My name is Liam Palmer and I am 9 years old. I live in Limington and my favorite songs are by James Taylor. "Sweet Baby James" is the song my Mom sings to me to help me get to sleep at night. I also like "Fire and Rain", also by James Taylor, because even though it is a sad story it tells about part of his life. Mom said that was the song playing in the hospital when I was born. The other song I like a lot is " You've Got a Friend". It lets me know I always have someone I can count on and makes me think of my Mom, my Nana, and my Ampie, my three best friends. My name is Liam Palmer and this is music that moves me.
-- Liam Palmer
My wife Kathy and I lost our 21-year-old son Will to a heroin overdose in 2009. We had a memorial service here in Skowhegan a week later, and when everyone left, the silence and sense of loss were absolutely overpowering. Judy Collins' "Send in the Clowns" came on the CD. More than the lyrics, Collins' voice and background instrumentation seemed to suggest that someday we might begin to separate our memories from our grief. I have subsequently retired from classroom teaching to free up time to visit schools and try to convince students that this doesn't always happen to "somebody else". If it could happen to our William, an outstanding athlete and scholar (He raced for CVA in high school and was a third year Molecular Genetics major at the University of Vermont headed for med school) it can happen to them. I have done about 120 of these talks in Maine, Vermont and New York thus far and often listen to "Send in the Clowns" enroute.
-- Skip Gates
When I was a very little girl back in the 1950s and 60s, my mother, father, brother and I , along with a considerably older couple who were friends of the family , would pack a picnic and all pile into the family car and head off for a Sunday afternoon drive. Over the years we hiked up Bradbury Mountain, swam at Sebago Lake and Old Orchard Beach, chased horseshoe crabs at Thomas Point, climbed rocks at Reid State Park and occasionally ventured into New Hampshire to admire the views along Mt. Washington highways. One year I distinctly remember enjoying a summertime ride up the side of a mountain on a ski lift. Such a thrill! Invariably, we would spend a large portion of our time outside the auto picnicking. The menu, always delicious, seldom varied: cold fried chicken, potato salad, blueberry cake, Castonguay’s potato chips, and a bottle of Vincent’s Ginger Ale that had been wrapped in newspaper in an effort to keep it cold. Everything tasted so good and we all ate heartily. While my brother and I explored the area, the adults would play cards at the picnic table. Later, after a final game of horseshoes, we would gather up all our things and pack up the car. My brother and I would climb over one another and find a place between the grownups who loved us and head back home. I’m not certain we even had a radio in the old car back then. At least I don’t remember listening to a radio when the car was full of adults and children talking. What I do remember vividly however, was how most of these long treks home invariably ended. After an ice cream cone purchased at some point along the highway, and with the sun beginning to set, we would settle down and very soon there after start singing. Singing what even then were considered ‘old time’ favorites like ‘The Bear Went Over the Mountain’ and ‘ You Are My Sunshine’ . But, the one song I remember best was ‘Good Night, Irene’. Even as a youngster the words and melody had a certain poignancy to them. No one’s childhood is perfect but there were wonderful moments in mine and most likely in yours, too. Being nestled between people who loved me and singing this bittersweet song along with them was and continues to be a special memory of a specific moment in time. My name is Linda Hayman from Otis, Maine and I’m a former library director of the Ricker Memorial Library in Poland, Maine. Now I’m a very active grandmother making sure my own grandchildren have ample opportunities to create and savor their own musical experiences in the car and everywhere we go. This is music that moves me.
-- Linda Hayman
When I was pregnant with my son in 1998, and Eric Clapton's "Change the World" song came on, I'd turn up the radio and sing along, succumbed by the motherly hormones. The lyrics particularly moved me as a new mom. Although they were romantically intended, I interpreted them as sung by mother to her baby about her love and hope to make the world a better place. From birth, our son had neurological sensitivities. The usual holding, caressing, and rocking did little to comfort him. Neither did lullabies, car rides, vibrating bassinets, and swings. We were exhausted parents without a clue until one day "Change the World" came on the radio as I was holding my crying newborn. I sang along. He immediately quieted and his body relaxed. Every time he heard the song in the future, no matter if I sang along or not, he immediately calmed. Before this discovery, we didn't dare venture far from home with our son, but now we carried "Eric" with us everywhere we went. One of our most humorous desperate parenting memories was driving to Cape Cod, continuously playing a 2-hour tape cassette of only "Change the World", through the busy Boston traffic and home again to central Maine with our then 6-month old son happily lounging in the back seat. At the age of 5, our son was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism. This song still moves me today - it reminds me of my hope for his future, that someday he will be able to share his talents to change this world for the better.
-- Susan Chase
Oh! That intro! Since first I heard it, it’s made my heart flutter.
1963. The year I ran home each day from high school for an hour of tears. The year I was elected to Arista, the NYC honor society, and a 33-rpm of Edith Piaf chansons arrived to cheer me. I listened to it each night as I tried to sleep, glorying in the sensuous anguish she sang into the dark of my room. I’d feel purged, cleansed, as I learned to mimic the Music by Charles Dumont, words by Michel Vaucaire, it was penned in 1956 during the French-Algerian war and dedicated to the French Foreign Legion, which still sings it on parade. This classic 1960 version underlies my music and poetry; it’s become my anthem: I begin at zero. No, Nothing. No. I regret nothing. Neither the good they did to me, nor the bad. It’s all the same to me. Non. Rien de rien. Non. Je ne regrette rien.
Because my life, because my joys, today, they begin with you. The “you” has always been “me”: my inner strength. But since October, when my son, his lovely wife and now year-old Penelope moved to Maine, its meaning has expanded. My name is Carol-Lynn Rössel. I live in Winthrop, Maine. I’m a writer: of songs, novels, non-fiction, poetry. I’m a designer, photographer and artist; an audio engineer. I still sing Piaf’s heartfelt, heartbreaking words, á haute voix, whenever I’ve the need. And they still heal.
When I was quite small, my father woke me up one night to share the northern lights with me. The sky was on fire, and the universe was singing and swaying above me. It's a vivid memory. Much later, I heard Maine's Dave Mallet sing of the Northern Lights... The phrases of this song have stayed in my soul for all these years, secretly whispered to myself in difficult times: "ah, but I've been given northern lights that flash and shine and help me on my way." The timing and phrasing of the song remind me of the movements of the aurora borealis, and Dave is one of the greatest of our Maine poets...
-- Brenda Cummings
When I began music school at the University of Southern Maine I was a young trumpet player with a fair allotment of talent and chops and a huge allotment of cluelessness about the world of music. I knew I wanted to be a musician and I thought I knew what that meant. I knew what music I liked, and I was eager to learn to play it better. My first semester in the USM Wind Ensemble, Conductor Peter Martin programmed Igor Stravinsky’s Octet for Winds. This three movement work was a piece of music unlike anything I had ever played, heard or even heard about. It was difficult to read with its constantly changing meters and seemingly tuneless melodies. It was dreadfully exposed for every member of the ensemble because of the small and unusual instrumentation. My trumpet part had everything from high notes, low notes, fast notes, solos, and little infernal snippets of notes that had to fit in with a constantly moving fabric of sound. I was in way over my head. At the first rehearsal, I remember wondering who would ever want to listen to this kind of music let alone play it! When Dr. Martin gave me a recording to listen to, it didn’t really seem to help me understand. As the semester progressed and I began to learn all kinds of things in this ensemble, my trumpet lessons with PSO trumpeter John Schnell, my other music courses and from listening to my fellow students at USM. With John Schnell, in particular, I learned how important it was for me to be completely prepared, and to practice until my understanding of the music was effortless. With guidance from these excellent teachers, I slowly began to love this piece. I knew my part perfectly. I knew everybody else’s part too. I would find myself whistling the cryptic theme from the Theme and Variations movement while I walked around campus. In rehearsals, my little snippets of notes began to fit in perfectly with all the other parts because it was like I was playing the clarinet part, the flute part and all the other parts with the other members of the group. I heard this piece in my sleep. I began to understand what the fuss was about this guy Stravinsky. The melodies that seemed so foreign at first seemed to all reveal their meaning and at each satisfying end, the mysteries that they presented resolved with perfect clarity. I learned to hear all music differently and most importantly, I learned that sometimes music wasn’t easy. And sometimes, music that isn’t easy presents the greatest reward. Since that first semester of music school, I have tried my hardest to keep replicating that experience. Yes, I fell in love with Stravinsky but I also fell in love with learning. To this day, when I hear the Stravinsky Octet, I hear a piece that I know by heart and love with all my heart. I also am reminded to be willing to work to understand new music. The mysteries may be harder to unravel, but the reward can still be exponentially greater than the effort. Many years later, as an instructor at USM, where I teach Music Theory and Ear Training, I get to work with hundreds of students who are just the way I was when I first arrived on campus. I always hope to provide them with the same excellent training that I got that first semester. I strive to show them that music can be hard to play and hard to understand but the work required to solve the mystery is a very small price to pay for the huge reward the music can provide.
-- Alan Kaschub
Growing up in a small town in the 1950's, I had little sense of the world beyond Eisenhower's America. But my brother brought home a "hi-fi", about the size of a kitchen cupboard, and a few records. One of them was by the Weavers, Pete Seeger with Fred Hellerman, Ronnie Gilbert and the rumbling bass of Lee Hays. They sang about other countries--soaring, dancing, joyous, and sad songs from Israel, Ghana, Trinidad, Russia, Cuba, Spain, India, and songs from Black and immigrant America. I must have listened to that record hundreds of times, thinking of people singing all over the world to tell their joy and sorrow, to tell who they were. Those songs changed me in wonderful ways, more than I ever knew at the time. Thank you, Pete, as you live into your nineties. I am Bill Hiss, a retired administrator at Bates College, and this is the music that moves me.
-- Bill Hiss
When I was 14 my folk-singer father and I had a repertoire of songs that we sang together at parties, weddings, and occasional coffee houses. We had lots of music parties at our house when I was growing up. One night my Dad and I did a little opening set for Dave Mallett when he played at the Searsport Public Library. Afterwards, Dave came back to our house and Dad and I sang our version of his song, "I Knew This Place" for him. He said to me "Lisa, you should ALWAYS sing for people. I want to hear about you years from now." Years later I opened for him at The Freight and Salvage in Berkeley. He was happy to see me and it was a magical night. His early encouragement is one of the big reasons I became a performing songwriter. Linda Shares her memory of Dave Mallett
-- Lisa Redfern
I have tv and radio clips of this street church singing this music. Music is embedded in many of my personal memories. But most striking is standing with homeless people singing "we shall overcome", in a circle, holding hands, in their outdoor church on Boston Common. I started a street ministry on park benches and in subway stations and on Easter 1996 realized there was the potential for a praying community out there that I needed to help shape and gather it. As we created a service that would be made of familiar prayers like the serenity prayer and psalm 23, i wanted to have music that would connect with memories of theirs. Kumbaya, We Are Standing on Holy Ground, "Oh Lord hear my prayer" form the structure of the service and we end with We Shall Overcome. The power of that rallying song from my own youth, for these isolated and lonely people gave them enough courage to follow my lead in taking each others hands to form a circle and sing. Often in the prayer time or any time, someone will start to sing and often others in the community will join in. I remember Rita who was one of a tight "family" of four homeless women, all dead now from various injuries of street life. I remember the first time she came up to me as we stood voicing our prayers, and I heard a slow low throbbing tone that built into an Amazing Grace measured as if it were a heart beat. Rita was singing for her life.
-- Debbie Little
I was working at a care facility as Activities Coordinator. I often presented musical activities for patients. One day I had planned a program around Leroy Anderson’s music. Patients meowed to The Waltzing Cat and tick-tocked to The Suncopated Clock. Blue Tango was next. One of the patients announced that she and her husband (who was also being cared for at the facility) had been ballroom dancers and she loved to tango. “Great! Show me.” Away we went as we Blue Tangoed across the room. Everyone loved it. A few days later, my activity was based on Broadway musicals. She was the only one who showed up. We listened to songs from West Side Story, South Pacific, and The King and I. When we got to the song If Ever I Would Leave You from My Fair Lady, she squeezed my hand and told me it was her and her husband’s “song.” Her eyes teared up as we sang along with Robert Goulet: If ever I would leave you, How could it be in spring-time? Knowing how in spring I'm Oh, no! not in spring-time! Summer, winter or fall! No, never could I leave you at all! Later, I was told that her husband had passed on just before she had come to that activity. She came because she felt it might help her cope. Hearing “their song” played had greatly comforted her. I was deeply moved.
-- Linda Payne-Sylvester
My name is Eleanor Watts and I live in Bass Harbor (Maine?). Although I enjoy a broad range of music - from the Beatles to John Adams - the foundation of my musical experience is in the choral repertoire. If I had to pick one piece that stands out for me it would be Haydn’s “Creation” which represents the bookends of my life as a choral singer. I first performed it in 1952 with a group of combined high school choruses at the Bushnell Auditorium in Hartford CT and most recently, in 2011 at a memorial service for a beloved choral conductor at the Cooper Union In New York City. The vitality and joy of Haydn’s music shine through not only in the familiar “The Heavens are Telling” but also in every detail of his musical descriptions of the unfolding of life on our planet. Preparing and performing c horal music has provided me wi t h countless hours of pleasure. The challenges of learning new music, the exhilaration of seeing an audience arise at the first chords of the beloved “Hallelujah Chorus,” the comfort that can be offered with the poignant phrases in the Mozart “Requiem,“ have added a unique richness to my life. I feel extremely fortunate for the opportunities that music has provided. The Heavens are Telling from Haydn's Creation
-- Eleanor Watts
“Blessed Cecilia, appear in visions To all musicians, appear and inspire! Translated daughter, come down and startle Composing mortals, with immortal fire!” These are the opening lines of Benjamin Britten’s “Hymn to St. Cecilia.” I’ve had the opportunity to sing this a capella choral piece twice (the first time with the Vassar College Choir, the second, with a community group in New Paltz, NY called Kairos). The poetry, by W.H. Auden, is sublime, and the setting is at times powerful, at times whimsical, at others, profound. “At sounds so entrancing the angels dancing Came out of their trance into time again, And around the wicked in Hell's abysses The huge flame flickered and eased their pain.” More than once since singing this piece, I’ve been reminded of these lines, and when I’ve been in a dark mood or going through a rough time, I’ve played a recording of the piece, and it never fails to lift my spirits. “O wear your tribulation like a rose (like a rose, like a rose).” Before I heard this song, the very concept of wearing tribulation like a rose was foreign to me. Since then, I’ve seen many examples of people bearing great pain with strength not even they knew they had.
-- Daniel Eccher
I went to college at the University of Tennessee, a big state school with lots of school spirit and pride in its academics and athletics. Having growing up in a small, town in Appalachia, UT seemed enormous with its 22,000 students, a sprawling campus, and new and unusual cultural norms. I had never lived in such a big place and wondered how I would ever feel connected to both the people and the university. Come September, all of that changed. Going to a football game on Saturday is second only to going to church on Sunday as far as religious experiences go in the South. I had never been to a college sporting event and was unprepared for the enormity of the experience. A sea of orange and white flowed through the campus as spectators made their way to UT’s stadium. As I entered the stadium and found my seat, my senses were overwhelmed by color and noise. Soon after, the band began to play, “Rocky Top,” an upbeat song about love, moonshine, and a simpler life. At once, the whole stadium erupted in loud, raucous singing. I had never been in one place with 100,000 people, let alone 100,000 who were singing at the top of the lungs, full of pride and enthusiasm for their team. The air was electric, and with my pulse quickening, surrounded by those crazy, singing fans, I knew that I had found a place to belong. Rocky Top, you’ll always be home sweet home to me… http://www.fightmusic.com/mp3/sec/Tennessee__Rocky_Top.mp3
-- Anita Ruff
Like many kids growing up in the 60s, I took piano lessons. I especially liked acoustic music from Leo Kottke to John Renbourn to Carl Orff . Now I regret not putting in more effort at practicing and sticking with it so I could make my own beautiful sounds. My piano teacher David St George was flabbergasted that I had never been to hear the Boston Symphony Orchestra, just 20 miles away, to hear acoustic music on a scale not imagined. He purchased us a pair of tickets, picked me up, and drove me into Boston. On the way he explained the music we were going to here. At twelve, all I really remember was that he said that we were sitting in a “sweet spot”. It was going to be special. We sat in the balcony on the right, a couple of rows back from the edge. Dress code was everything between the stereotypical formal suits and dresses on the high society end, and converse high tops and rumple jackets on the other end. I remember thinking it was just like the radio. Loud audience sounds, silence when the conductor came out, last minute coughs in the silence as the conductor raised his baton. It was to be Beethoven's 9th symphony, conducted by Leonard Bernstein, and the chorus was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. From the opening soft violins, it was like nothing I’d ever heard before: richness and depth that can never come out of a speaker. At some point, I cannot remember where, tears just started streaming down my face. I wasn ’t happy. I wasn ’t sad. But I was moved. I believe Bernstein was too. When the symphony had progressed to the Ode to Joy. He just stopped conducting, his arms hung by his side, and he stood stock still as the incredibly rich sounds from Tabernacle Choir mixed with the instruments, and symphony hall could contain nothing more. Music still moves me, but never like that evening with my piano teacher in Boston Symphony Hall. Thank you David.
-- Bruce Morehouse
I am an Indian, and when my daughter married Derek Shaffer from Maine, thirty of his friends and family came over to India for the wedding. Music is part of our wedding ceremonies, and I'd organized for all my friends to sing. But it moved me very much when the Shaffers' friend Margot Vincent sang "Turn Around" for us... http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/MALVINA/mr175.htm
-- Deepa Mohan
When I was very young, my mother would put us to bed in the old spooly twin beds with the open springs, and she would go into the living room next door where she and my daddy would pour whiskey sours and put on Errol Garner's Concert by the Sea. I would rock myself to sleep pushing my big toe on the wall, squeaking the springs in time to "Red Top", knowing that all was right with the world.....
-- Carol Ward
Years ago, when I was in college in Minnesota, I got curious about non-Western music, and so began learning about Indian music. I developed a limited intellectual understanding of it, but it didn’t really connect to me in an emotional way until the day I found a cd called “A Meeting by the River.” It featured an American musician, Ry Cooder, playing slide guitar in a blues-based style, and an Indian musician named Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, who also played slide guitar, but in the Indian classical tradition. I read in the liner notes that the producers of the album got the two musicians – who had never met before, and didn’t know a word of each other’s languages – together, sat them down in front of the microphones and just rolled the tape. Out of my stereo came the most astonishing music I had ever heard. These were melodies that told stories. It sounded as ancient and present as mountains, and as human as breath. I learned that the two musicians found, through a translator, that they had a shared love of the poetry of Rumi. I sought this out and this has also become a love of mine as well. Now, fast forward some years. I’m a family man, with two amazing little girls in pre-school. I decide one day to share with them this music that has meant so much to me. While we’re listening to it, I tell them a story from the poetry of Rumi about a mouse and a frog who meet on a riverbank and strike up an amazing friendship despite the differences between them. Well, my young daughters latched onto that story and wanted to hear it again. So I sat down with my translation of Rumi and developed an adaptation of the story of Mouse and Frog. It immediately became my daughters’ favorite story, which they could recite right along with me as I read it to them, often with “A Meeting by the River” playing in the background: the two musicians, the mouse and the frog, telling stories together, bouncing off one another, building something that hadn’t been there before. To this day, years along now, we have a spot on the Kennebec we sometimes walk to which we call the Mouse and Frog place. It’s just a patch of woods on a muddy river bank, but because of this music, and what it has brought into my life and the lives of my daughters, it’s something truly, truly magical. All this from a cd I found completely by chance in an import shop in Minneapolis nearly twenty years ago. My name is Carter Ruff; I’m a musician and guitar maker, and owner of Subterranean Music Works in Bath, Maine, and this is music that moves me.
-- Carter Ruff
My grandmother had long requested that my father play his bagpipes at her graveside after she died. She was nearly 103 years old when she left us. Her interment was on a beautiful spring day at the family plot in Lisbon Falls. Her grand-and great-grandchildren scattered flowers on her grave, family members were there from all over this country as well as her native home of Prince Edward Island, and the mood was one of celebration. Then my father was maneuvered up to the gravesite in his wheelchair. A cripple from his boyhood, he was also recovering from hip surgery, and was very fragile. How he managed it, from where he found the strength, I will never know, but, seated in his wheelchair, he played "The Flowers of the Forest" for Grammie. It was haunting, beautiful music, made all the more special by the bravery of one of the finest men I have ever known, and one who always kept his promises.
-- Hilda Jones
"It's a Small World After All." After 20 years my marriage ended in 1980. I had never worked, nor had I ever been out of NY state. I got a job in NYC and was asked to attend a conference in Germany. I arrived at the Berlin airport to see guards patrolling holding rifles. I was so afraid. Then came along a small group of children wearing halloween costumes singing "It's a Small World After All." My fears subsided as I realized music and young children are 'universal.'
-- Barbara Quinn
Lindsay Eysnogle of Islesford shares an audio memory.
Summer nights in Houston during the 1950s were hot! After dinner and the dishes were done, my mother would point the fan at the piano, and all six children gathered round as she played. My father accompanied her on the guitar and mandolin. I always begged to hear Nita Juanita and Silver Threads Among the Gold. My sisters and I harmonized beautifully together. I caught myself last week looking at two of my grandchildren seated at the piano playing as a duet Scott Joplin's The Entertainer. My mother and father, gone now for decades, would have loved to see their great grandchildren carrying on the family tradition. This is music that moves me.
-- Anne Holliday Abbott
In the mid 1970s, my husband and I and our two year old son were living in London in a third floor flat of an old Georgian duplex. Each night for many weeks, we heard the opening bars, on violin and piano, of a lovely and haunting piece of music, practiced live by two musicians. We never saw them in person, but would hear their murmurings as they rehearsed the opening octaves over and over until it was embedded in my brain. For years afterwards, I searched for that piece, humming it to clerks in music stores, to my friends, almost to anyone who would listen. Finally I heard it, on public radio of course, on the program then hosted by Robert J. Lurtsema. I missed the introduction but went to the playlist in my guide, and found that it was Brahms' Concerto for Piano and Violin in A minor. The mystery musicians had only practiced the opening movement, but I have since grown to love the entire concerto and often wonder who those two gifted neighbors were, whether they ever performed this piece, and if they still play it in person as I did in my mind for so many years.
-- Mary Hastings
I come from a musical family. My grandmother and her sisters, the Sweet Singing Smith Sisters, toured the country by stage coach in the 1890's, helping bring the country together again after the civil War. My mother inherited from them a beautiful mezzo-soprano voice. As a child I would sit on her knee while she performed Neapolitan street songs and other lyrical songs. One of the most moving was Victor Herbert's "Ah Sweet Mystery of Life." There was something about that particular song. Whenever she sang it ... anywhere ... everyone stopped, and there were few dry eyes. When I was 63 years old my partner Kathy and I had a Holy Union, as we could not be married in church. My brother, a Methodist minister, performed our ceremony. He ended his remarks saying he had a surprise from my mother (long dead!). Then over the pond in a lovely Mendocino Coast garden floated my mother's voice, singing "Ah Sweet Mystery of Life." There she was once again singing her song, our song, the family song of love. Music binds us, through the generations and the hardships. I am hoping to find someone to sing "Ah Sweet Mystery of Life" at our church wedding this summer in Belfast, Maine!
-- Linda Warner
As has happened to countless other romantics, my wife and I became entranced with France, especially Paris. Enjoying French food, wine, literature, especially mysteries, and movies became our passion. One of the things we loved about French films was the music. The 1982 mystery "Diva" quickly became one of our favorites, with its complex plot revolving around an American opera singer in Paris, bootleg recordings,a gang of bootleggers, drug dealers, corrupt cops and an endearing hero. Clever and captivating as the movie is, the thing that stayed with us is the music, Catalani's "La Wally". "La Wally" is an important and reoccurring part of the movie, both center stage and in the background. In 1989, we took our first trip to Paris. After arriving, typically jet lagged and hungry, we set out to to find a bite to eat and try to get our bearings.We stumbled into a hole in the wall bar near the Seine which resembled every seedy bar in every Parisian mystery. It was dark, dreary, just large enough for an old zinc bar and a smoking proprietress. After ordering wine and omelets in our woefully inadequate French, we realized that playing on the bar's stereo was "La Wally" from the "Diva" soundtrack. It was one of those moments when you realize, without a doubt, that you are in the right place, at the right time, with the right person.
-- Harvey Rosenfeld
Red Sails in the Sunset – with Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians takes me back to the summer of 1958. My Dad was a truck driver all his life, working long days with little time for relaxation. When my brother and I were kids, my mother didn’t drive, so on many summer nights – after a long hot day for all of us – we would go for a drive to cool off as the sun went down. We lived on Chestnut Street in Portland, in a 16-unit apartment building. My Dad would go get the car from where he parked it overnight, and we would all get in and head off – down Chestnut Street towards Back Bay,… and beyond, Red Sails in the Sunset playing on the radio. At that time, the local radio stations signed off at sunset, and my Dad’s favorite station played Red Sails in the Sunset as their sign-off song all that summer. As the car moved down the street, and the music played, the summer sky would be awash in the golden light of pre-sunset. My parents might be talking quietly in the front seat. My brother and I sometimes jostled each other for the coveted position in the center of the backseat, where we could lean forward over that front seat between our parents and listen to what they were saying. And always, in that golden light, there was the anticipation of a stop at the Dairy Queen – neon lit and beckoning in the dusk – and a cold vanilla ice cream cone. My name is Maureen Farr and I live in Deer Isle, Maine. I was just eight years old in that summer of 1958, and that’s music that moves me.
My dad loved any classical music, but especially Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto. Dad played the violin himself. His father made them as a hobby, and dad owned more than one. At home, my sister and I heard the music he loved as he listened to the radio or his records. We saw him listening intently with closed eyes, his head moving to the rhythm. My dad was a gentle man, and the sweetness of the Mendelssohn concerto still brings back those heartfelt moments. My sister and I, both in our 70's now, couldn't live without music, and know that this is one of the great gifts our dad, and mom, gave us.
One of my fondest music memories is from the early 1950's in Memphis, Tennessee. My father was a traveling salesman, who left on Monday morning and came home on Friday night for the weekend. A former jazz musician, he had a small collection of jazz albums, plus one special record that my sister, brother and I (5,4 and 3 at the time) dubbed, "The Crazy Record." On Saturday mornings we would beg him to play that album for us. As we watched in excited anticipation, he would open up the console that housed the TV, radio and record player. And when the music started all four of us jumped, gyrated and careened around the living room to the rompin' stompin' honky tonk piano of "Down Yonder" by Del Wood. I still have that album, though I have nothing to play it on. But I do from time to time go online and listen to "Down Yonder". It brings me great joy and a rush of happy memories.
-- Linda Atherton
Bach's (or maybe not his) Gigue Fugue, BWV 578, makes me smile and want to dance.
-- Mary Drury
When I was graduate student in Akron OH, working on my Masters in Music Performance degree, I was asked to play in the orchestra for the Ohio Ballet. At the first rehearsal, we read through Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 19 in F Major. As a music performance major, you study and listen to a lot of great music, often before you get to perform it, so by the time you play it, you know what's going to happen. I had heard a lot of Mozart before, but not this particular piece. The combined experience of both playing and hearing this masterpiece for the first time was astounding. I had no idea how the music was going to unfold and almost every bar was like turning a corner and seeing yet another incredible treasure. It was also as if a door had opened up to the past and I knew and felt exactly what it was like for the musicians in Mozart's time to play his pieces and bring them into the world for the first time. Through the playing of my instrument, the visceral experiencing of the absolute perfection of the totality of Mozart's compositional execution for the first time like this was a continuous whole bodily discovery of shimmering, sparkling, almost indescribable beauty and joy. For that rehearsal and every time we performed that piece I was taken out of this mundane world and taken to Mozart's heaven. To this day, I can't hear the opening bars of that piece without a big smile on my face and feeling the urge to dance and rejoice.
-- Laura Estey
I grew up in NYC, the product of two parents who performed on Broadway (my mother was a dancer, my father a piano player and composer). When I was in grade school, I was watching a broadcast of one of Leonard Bernstein's Young Peoples Concerts on PBS. I remember the orchestra playing the last movement of Beethoven's Sixth Symphony and I thought that was the most beautiful music I had ever heard, and exciting in the way that first discoveries are. Up until then, my music education was listening to recordings of musicals, the Beatles and taking piano lessons. If I heard an orchestra, it was as an accompaniment to a show, the ballet or the opera, so up until then, I had no concept of symphonic music. My father bought me a recording of it which I still have (Philadelphia Orchestra with Eugene Ormandy). This piece opened up a whole new world of aural experience for me. Every time I hear or play this symphony, and especially the last movement, I am brought back to the fresh, bright joy of being immersed in that beauty for the first time.
-- Laura Estey
I was fifteen years old in 1977 when I first really listened to the Bee Gees. I'd known their music all my life and " Saturday Night Fever" was about to sweep the charts. It was in an earlier song of theirs that I'd discovered a reprieve in music, a place where, despite my varying states of delinquency, I could find peace. I was often grounded and in my isolation I'd hunch down next to our old Magnavox, ear pressed to the fabric speaker, and listen as the immense sound would ring out, like magic, to my otherwise disenchanted ears. I found a special sanctuary in the song "Fanny Be Tender". At the time, I couldn't seem to apply myself to my schoolwork; I was bored; and I was soon going to have to declare a direction in my life. How I reveled in the spaciousness of that sound: I'd close my eyes and let the rhythms carry me off. One night it hit me: I would sing for a living! For me, this music was the most wonderfully beautiful thing I'd ever heard and it caused me to say "I want to do this". I want to be a part of this. But what won me was the compelling sense that these three men were so obviously enjoying what they were doing. It was a revelation for me; I'd found the simple solution to a pressing question. I would sing, and with this discovery, my world suddenly made sense and, at last, seemed to possibly hold a place for me. It was something in my life that I enjoyed, inherently, and which I could share with others and potentially do for a living. My heart sang with joy as I listened to this music, over and over again, affirming the fact that what I wanted in life was attainable. My dream was a reasonable goal. As a result of this musical confirmation, I, of course, fell deeply in love with the Bee Gees. There, on the floor in our suburban house, with the volume suppressed to please my family, I would listen, with one ear, to the sounds of a world I could bear: a world where people worked together, harmoniously, generating this wondrous sound, uniting people and, in the process, spreading beauty. There would be no settling for less: The Bee Gees had presented to me an example of living well and this was the most inspiring thing I'd stumbled upon. I adored their music for years, and still do. As I listen, now, it occurs to me that the reason I've loved them so fiercely is that it was through them that I first realized something true and lasting about myself. My mother liked the Bee Gees, too; her enjoyment must have come, at least in part, from her understanding how much they meant to me. I can barely hear one note without crying.
-- Becky Charles
"Always" by Irving Berlin was one of my parents favorite songs. They had it sung at their wedding and they danced to it at their 50th wedding anniversary. To honor them, I had it sung at my wedding. As my mother disappeared into the disease of Alzheimer's, she lost her ability to speak. We began to communicate through song. I would sing to her and although she couldn't form the words, she would hum along on perfect pitch. "Always" would bring a smile to her face. When my daughter married a few years ago, she asked me to sing "Always" at her wedding. She did not know that I had it at my wedding because that was my first marriage and my husband was killed during Vietnam. This song will always bring a tear of joy to my eyes.
-- Rosalee Landry
In 1969, when we moved from New Jersey to Chicago, the hardest part of leaving was saying goodbye to Grandma Estelle. She was a big part of our family and we all loved her—her big smile, big hugs and her big love of music. When she was in her early 20s, the choir director at her church had been captivated by her voice and proposed that they go to Paris together and pursue musical careers. I don’t know how far their plans got, but when she met Grandpa, her dreams shifted. Instead of Paris, it was marriage to a car salesman, a house full of kids, and singing along to the radio. She loved all kinds of music but she had two special favorites. Schubert’s “Ave Maria”—the soaring notes, the romantic delivery—would make her sigh and close her eyes at the close of the piece. And she also loved Irving Berlin’s “Isn’t it a Lovely Day.” It was just as romantic and so very clever when Fred Astaire sang and danced to it in Top Hat. Twenty years after we moved away, Grandma died. She’d suffered from dementia and other ailments, and my mother was flooded with sadness and guilt. One sleepless night, Mom told me, she just couldn’t get Grandma out of her head. After too much tossing and turning, she gave up and went downstairs and aimlessly switched on the radio. And, unbelievably, out streamed “Ave Maria” into the night. Mom was stunned. She sat in the dark and listened in wonderment—and was stunned again by the music that followed: “Isn’t It a Lovely Day.” I know Grandma had a hand in it. I think she really wanted to remind my mother of her presence, and not her absence. Mom is now gone, also lost to dementia, but even in the fog of her final months, hearing the first notes of “Isn’t It a Lovely Day” would always bring a big smile to her face.
-- Katie Murphy
When I was a first year law student at Yale many years ago, I was in love with a Yalie senior. In those days, only men were admitted as undergrads, and women were allowed in the dorms (pretentiously called "colleges" then and now) only during certain hours. One day I was waiting for the appointed hour to escape, snuggling with my honey in an unbelievably skinny bed. The Yale radio station, WYBC, was taking requests. The DJ played Joni Mitchell's, "Both Sides Now," a beautiful, haunting ballad that seemed to capture my twenty-something angst and foreboding that I would eventually be dumped by this young man, who was different in every way from me. Before Joni had even stopped singing, I called the station and asked the DJ to play that song again, which he did, with some amusement. It did no good. The Yalie dumped me anyway. But I still love that song, and it reminds me of my youth, and the power of young love, the good and the bad.
-- Janice Cooper
Growing up in a little town called Wales here in Maine, I would spend a lot of time working around the house with my father. He was a no-nonsense fellow, but had a big heart for small children and dogs. I was in middle school and trying to figure who my dad was, when one day we were working on the roof. I had brought my transistor radio up with me. All of a sudden a song came on and my father stopped what he was doing. He sat back on his heels and staired into the sky. A look of complete contentment washed over his face, he had an expression I had never seen. When the song was done he went right back to work. I never saw that look very often, but I do remember the first time I did, and whenever I hear Miss Peggy Lee sing "Tennesse Waltz" I see my Dad in a state of bliss. That memory moves me.
-- Dennis Willette
Erik Satie Gymnopedre No. 1 - I remember my brother Chris, who could play anything he heard w/o sheet music, would slip into this beautiful piece when my mother would call from the kitchen "play something nice", he would go from rock n roll into Erik Satie. Chris passed away in 1979. I listen to MPBN at work and home and stop whatever I'm doing whenever I hear the first few notes I know what it is... I smile and reflect. Thanks.
-- Amy Ludwig
It was the last day of February, 2010. I had just left my wife and cancer-ridden daughter at the airport for their trip to LA, and I was listening to the early-morning music on MPBN. Ticheli's setting of Sara Teasdale's "There Will Be Rest" started to play and I had to pull over in Brunswick. Through the tears I knew this piece that I had never heard before. I read the poem to my daughter in her last moments, and my choir sang it in her honor during Lessons and Carols later that year. I hear it now, even though the room is quiet.
-- Del Merritt
Symphony concerts under the stars on a summer night just take me away....it's magical! One particular concert stands out for me.The Hartford Symphony summer concerts at the Harkness Memorial in Waterford,CT on long Island Sound were always exceptional. People would gather early in the evening dragging coolers,tables and even chairs. They would set up elaborate dining arrangements....some with crystal,china,candelabras,and posted menus. There was a contest with prizes awarded for the best table ,most creative,best menu, etc. It was great fun to not only have our own picnic, but to wander around to see what other folks had created. Then darkness would fall,the sky was studded with stars and in that dark space snuggled on our blanket the Symphony would begin to play filling the darkness accompanied by the occasional shooting star and soft waves on the nearby beach. There is something about the dark night, a starlit sky and that music rolling out across the lawn enfolding us.....pure magic!!!
-- Marie Erskine
My first memory of Five Hundred Miles was in 1960 when I was a freshman at St. Olaf College in Minnesota. Those were the days of strictly separated men’s and women’s dorms, when the women had a strict curfew at 10 PM and the men had no curfew at all. On a crisp fall night, early in the semester, the men in the freshmen dorm came over to ours and serenaded us with Five Hundred Miles, which we all thought was terribly romantic. The folk revival which had started when I was in high school with songs by the Kingston trio, continued when I was in college, with songs by the Brothers Four, Limeliters, Joan Baez and Peter, Paul and Mary, all who sang this song. After I graduated from college in 1964, my wise father encouraged me to see the world, starting in Europe, where he was sure I had, “Friends over there you haven’t met yet”. After a month at the International School of Art in Salzburg, Austria, with a new backpack and guitar, and a couple fellow travelers, I started to hitch-hike around the Mediterranean, arriving after seven months in Israel. Five Hundred Miles was a song I carried with me and sang on street corners in Tel Aviv and Haifa earning enough to live on and a freighter ticket out. The song has poignancy about needing to be away and at the same time wanting to be home. From Israel, I went back to spend another year and a half in Sicily. That two year trip was the beginning of my real education. After my husband, Neal, and I married, in 1970 we again set out back-packing across Asia to Japan where he studied with a potter and I studied with a woodblock printer. The guitar and music were always with us. I have continued to sing and play the guitar and recently heard Roseanne Cash’s Five Hundred Miles a song that Johnny Cash had on his List for her of what he considers the hundred most important songs. The song has at its heart, HOME, where is it and how do we get there? Searching for home is a real need for all of us, whether we live comfortably in Maine or are refugees from war and natural disasters. Is Home a specific location where we grew up or can it be any place where we are loved and respected? This theme keeps reappearing in my art, perhaps also why I keep singing this song.
-- Barbara Loken, Farmington
Masaru Emoto wrote a book titled "Hidden Massages in Water". In that book he showed how frozen water crystals form differently according to the thoughts that are emitted to it. Loving thoughts produced beautiful snowflake patterns and unkind thoughts turned out more like hail. Since our bodies are primarily water it stands to reason that we are all influenced by the thought we emit. For me there is nothing quite like the ethereal experience of a great contra dance to immerse myself in fearless acceptance and unlimited gratitude. Contra dancing generally starts with configurations of couples facing each other. As the music starts a caller guides the moves that the dancers make through beautiful geometric snowflake patterns. You move up and down the lines of couples embracing each personality along the way. The music is always live. The talent showcased at these events is always phenomenal. The pace is usually lively. The musicians might bend the music from the traditional rods and reels to any number of other styles. Combining the jovial exuberance of the dancers and the practiced perfection of the musicians you can feel the pinnacles of perfection rising up, and you feel like you are dancing with angels!
-- Sandy Woodcock
I grew up hanging out at band practices listening to my mom sing and play in a band, whether it was "American Pie" "The Clary Hill Band" or "The Little Big Band"... she was in quite a few over the years as she has been performing in Maine since age 15. When I was 6, she married my stepfather who was the bass player for a popular central ME bluegrass band, "The Country Choir". I remember my favorite requests and also the first time I sang in harmony with my mom, it was to the song "La Bamba" :) I still to this day love to sing and play guitar & mandolin either for my kids, with friends, at an open mic or a farmers market gig. When I was about ten my biological father began holding music festivals on his land. Now, over twenty years later I help to organize those festivals and choose which bands to book. We are a destination spot for hundreds of music lovers all over Maine and New England. I love working with the bands and being the stage manager. The music over three days for the weekend campers is a life changing experience people don't soon forget. One of my favorite bands, Taina Asili y La Banda Rebelde, who travel here from Albany, NY - brought tears to my eyes the first time I heard the band. She sang about bloodline, freedom, liberation and revolution under a starry summer sky on "The Hill", our beloved festival field. People who leave our Hill leave with a new lease on life, and the musical experience as well as the community, stays with them long after they leave. The music of my childhood, the music I play, the music I invite to the festivals, this all is the music that moves me and I could not imagine my world without it!
-- Elizabeth Smedberg
Music That Moves Me -- That would be David Mallet’s Music. So many times we have had family and friends visit for dinner and play David Mallet’s CDs. After the guests depart, my friend and husband of 32 years, continue to listen and dance to David’s music as we clean up and put away the dishes. It’s a romantic reminiscing loving caring time as we putter around the kitchen. We listen and dance loving each song as he paints a picture for us with words that bring thoughts that mean so much to us. His song,”the Artist in Me” is one of my favorites with the words “People throw away all the things I keep”. We relate to each other as he paints a picture that brings back many memories and music that moves me: “My Old Man”, “Daddy’s Oldsmobile”, “Fire”, “Phil Brown”, “I Picture You”, “Slow Dance”, “Red Rose”, “Greenin Up”, “Here We Go Again”, “Summer of My Dreams”, “A Long Goodbye”. David Mallet’s Music is Music That Moves Me.
-- Carol Tanner
My music world expanded exponentially when I went from 8th grade in a rural Maine town to Lee Academy, the high school where several small towns send their teen-age students. There I discovered the world of Choral Singing! Going from no music program to one which required us to tackle challenging four-part harmony pieces with precision, I was transfixed. I particularly remember practicing the Scottish Ballard, Annie Laurie, as our chorus prepared to attend the Independent Schools Music Festival in which Lee Academy, Gould Academy, Bethel Academy, and other independent, classical academies would gather to combine our voices for a big community concert. The result was thrilling! The music, the lyrics, our voices, were creating something magnificent and I was part of making this beautiful moment in music. I shall never forget the exhilarating feeling of being surrounded by voice and song and those moments when everything was pitch perfect. Hearing Annie Laurie today brings me back to that experience of feeling deeply connected to something vast and beautiful through music. Annie Laurie was, and still is, the music that moves me. I am so grateful to have had such an experience.
-- Thankful Butler
One of my favorite is the time I was visiting Amsterdam, 1978, the country in which I was born. I saw the name Carmina Burana on a telephone pole. I thought it was the name of a singer and was astonished when that evening I hear Carl Orff's composition. It was an introduction to classical and operatic pieces that struck deep in the soul.
-- Rob Boudewijn
Having been raised Catholic, I struggled to craft a meaningful spiritual life for myself as an adult after coming to the conclusion in my early 20's that the Catholic faith didn't offer me what I needed. I tried different churches, read about the world's religions, learned to meditate, and began a spiritual search that ultimately included organizing my own little group of Seekers, as we call ourselves. When I first heard Iris DeMent, who has a really unique voice, she was singing 'Let The Mystery Be'. She sings "...no one knows for certain, and so it's all the same to me. I think I'll just let the mystery be". "That's it", I thought. It's a Mystery. And letting it be offers the opportunity to continue to wander around in the comfort of not knowing, not having to believe, and simply being present to the beauty of being alive. That song is as good a prayer as any I've known.
-- Pamela Murton
"Una furtiva lagrima" form Donizetti's "L'elisire d'amore"
-- Aloisia Pollock
I was transported by a vocal background number in a movie 35 years ago. It was some 30 years later that I learned it was Soave sia il Vento from Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte.
-- Edward Nolde
In the very early 1980's I was a young nurse learning to work in the heart surgery room in Burlington, Vermont. When the team was ready, the instruments all laid out, the anesthesia doctor ready and the patient asleep, the surgeon would ask to have the Brandenburg concertos started playing softly. A sense of peace and calm would infuse the room and we would begin our work. At times we would actually sway ever so slightly with the music. To this day the Brandenburg Concertos will transport me back to that room with its lovely calm. I'm now a retired RN living in Rockport and this music still moves me.
-- Pat Cole
I have many, but the one that stands out the most is Summertime by George Gershwin. Whenever I hear the song I stop what I'm doing and listen as if in a trance. Unlike most pieces that have a strong emotional effect on me, this one is a bit of an enigma in that I can't remember a single event that marked it in my soul. My mother was a singer in NYC before she married my father and truly had the most amazing voice. She had no training - it was a genuine gift, and it was sweet, pure and lyrical. After marrying my father she left her career to make pretty babies instead of pretty songs, but that didn't stop her from sharing her gift with her children. I remember her singing to us as very young children with a vague recollection that Summertime was in her repertoire but can't tell you the setting in which she sang it. She sang us to sleep, she sang while she stroked our hair in the bath, she sang when we were sick or upset and sang while pushing us on the swings in the backyard. I remember the swing song, it was called Peggy O'neil and I think she used that one exclusively on the swings because it had a melodic 'up and down' phrasing to it. Music will always be woven into my heart, soul and psyche as a gift from my mother. Thank you mom.
-- Kim Filippone
There is so much music I associate with different times in my life that it is hard to pick only one. I had four small children twenty years ago. (Big now!) My husband and I were watching Steve Martin's movie, "LA Story". There was a scene when he and his love interest became children, walking through a garden - statues of lions turned. I was riveted when I heard the song during that scene. It was "On Your Shore" by Enya, from the Watermark album. I bought the CD and it was played many a night rocking my kids to sleep in the dim living room. I associate Enya's early music with raising my children and it will always be very precious to me." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umN18Fu7y2s Thanks, Kim
-- Kim Brown
Respighi's Pines of the Appian Way from his Pines of Rome. One of the most dramatic and moving orchestral pieces in my performing history as a 40-year member of the Bangor Symphony.
-- Louis Hall
Eva Cassidy's "Songbird" is the most haunting love song I have ever heard. Her voice transports me to a timeless place. Eva died at age 33 from melanoma. When I listen to "Songbird," I know that love is rare, and to be treasured.
-- Anne Holliday Abbott
My Dad died in 1963 a week before JFK, when I was 13. My family was living in New York City but my oldest sister and husband were living in SW Harbor. My mom,Janet Bauer thought South West would be a better place to live and we moved there in the spring of 1964. My mom was a "modern" women and lived life to the fullest,including tooling around Southwest in her Blue GTO convertible. In 1971 she started the famous DeckHouse Restaurant and Cabaret. This venue gave local High School and College kids a chance to earn money as waiters and "sing for their supper" as it were. No visit to MDI during the 70's and 80's was complete without a visit to the DeckHouse and the performances of musicals and old standards by the local high school and college kids. My Mom died from cancer in 1978 2 days after the blizzard of 78 badly damaged her beautiful house on the rocky Manset Shore. While running the Deckhouse, the song "What I did for Love" became her standard and was always song every night. When she passed away, the tradition continued as did the half empty glass of Dubonet on the piano which she carried from table to table while greeting old friends and new visitors and welcoming them to a great night of music while watching the sunset over Bass Harbor.
-- Rob Bauer
My brother and I grew up in the ‘60’s. And while I dabbled at guitar, he had a real gift. He owned a beautiful Martin D-35 acoustic guitar and would often play songs in the style of Tom Paxton. His other love was flying, and like many young pilots of that era, he joined the army and was sent to Viet Nam to fly helicopters. As he was shipping out for his tour of combat duty, one of the last things he said to me was that if anything happened to him, he wanted a friend by the name of Glenn Jenks to have his guitar. Well, something did happen to him, and his much-decorated body came back in a box. After the memorial service, I sought out Jenks and told him of my brother’s wish. Jenks took the guitar lovingly out of its case, tuned it up and effortlessly started playing “The Last Thing on My Mind,” by Tom Paxton. “It's a lesson too late for the learning,?made of sand, made of sand. In the wink of an eye my soul is turning,?in your hand, in your hand…” In an instant I understood why my brother had wanted Jenks to have that guitar. It was as if I was hearing my brother’s soul come out of that guitar in the hands and voice of Jenks. Even today, 44 years later, I have a hard time playing or hearing that song without choking up over the memory of my lost brother.
-- Jim Shaffer
In my junior year in high school I had a very imaginative Art teacher. Two or three times during the year, we'd enter the Art classroom to find the blackout/movie window shades drawn down. He would instruct us to "pick our medium and take our seats". That done, the lights would go out, and in as near total-darkness as he could achieve, he'd play a piece of music, instructing us to "commit what we heard to paper". At the conclusion of the musical piece, the lights would go back on, and "what we'd heard" would be visually revealed to us.
On one particular day, the musical piece was very dark, dramatic, and "heavy" - very moving. I went to work and created my piece in paint on cardboard. When the lights came back on, I had painted a dark and heavy fortress, "towering" above viewer. He then revealed that the piece to which we'd been listening was Mussorgsky's GATES OF KIEV. I was somewhat taken aback when I heard the title, and I've been in love with the music ever since. This and a few other classical pieces are those with which I fell in love through "visual art".
-- Michael Gleason, Bangor
My “little” sister Susan Conger (now a grown woman) is a wonderful musician. She plays fiddle and violin music, performs at local dances, teaches students of various ages, publishes CDs of music that she and colleagues have performed, published a book of music, and even composes music. Since my own greatest musical accomplishment is listening to the radio, I am very proud of Susan’s talents, hard work, and accomplishments; and I really enjoy the beautiful music she creates.
From time to time, upon a special family occasion, Susan produces a beautiful gift: a piece of music that she has composed, and performs, in honor of the occasion. My own personal favorite is “Emily’s Waltz”, which Susan composed and recorded at the time her niece – my daughter -- Emily was born in 1982. Every time I hear Emily’s Waltz, it brings beautiful memories to my mind, a smile to my face, and tears to my eyes. But especially so when Emily selected Emily’s Waltz as the tune for our father-daughter dance at her wedding, with “Aunt Susan” performing the waltz on her violin for our special dance during the wedding reception. Knowing that my dancing skills are on a par with my musical abilities, Emily organized some private dance lessons for the two of us, which indeed were a significant help. When the big day arrived, a hush fell over our family and friends at the wedding reception as Susan explained the history and meaning of the music, paused to allow Emily and me to move the center of the dance floor, and began to play. The dance lesson and the magic of the moment carried Emily and me around the floor in a very happy waltz, glowing lovingly at one another. I don’t think anyone mistook me for Fred Astaire on the dance floor, but it was a magical musical moment that I will always treasure.
-- Bob Conger, New Harbor
In 2000 my father suffered a severe stroke in Florida where he lived and it was clear he would never recover. He was in intensive care by the time I got there, and it was difficult and agonizing to get the medical care system to acknowledge and observe his advance directives. After several days of making this case, I got Dad home with hospice care.
It was clear he would not live long, and I asked my wife Nancy to join me in Florida. She scrambled to get a flight, and ended up on a "red eye" to Miami. She fell asleep very late at night on the plane, and awoke dreaming "O mio babbino caro " from Gianni Schicchi by Puccini just as dawn was breaking. She thought, "Bob's just died."
She was right. Nancy checked her watch and asked me. She awoke to the minute the hospice nurse recorded the time of death. We both always tear up when we hear this aria.
-- Stephen and Nancy Farrand
Our Song!! Last year my husband and I celebrated our 30th anniversary. While we had never spoken of a specific piece as "Our Song" we had both focused in on one particular piece of music for all these years - Pachelbel's canon in D. My husband always had the radio on the classical station. Many times I remember hearing this piece of music and we didn't want to get out of the car so we just sat and listened. Other times we'd hear it and call each other to say turn on the radio. A few years ago when someone asked me what was "Our Song", I just had to say Pachelbel's Canon in D. Now the hard part. I called my husband and asked him what he would chose as "Our Song". He paused and I could tell the pressure was on. Then he said - Pachelbel's Canon in D!! (Yes, there was a bit of a question in his answer, but he nailed it! Yeah!) It's good to know that after 30 years we still find "Our Song" to be special!
-- Kathleen Coogan
I'm not sure if this would qualify as my "favorite" musical memory, but certainly one that has been prominent in my life. This, like a couple other submissions, has to do with my father who passed away in August. I got the call from my mom as I was driving back to New York to see him in the hospital. Needless to say it was a very surreal drive, with many stops to collect myself and clear my head. I tried to distract myself with talk radio, but eventually I just plugged my iPod in and put it on shuffle. Music has always been the thing I turn to when I need comfort, and I certainly needed it then. The first song on the mix was Reckoner by Radiohead. I have always been a huge fan of theirs, and that particular piece helped me put into perspective what was happening and how everything was changing. I will always associate that song with that drive, and how I felt that day and the days and weeks after. Here's a link to the song if you don't know it. It's worth a listen:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wCJPm19XYQ
-- Will Elting
In the fall of 1963 I was a college sophomore and a member of the Rutgers University choir. We had been in rehearsal with Brahms "Ein Deutche Requiem," the German Requiem, which we were singing in German, and had just begun our tour singing with the Philadelphia Orchestra led by Eugene Ormandy, when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. On the day he died, choir members were bussed from New Brunswick, NJ, to Philadelphia where we recorded the Requiem for national broadcast that night. The day was cold and rainy, and all our hearts were full. As we sang for the recording, after hours of rehearsal, we were exhausted and many of us had tears running down our faces. We were young and couldn't believe our President had been murdered. How many people have had the chance to sing their hearts out for a fallen president? The next Monday , we did the same in Carnegie Hall in New York, to honor President Kennedy. In my whole life, few experiences have carried such emotion and been so unforgettable. In subsequent years, I have sung my heart out over and over again to Brahms' powerful melodies, of grief and hope. If I knew how, I'd provide an audio file of "Vie lieblich sind deine wohnungen," which in English is "How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place."
-- Barbara Sosman
My wonderful friend and fellow long distance running devotee, Fred Merriam, was on a mission. As the extraordinarily innovative president of our Central Maine running club, the Sub 5 Track Club, he felt we needed a credo, or motto…something to affix to our web site, our newsletter, our racing singlets. Listening to an old Neil Young album, inspiration came to me in the form of Young’s poignant ballad “Long May You Run.” And I waited to spring this upon him at the most obvious time…a training run. That fact we were circling Silver Lake in Bucksport, in the dead of winter, wind chill temperature at minus-double-digits, icicles dripping from any facial hair like stalactites… today …only adds to the charm of the memory, one of those “trunks of memories” I retain of Fred. He reacted like the child who actually GETS a PONY! He hummed it and sang it all through that run…and nearly drove his wife Joan crazy playing it at home. When challenged by a friend and fellow club member that, “Ed, the song is about a car,” I’ll admit to thoroughly enjoying a mischievous moment of condescension, “Kevin, it’s an apt metaphor, don’t you think?!” The club still uses the motto… Because of Fred’s tragic death in 2004, many of us in the Maine running community have so terribly “missed that shift” with him “on the long decline.” I’ll sometimes run alone and imagine him alongside of me, “rollin’ down that empty ocean road,” accompanied by the music that still moves me and deeply moved him.
-- Ed Rice
Peter Duston of Cherryfield has an audio memory to share.
I have loved singing rounds. when my family went on long car trips in the late 1960's and 70's me, my dad and (when we could convince her) my older sister would sing together even my mother and brother would sometimes join in. Dad loved musical harmony, and he taught me how to hear and sing descant parts. He also taught us all several 3 part rounds. One of my absolute favorites back then (as now) was Dona Nobis Pacem. Years later, in the early 1980's I attended the Million Person Peace March in New York City. It was SO enormous, so exciting, so political--I felt wonderful being part of it all. I remember walking in between all those tall, tall buildings, hearing the energy and anger of those who were chanting political slogans, and I wanted something different, something more gentle, so I began singing "Dona Nobis Pacem". My neighbors in the march took it up, and after a while I turned around and just listened, as the song slowly spread back behind us, picked up person by person for the distance of a full long city block - a thousand people or more singing one message, "Give us Peace" in a round, waves of song echoing along the buildings.I remember thinking that this was our message-distilled into song. This was the essence of what all of us marchers wanted. I still can't sing or hear about that song without remembering that transformative moment.
-- Elizabeth Forrest
In 1969 I was a senior in high school, living in Abilene, Texas. A friend who was one year older and already left for college was home for a break. He took me to our local record store which had these really fun, dare I say it groovy, little listening booths to listen to a first album by a group called Led Zeppelin. When the music started my first reaction was shock. Could anything be so raw, so untamed, so wild, so loud, so free? I literally felt Dazed and Confused. It seemed like they had taken things too far. My friend made me listen to it a few more times and soon I went from shocked to astonished. It confirmed my belief that there was life beyond the narrow confines on my small Texas town. To this day, Zeppelin is still my favorite rock group. They connect me to the possibilities, both lost and found, of my youth. I loved the recent tribute to them at the Lincoln Center.
-- Richard Chalmers, Camden
When I was in my early 20's I dated the man who hosted the morning classical music show on N.H. Public radio and did art and music reviews. Prior to this my only exposure to classical music was through Bugs Bunny cartoons. He had tickets to see and review The Magic Flute . I reluctantly agreed to go with him, knowing that I would hate it. I was oh-so-wrong! I enjoyed the whole thing, most especially the aria by the Queen of the Night. Every hair on my head stood on end! I could hardly breathe! I've been an opera fan ever since.
-- Lisa Neuman
My husband has been a professional musician for 25 years, and I have watched his progression with pride, but the first time I asked him to write a song for me is my favorite musical recollection. When my novel was set for publication, he took the book as inspiration. "Something with the feel of Chris Isaak's 'Graduation Day," was my request, and when Trav played me the song he made, I cried. As a stoic Aroostook County native, I'm not in the habit of crying over music, but I did because he got it exactly, 100% right. He sung about desperation, and nostalgia, hope, and the need to escape--without ever using those abstractions. It is my favorite song, and every time I hear it, I feel so grateful for finding a partner who got it, and a partner who gets me. That's rare. Here is a link to the book trailer with the studio version: http://youtu.be/RJA1GQPV614
-- Shonna Milliken Humphrey
Music that moves Me.. the selection is from Howard Goodall's Eternal Light mov't 5 Lacrymosa .. "Do not stand at my grave and Weep" A wonderful Baritone Kevin Broad , part of the Seaglass Chorale , (he also taught and coached at Massabesic High in Waterboro ) The Chorale performed Eternal light April 2011 Kevin was the baritone soloist.. at the time he was diagnosed with terminal cancer (which he did not share with us ) Remembering him singing the 5th movement "Do not stand at my Grave and Weep "I did not die " this was the gift he gave us . his courage , strength and Love...
-- Jean Strazdes, Kennebunk
It was the summer of 1971. Carnegie Hall. Leoplold Stokowski conducting Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the LA Philharmonic and the Yale Choir. The event had been sold out for months.... I was determined to get in. So, I stood in front of Carnegie Hall for hours in my t-shirt and cutoffs trying to buy a ticket from anyone. No Luck. Undeterred, I hung around outside - waiting for a miracle. Then, at intermission, someone opened up a lobby door to get some air. I was through that door before you could say, “Allegro non troppo.” So, now I’m in that fabulous lobby of Carnegie Hall – with no ticket! Gawking at all the well-dressed, well healed, mucky mucks. The lights flashed for the end of intermission. Everyone left the lobby but me. I climbed the stairs to the first balcony and saw nothing but the locked doors of the boxes in that grand circular hallway. What would Alice do? I took a deep breath, and opened one of the doors. There were six chairs in the box, with only two people seated. They turned around and saw me. “It’s over,” I thought. But they just turned back to the stage and said nothing - as I stood there, frozen, with my back to the wall… Hello, Wonderland. The lights went down, and then came those hypnotic six notes. Ba-dum. Ba-dum. Bad dum. For the next hour, my ears were on fire. But here’s where it gets really good. During the Chorus’ “Ode to Joy,” I couldn’t feel the floor beneath my sneakers. Quite literally. I kept pressing down with my feet, assuming that it was just an illusion. Still nothing. To this day, it remains one of the great mysteries of my life.
-- Eddie Adelman
When I was in high school my mother taught me about opera. I would lay on the living room floor and listen to Saturday afternoon at the Met and various records she had collected. ( I still listen, but not on the floor). My first favorite was from Samson & Delilah by Saint-Seans, a recording of the mezzo-soprano, Blanche Thebom singing "My Heart Opens at the Sound of your Voice." Her song was about how HIS (Samson's) voice opened HER (Delilah's) heart. Of course, she still betrayed him, but it was quite dramatically convincing. I was so disappointed when I realized that music moved me so profoundly but my own voice did not have the gift to move others. I sought to find my OWN VOICE, eventually becoming a visual artist, a painter. But, that early memory of Blanche Thebom's power and passion gave me the measure of what is possible with art. I wish I could find an audio file of Blanche Thebom, but alas, I am not able to find it.
-- Wendy Patterson
Many years ago, I auditioned for a local performance of Carousel in Simsbury, CT. It was an effort to get myself out and socialize after several years of single parenting. I got a small speaking part, was a member of the “chorus”, and was asked if I would understudy for the role of Billy Bigelow. I had always felt that the Soliloquy, sung by Billy, was the most stirring piece in all of American musical theater…so I quickly said yes. At the dress rehearsal, with the full sixty piece orchestra, it was announced that the actor playing Billy was sick and wouldn’t be there that night, so it was mine for just that rehearsal! I had the part down pat and just quaked with anticipation as the moment for singing Soliloquy came closer. It arrived, and the conductor stopped the show and said, ”Let’s skip this next tune to save time”. I never broke stride and told him I had waited too long for this moment. He smiled, understood, and began directing. As I sang, the rest of the cast slipped out in front, realizing that something big was happening. I could see the smile on the director’s face as he pushed the full orchestra to meet my passion. I remember particularly putting a sensitivity into the final passage where Billy realizes that his baby “boy” could be a “girl” and with the very last powerful note, the roof blew off the hall, an empty hall full of cast members erupted, and I dropped on my knees totally feeling that I had reached the top of the mountain. What I didn’t know at that time was that I would meet my future “love-of-my-life” as my dance partner in that play and that we together would make our own “little girl” who is now Portland's own Sara Hallie Richardson. Soliloquy makes me cry happy tears every time I hear it! Clearly, this is music that moves me.
-- Bob Richardson
When I first heard that you were asking listeners to share their deepest or most favorite musical memories, I was immediately taken back almost 13 years ago to a time I thought I surely could not survive: the death of my son. My handsome, witty and kind 22 year old son, Sky, was gone from this earth. How could I ever continue as a mother without him? Music became my mantra for living, breathing, expressing the loss and pain that filled my heart and soul. One musical piece in particular seemed to express this new life-landscape of loss for me; it also led to my eventual surrender to suffering and later, the ultimate hope and healing I needed so I could rediscover a new relationship with my beloved Sky, with my family and with...myself. Paul Schwartz's 'MISERERE' and 'BE STILL MY SOUL' from 'State of Grace' is an audio road map that relates the journey of heart-wrenching grief to hope-filled living. As a bereavement volunteer, I have had the honor of sharing State of Grace with other grieving parents. This music gives voice to that which can only truly be understood by those who have also experienced 'the worst loss'. It is a musical journey of darkest mourning to light-filled living.
-- Jody Pardee Curtis
In 2001 I was reunited with my birthparents for the first time. My birthfather told me when he got the phone that I had been found.He got home and pulled into the driveway and the song by Stevie Wonder came on Ribbon in the Sky, and he just cried cause it had expressed everything he was feeling of complete joy.
-- Mary Kearns