Beautiful Day

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Music of 2014

Music.  Doesn't that word just stir up a whole lot itself?  There are whole histories and a gamut of philosophies that can be expounded on.  Let's not forget theology in there, either.

As I am thinking through my end-of-year book post (coming soon!), I couldn't help but reflect on music.  Now quite possibly that is because it is Christmas and our home has been filled with music...both on instruments and on players.  Adventure Girl and I were lamenting at the close of the evening yesterday, as we sat listening to some beautiful choral renditions of Christmas carols on Pandora, that the music of the season will soon be over.  And why does it not carry over past the Christmas season?  I think we concluded that it doesn't conclude.  It is just different.  The music of Christmas is its own entity and beauty.  The music of the rest of the year can be so in its own right.  It is also different, and perhaps there is a seasonal characteristic to it too.

But I think it is also because music tells something about us.  The what and why of our listening choices speaks something about the heart.  Like reading choices, I can tell something about a person by what music they listen to before I know very much more about them.  Which is probably about as far as I'm going to venture in this post on waxing eloquent about the meaning behind music

Which had me thinking...what have I listened to this past year?  What has been new?  What is on my playlists?  Have my musical choices been a growing experience?  It is true at this season of life, that what is on my children's (or husband's) playlists tends to be what dominates our home.   I don't often state, "Let's listen to....."  Except when it is related to purposeful education, or at the end of the day when I just need. some. calm.  Or Sunday mornings, when I can be picky about what style of music I want to hear.

What indeed IS a great blessing to me, is that by carefully crafting the sounds of our home over many years and hopefully giving them an appetite for beauty in all things, my children's music choices have echoed my own in some form or fashion.  We all have slight variations in preferences at any given time.  But we have a great deal of harmony about music in our home--in listening, that is!  We're still working on the singing part!

I think our music was most expanded on a local scale this year.  That is, we were introduced to music of a "locally grown" fiddler, Rebecca Lomnicky, and her duo partner, David Brewer, early in 2014 at a concert.  Country Girl, Adventure Girl and I went and we thought it one of the most fun concerts we have ever attended.  Maybe it had something to do with the homecoming enthusiasm for the musicians.  Or that we had never seen a bagpiper with so much energy or enthusiasm while playing (or Christmas lights and decorations on a set of bagpipes!)  Or the stirring strathspeys, lovely airs, and toe-tapping reels of Scotland and Ireland that we enjoy.  Or that she could make her fiddle play "Amazing Grace" in the sound of bagpipes.  All of it combined meant we had to listen to it often, so "Inspired" entered our home playlist.

I am not sure where this one has been hiding.  I mean, I have heard of Keith and Kristyn Getty many times the past few years.  Somehow I finally looked them up more closely and this is what I found:

Joy - An Irish Christmas

"Joy, An Irish Christmas" has been our Christmas treat in music this year.  It has a very fun combination of traditional songs mixed into jigs or reels (to which I often give in to the call to practice my Irish dance steps we learned at a class earlier this year) and then their gift of hymn-writing shines through.  I think "Jesus, Joy of Highest Heaven" might be my new favorite hymn.  Kristyn Getty's "Magnificat" is beautiful and full of worship as well.  I only wish their tour this year had come to our part of the country!

But we did get to enjoy this concert, instead.  Tender Warrior and I went on a date night to "Winterdance" with the Celtic band, Molly's Revenge, Christa Burch, and Irish dancers.  I looked this one up, being introduced to Molly's Revenge, when David Brewer (the bagpiper mentioned above) noted that he had a Celtic band and that they annually came through our town every December. (You can click on the link to find a sample video from their tour in 2013).


It was full of energy, some lovely tunes, and the very Irish sing-songey voice of Christa Burch.  We enjoyed how she sings with hand motions.  All of it was accented with some phenomenal Irish step dancers with gorgeous costumes!  I kept thinking of how my little girls would be gasping "Wow!" at their glittery costumes.  David Brewer called it, "Irish Dancer Bling."

I do have to say, that Irish and Scottish folk music can very often feature songs that amount to "drown- your-sorrows-in-a-bottle" tunes, and those I do not care for (and we already know are not biblical)!  There are a couple of these on this album.  As with all things, discernment is in order.

These are just some new albums we've added this year.  They happen to have more of the Irish and Scottish folk music flair this year.  Having fiddle players in the home, and being a family who enjoys making music together, we have grown quite a bit in 2014. It's always a journey and doesn't come necessarily "easy" for Tender Warrior and I, as we seem to think it does for some families.  Maybe that is an illusion.  I know all who are musical work hard at it.  I just always feel like I have SO much to learn in this arena, even having played the clarinet for many years in my youth.  One of my joys is learning alongside my children, even if their abilities and understanding far surpass mine.  Warrior and I learn from them, too.

Aside from listening to music, we had several opportunities to play music throughout the year.  We had opportunities to play during church worship many times.  The older girls and I played piano, fiddle, guitar and harp for a women's ministries special event at church.  We gathered the courage to pull together a song as a whole family at the annual music camp we attend.  We participated in two fiddle contests.  Most memorable was probably blessing my 95-year-old grandmother with a concert on the porch of her care home, which filled her up immensely, and returning to sing some Christmas carols with her this season.

We look forward to the musical adventures of 2015, both in playing and listening.   And how we might continue to grow, expand, and hopefully improve our playing to bless others with God's gift of music!

1 comment:

  1. The Getty Christmas CD is one of our favorites and "Jesus, Joy of the Highest Heaven" is the one we memorized as a family this year. (Bookworm3 loves to belt it out at the top of her voice.....all through "quiet time.")

    I've heard of the band Molly's Revenge but didn't know very much about them.

    What sort of humans would be we without music? That's a question that requires an answer longer than one sentence but it is an interesting thing to think about.

    Watching you take joy in something makes other people take joy in it also. I like when you share about the things that are exciting to you. Thank you for doing so in this way.



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