Friday, March 22, 2013

110 Toes Music

I keep trying to figure out what to call this Friday series of growing-up-reminiscing.  Since my brother Josh came up with the name “71 Toes,” I’m now counting on him to come up with a great name for this series.  Dave mentioned “110 Toes” and I want to come up with something more original, but that sounds like a LOT of toes, right?  How in the world did my Mom keep all those things clipped?  Hmmm.

Ok, so today I’m reminiscing about music.  I already told a little snippet about it back here, and my sister wrote up her version over here.  Music was a big deal in our family growing up…which makes it interesting that none of us are really that great at it.  I mean, my little sister is pretty great at sight reading on the piano and my older sister got really good at the violin, but I wouldn’t call us a fantastically musical family.  That’s why we all laugh that we were once named the “Western Regional Music Family of the year”.  I’m serious about that.  It really somehow happened.  But I’m not sure how many people there were in the running…  Maybe it had something to do with this funny picture of everyone trying to play: s_9acqy2vl30056Is that about the cheesiest thing you’ve ever seen or what??

Even though we weren’t incredibly musical, we were exposed to music in all kinds of forms, and I’m so grateful for that. Our living room wall was lined with musical instruments my parents collected from all over the world. 

2006-01-03 J. B. Mopeltel 055

Classical music would always come through our intercom system on Sundays and it was a priority to take us to the symphony here and there.  And we all got to choose our own instrument to play. 

I chose the violin:

2006-01-03 J. B. Mopeltel 037

This was the scroll on my violin:2006-01-03 J. B. Mopeltel 041

Seriously, who wouldn’t want to play that thing?

I never got past the screechy part even though I took lessons for years.

Which is interesting since I really think I could give myself the award for the “best practicer” in the family.

I have lots of journal entries about my “daily schedule” and all of them include 1/2 hour of piano practice and 1/2 hour of violin practice in the wee hours of the morning.  I remember being the only one up in the dark mornings plunking away on that piano.  I don’t remember ever being too frustrated that I never seemed to get any better.  (Except now, when I WISH I could sight read music better.)

Because my Mother majored in music she could play anything (at least in my mind).  One of my favorite memories when we lived in England was how she would play the piano once in a while as we drifted off to sleep.  She usually just accompanied us singing so it felt extra special hearing her play just to play.  It was like velvet to my ears.  I also loved the sound of her melodic viola.  We did have a family string quartet for a good while there.  My Dad took up cello, my sister and I played our violins, and my mother held us all together with her viola.  I remember being pretty proud of some of the music we created together…as long as my Dad and my parts were pretty simple we could pull some cool stuff off.

My parents put us in singing groups and had us try out for Annie.  That led to a whole summer of putting on our own production of Annie up at Bear Lake (more on that later).  We were also the main singers for the Joy School music tapes back in the olden days.  I remember my Dad holding up the microphone of our ancient recording device and adding the special effects (a dog barking sound, a bear growling sound, etc.) while my mom played the piano and we sang our little hearts out.  Sometimes the doorbell would ring in the middle or one of the little kids would start crying in the middle of a recording.  I think they left that stuff in. 

I could go on and on but my time is gone.  I’ll just say I am so grateful for every music, and that my parent’s love of it gave me my own love.  Music can transform things even if you can’t produce it well. 

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