Saturday, December 14, 2013

Singing in the Fast Lane

Yesterday I helped direct two different plays with three different classes, went caroling around school with 50 preschoolers, sang with100 elementary kids, then zipped off to my Mom’s for more songs around the piano and then back to school to sing with a gathering of 25 alums, some who had graduated 30 years ago (and they remembered all the songs!). Today I’m off to SF Jazz Center to lead more singing (and playing and dancing) with the families going to the Family Concert there. Next week will be our annual neighborhood caroling party— yet more singing with a whole different group of people. All this from a guy who never sang as a kid, was not immersed in a culture of singing, remembers two songs his Dad would sometimes sing—“There’s a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea” and his original composition, “Piggy Piggy Poo.”

Days like this are insane by any standard of life lived at a reaonsable tempo. I’m hurtling down the fast lane of the highway without a moment’s rest to even see the flowers I’m rushing by, never mind smell them. But inside the car, singing with whoever happens to be in the back seat, there is a connection that nothing else quite can make in the same way. I’m not a great singer by any reasonable standard and I don’t even habitually sing in the shower, but I love the way a shared song charges the air and momentarily erases those bothersome distances we create between each other. And so in rushing helter-skelter from one thing to another with barely a rest stop, I’m sustained and uplifted and energized by the power of song.

In our fantasies of Heaven, there are harps and heavenly choirs, while Hell is a mess of undisciplined shrieking and moaning. I still need to consider a more leisurely pace in my hectic life, but as long as there’s music, maybe it doesn’t matter so much. And heck, plenty of time for rest when I’m six-feet under. Maybe it’s just fine to keep zooming down the fast lane while the car still works and people are still sending me invitations.

Time for the SF JAZZ gig. Off I go! Whhheeeeeeeee!!!! 

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