Recently our local Heritage Foundation, dedicated to preserving historic structures, undertook a major fundraising effort to restore our downtown theater. The result of their successful work is a state-of-the-art venue for movies, concerts, and plays. Our community is fortunate to have dedicated citizens who look to the future with an eye on the past.
This summer my daughter and I went to see Studio Tenn’s production of The Sound of Music on its opening night. As usual, when the day came for us to go, I thought of a hundred different things I should be doing with that time. But I was thankful to be spending time with my daughter and anxious to see a live production in our new facility.
The evening was absolutely amazing. The talent of the actors was evident in the performance of their lines as well as their musical numbers. The set was minimal but very effective. I felt as though I was right there in the scene, and when I reminded myself it was a play rather than real life, I felt as if the cast members were performing their very best work, just for me. Yes, it was that good.
But it was more than just a wonderful evening at the theater for me. I was totally involved in the story and the music. The performance took me back to the moment when I saw the movie for the first time, wrapped up in the beautiful scenery, the grumpy father, the children and their unique clothing, the intrigue of the escape, and the charming Maria. I could remember the year I was in sixth grade, singing the songs in school programs and listening to them at sleepovers on the weekends. This story was definitely one of “My Favorite Things.” Why hadn’t I even thought of it in the last few years?
Can you hear “The Hills are Alive…” and not see yourself, arms spread wide, spinning around in the mountain meadows? And I remember playing “Climb Every Mountain…” as one of my piano pieces, the first time I played high notes alternating with low chords -“til,” (boom), “you,” (boom), “find,” (boom), “your,” (boom), “dream.” The yodeling of “The Lonely Goatherd” was a part of my childhood, too. When the nuns sang “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?” near the beginning of the play, I sang along in my head, every note, every word, phrases I hadn’t thought of in years. And it was the same with every solo, duet, and chorus throughout the entire production. It was all there in my mind, waiting to be rediscovered.
And then, near the end, we heard “Edelweiss,” and my daughter smiled and said, “Here it is.” The song that was sung in rounds with my friends at camp, and later the tune to a sorority favorite on the last night of rush – a melody I sang to my children as I rocked them to sleep, and a memory engrained in the heart and mind of both my daughter and myself. Such a beautiful, inspired tune, along with words that span years, and cultures, and dreams.
Music has that quality like nothing else does– to revive long-forgotten memories and bring fullness into hearts that can easily get downtrodden with the monotony of day-to-day life. To show us the best in others and the possibilities for ourselves. “My heart will be blessed with the sound of music, and I’ll sing once more.”