While on a recent trip, I had the pleasure of going to the Alabama Theatre in South Carolina to see the show entitled, ONE. For any of my readers who know me well, you know that I have been a huge fan of the country group Alabama for most of my adult life. Many of my most memorable moments are connected in some way to an Alabama song. My first “real” concert was in Buffalo, 30 years ago to see them, when they first started touring. So, as I walked into “their” theatre, I was smiling ear to ear, like a child walking into a candy store. I am also a huge fan of live entertainment and that evening I couldn’t have hoped for a better mix of singing, dancing, acrobatics and comedy. The playlist of music encompassed selections from country, to pop to gospel and everything in between. The musicians masterfully played instruments ranging from the banjo to bagpipes and the routines included a flying Mary Poppins and a talking dog. The audience was mainly comprised of tourists, but I had the pleasure of sitting beside a gentleman (Gene) who attends the show 3 times a week. Our conversation evolved from pleasantries to insider information on the performers (brothers and sisters, married couples and newlyweds) to the reason behind his regular attendance. Throughout the show, his wife sat quietly by his side, smiling and only speaking once as she asked to get up and stretch at the intermission. Gene shared that his wife has experienced several medical setbacks in recent years and a significant part of her memory is quickly fading. Some weeks she remembers attending the show and other times, it is all new and exciting for her. He spoke of their shared love of music and as the music is playing, it is one of the rare times that he feels still connected to her.
Gene’s story is a beautiful love story as it speaks to the power of a musical connection, a shared experience that, in this case, can transcend the bounds illness and memory loss.
As I think of my own journey, I know that hearing a song can instantly transport me to a time and place with special memories.
If music has that power, are we as educators embracing it as much as we should?
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