have had such a good time this weekend.

Of course, my good time had a lot to do with the music!

Music, it seems can soften the harshest day, make bad times seem less so and literally speak to one’s soul in a way words simply cannot.

This weekend, The Barra MacNeils, a Celtic band from Cape Breton spoke to my soul, as did the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. Both were playing at the Winspear Centre in Edmonton.

For me at least, the experience was a natural high, leading me to places within the heart of great joy.

My entire life, it seems, I have struggled with making my own music, of course being interrupted here and there by children, marriage, work and, sometimes it seemed, complete exhaustion.

However, somehow, always in the back of mind I knew one day I would.

One day I would learn to play the piano really well!

One day I would play Minuet In G as well as my dear departed mother, who apparently could make the keyboard sing with a touch so gentle and sweet it made the angels weep.

One day I would sit down and play for company and my fingers would not tremble.

One day I would play Christmas carols by memory.

One day I would play lots of songs by memory.

One day I would be very good on the piano.

Of course, that one day has never happened. But still, my own lack of musical ability has not deterred me from appreciating musical talent whenever I hear it. In fact it seems such music has the power to elevate me to a higher, better level than my usual everyday, mediocre self .

The Celtic band I heard on the weekend had that power!

But even though their musical ability was incredible, the fact that they were all siblings is what struck a tender chord in my heart, stirring up bittersweet memories of long, long ago.

For most of my growing up years my family had no television and a radio that played only static and sometimes CKRD. But we had a piano and a violin and at least one of my three brothers, bless his heart, always had a guitar.

My brother worked on the oilrigs. He was a derrick man. And when he came home on a long change or a short change or during spring breakup, he would bring his guitar and teach me the latest song that he had learned.

Of course, he would never teach me the song all the way through, mostly because he never knew it all the way through.

But it didn’t matter.

My brother and I and sometimes our other siblings sang our own rendition of old spiritual songs such as It is no Secret What God Can Do and I’ve Got a Mansion and country favourites such as Down in the Valley, Hang Down Your Head, Tom Dooley and Streets of Laredo and we felt all happy.

Sometimes my dad would play his violin as we sang.

The music made us completely happy and we never did understand why everyone didn’t want to stop what they were doing and sing with us so they could be completely happy, too.

I thought of us, my siblings and me, singing and playing and laughing together in that little old house with linoleum floors and a coal and wood stove when I listened to The Barra MacNeils.

And I felt a bittersweet twinge of envy, not because they were so incredibly talented, but because they were lucky enough to be all there together singing and playing and just having fun.

And I wondered if the one girl in the band knew how lucky she was to be playing and singing with her brothers.

I certainly thought she was.

Very lucky!


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