Ann Bednarski: Need spiritual rejuvenation? Turn to music
A long weekend of listening to songs was peace-rendering. Sometimes that is all we need to rejuvenate our perspective. I was feeling a need to get energized and stop worrying about what is happening around the world. Worry is a waste of time if it bogs one down, and it yields nothing productive.
My roots are steeped in music. It was the most common thread of our family. We would spend Sunday afternoons visiting Grandma, aunts and uncles, where one would play the piano, one the bass violin, and one a trumpet or violin. We sang and relaxed. Grandpa was a skilled carpenter who made violins and bass violins in his basement.
I remember when he tried to teach me to play the violin. After three exciting lessons he said, “Anja, you are a good listener. You should listen to music. It will guide you.” That was the nicest way to tell me I had no future with a violin, except to enjoy it. It turns out the gene for musical talent is male; all of my male cousins are professional musicians. My uncle played with the Cleveland Symphony for 35 years. The women are the dancers.
Live music has an intrinsic effect on me and many others. I hired a violinist to play at a reception at my home a few years ago. The music, the idea of a strolling violinist weaving his way around the lawn, worked beautifully. Inside the little house, the reverberation from the music warmed my heart. When the reception was over, many people left my house and went on to hear a Shiloh concert. I had never heard this group, but early this week I could not help thinking it is a small world.
In the middle of the week I found myself yearning for music. As fate would have it, there was an Elvis movie on TV every night. I was very young when he became popular and had not seen many of them. I was not really watching, just listening and really enjoying the simplicity of the music and lyrics of his songs. I tuned into Elvis music as a precursor to my weekend plans.
On Saturday night I stopped and listened to a band for a short time. They played a lot of Lionel Richie songs, which flooded my mind with some wonderful memories that made the adjustment to single motherhood easier. My attorney had given me only one piece of advice: Always be a lady; do not stoop to less.
Sunday Shiloh, a music ministry, was performing at Sierra Place, a retirement home nearby. I had some of his songs in mind should there be an opportunity for requests from the audience.
The concert was excellent; I noticed residents singing along and smiling a lot. A woman in the group named Loretta sang so purely beautifully it brought tears, happy ones, to my eyes. I noticed I was not the only one who felt her voice sending love and tenderness to each of us. It was a very make-you-feel-good event.
I left on a music high and felt refreshed. I wanted more, so I went to hear the Golden State Quartet, a Gospel music group, perform at Good Shepherd Church. That was a highly spirited performance.
I feel much better this week. My spirit was rekindled. What I realized Monday is that all of the people whose music I so enjoyed are people in their 60s who have known the ups and downs of life. They also know the value, the superb knowledge that music is good for us. Reader’s Digest thinks “Laughter is the Best Medicine.” The difference between laughter and music is laughter comes out of us and music comes in to cuddle us.
Ann Bednarski is a retired educator and journalist. She lives in Carson City.