“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent“
– Victor Hugo
Everybody needs a release for the stresses and strains of day-to-day living. For some it may be sitting down in front of the television with a large glass of something cold, for others it could be something more active to challenge the body to see just what they can achieve. For me, there are three things guaranteed to lighten my load: a good book; a successful bake; and music.
For as long as I can remember, music has been a huge part of my life. When I was growing up, my parents always said they knew when I was finding life tough because the music would slowly disappear from my daily routine. I would no longer sit at the piano and sing, until eventually that dark cloud would pass and I could let the music back in. It is amazing to me how certain songs or tunes can evoke powerful memories and the emotions come rushing back.
These days, whilst the piano sits proudly in our sitting room as an important member of our family that I cannot imagine being without, I rarely find the time to bash out a tune or two. All too often, I find myself surrounded by small children who want to play alongside me, but who don’t have the patience to allow Mummy to teach them the basics. However, despite a certain reluctance to put in much practice at home, both G and M have chosen to learn instruments to play. We were recently treated to the school summer music concert, which saw both children playing solo pieces, though I’d be hard-pressed to say who had the greater look of concentration on their face – G with her clarinet or M with his cello.
I am delighted that both G and M love to have music in their lives, a fact that I like to attribute to my incessant playing of specially selected compilation albums during both of my pregnancies. They both listen to CDs at night to help them settle to sleep and we almost always have a CD playing in the car, even for the shortest of journeys. I maintain that there is a song for every occasion and have been known to coax M out of the darkest of moods by my rendition of any song that springs to mind, often with a slight change to the lyrics to suit the situation.
My biggest musical passion is, and always has been, singing. Over the years I have had the opportunity and privilege to sing with some wonderfully talented musicians, from my competition-winning school choir to the history-making Cathedral choir and many more along the way. I have sung with women-only choirs as well as mixed voices and have had the heady experience of performing on my own in addition to singing with groups that have varied in size from less than 10 to over 200.
My current choir is a wonderful group of anywhere between 10 and 20 ladies, who meet weekly to share our love of music. Each Tuesday I abandon Mike and the children for an hour’s worth of music, laughter and the most amazing friendships I could imagine. This group of ladies bring a smile to my face without fail and this week’s rehearsal found me giggling so hard that I couldn’t get any semblance of a note out of my mouth. I was transported away from the week’s dramas with M and instead could just enjoy some time without that pressure overwhelming me. No matter what the song, we have a great time and it’s been a pleasure to see the choir grow over the last couple of years. Sometimes the lyrics of the songs really strike a chord and help me express something I had no idea how else to explain. At our recent concert, one of the other choirs performing sang the song “There’s a hero” by Billy Gilman which really spoke to me of our journey with M and how I feel about our family. If you don’t know this song, you can listen to it here.