It has been a busy (rarely quiet) week in Hidden Valley Music Seminars, my Lake Wobegon. Finished off teaching the first week of Level III and just fill in the blanks with all the superlative adjectives you know if you want to know what that was like. Then drove the 3 hours back to San Francisco and had the great pleasure of officiating my friend’s Micah and Kim's (Orff students/colleagues, Pentatonics jazz drummer, etc.) wedding. Get out those superlative adjectives again to describe a circle of loving people in a redwood grove with perfect temperature and the light of the heavens beaming down.
Near the end of the ceremony, with everyone’s hand on their neighbor’s back feeling and transmitting vibrations, I taught an Estonian song whose text is vowels—Eh dim dim, Ah dum dum, Wo-o-o-o-o. Really, all you need is vowels to express our feeling life and each vowel with multiple characters. The Ahh! of wonder, the Ahhh!!!! of a pulled muscle. The inquisitive “Eh?” and the what-the-heck? "Eh!!!" The teasing “ooo” and the isn’t- that- fine? "Ooo.” The confession of error with “oh-oh”, the pleasure of “ohhhhhhhh.” You get the idea.
Driving back from the wedding, my friends Rick and Paul were commenting on how I seem to often exclaim “Woof!” and “woojy woojy” while moving through the day. I was doubled over with laughter hearing them describe it and confessed that I wasn’t wholly aware that I did this. I charged them with calling me out when it happened and of course, now I’m self conscious about it. But I’m sure “woojy woojy!” will spontaneously erupt again.
And why not? At the end of all our efforts to expand our vocabulary is the raw fact of emotion expressed best through music (a vowel-centered experience) and next, through simply sounds. That’s how babies talk, that’s how the folks at life’s exit door talk, it’s the beginning and the end of the whole game of communication. Not to mention the grunts and groans of the aging body as we get up and sit down.
No rest for this aging guy and mostly happily so. Off to work on a memorial service and then drive back to my Lake Wobegon retreat to finish week two. So let me close with: