Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Today in the branch lobby there was a mini-concert.  I didn't really see the little singer, but I assume that it was the child of one of our customers who was singing a sweet little song that children entertain us with because they love to be the center of attention for adults who care enough to listen.  The child apparently had a captive audience...because I heard the song and then the applause.  I'm actually quite shocked that I did...because I normally miss what goes on outside my office.  I'm usually on the phone, tuned into talk radio in the background, have earphones in, or am so focused on the computer screen that I know not what is going on in the world.  But I heard the fuss outside my door...and I smiled.

This past Sunday morning, a group in church sang a song and used their God-given talents to worship from their hearts and in doing so enhanced the worship experience of those of us in the sanctuary.  They finished...and we all applauded.  I mean, our church encourages this.  I grew up in a church that was a little more formal, and it just wasn't done.  That may be different now, of course.  I mean, times change.  But twenty-five years ago when we first started attending our church,  I remember sitting there after a song was over and being stunned that the congregation just started clapping.  I was used to that awkward reverent silence that sometimes comes after a stirring performance when people aren't sure what to do.  Actually, I think that the spontaneous applause was one of the things about my church that made me know that I was in the right place.  Yes, I had to get over the hand-holding thing at the end, but they've since stopped that.

I like to applaud.  It makes me happy.  It is a way of telling people that I appreciate their gifts and that I wholeheartedly agree with what they've been singing.  That it is exciting to be in agreement with them.  That I have an outlet for my enthusiasm...even if it is just slapping my two hands together in a manner that society agrees is socially acceptable for indicating pleasure.  Well, at least in the society that I live in it is.  I'm Southern.  We applaud.  When I was in college at Troy, we'd burst into applause if someone dropped their tray in the dining hall.  Whistles were added if something actually broke.

I am a fairly expressive person.  I talk with my hands and I move when I talk.  Sometimes it takes everything I have in me to refrain from bouncing up and down with enthusiasm.  I may be 48, but if you tell me some good news, I may react like I'm eight. It's always a crapshoot.  I had to learn to contain this when I went to work in the adult world because if you jump up and down like a "Price Is Right" contestant, they'll think you are brainless.  Sad, but true.

That movement thing isn't limited to me just being happy.  I'm also one of those people who cannot listen to music without moving.  I mean, it is virtually impossible for me to not react to what I'm hearing.  I listen to a lot of rock music.  Loud rock music.  Screaming guitars.  Thundering drums.

Sometimes this makes life interesting. 

Especially if this "moving" business is happening when I'm not really thinking about it or where I might be at that point in time.  I shudder to think of what some people that pass my office might witness.  Or folks that pull up beside me at a stoplight.  Because, you see, I totally rock.  Physically...not always so much in the figurative sense.  And I'm fairly positive that what I think I'm doing and what I'm actually doing are about as different as night and day.

I don't usually play air guitar...I tend to be the drummer.  Not that I have ever picked up a pair of drumsticks and attempted to do actually do this...I just think I can in my own mind.  I've always been able to pick out the awesomeness of the drums in a song I like, and I hear that as much as I do the melody. Weird, yes?  I'd try it out on my son's "Rock Band" game...but he hogs the drumsticks...and all he lets me do is sing.  As long as the song doesn't require me to hit notes that only dogs can hear (sadly, I sing on key but have virtually no range)...I score high...and he likes that. 

My only attempt to play guitar was in high school when I had a Heart album and thought that I could figure out how to be the next member of their group (delusions of graudeur...ya think?) on my own.  Never mind learning about those pesky little things called "chords."  Too bad they were um...totally necessary.

But in all of my playing and daydreaming...I've never once heard applause.  I never expect to, either.  I just get all into the music because I enjoy it.  It doesn't seem enough to just be listening to it.  I have to get into it physically.  I have to keep the beat with my head, drum away or sing along.  Sitting still is totally not an option.  My feet move and my fingers tap.  This phenomenon occurs even with commercials.  I know!  Weird.

At our Wesleyan 25th Class of 1985 reunion, to entertain ourselves, we sang into hairbrushes and rocked out to songs that we had not heard in many moons.  I mean, we had classics like Rick James' "Superfreak" hit the charts while we were college freshmen.  We were "superfreaking...yow."  Frankly, in retrospect, I think that the Rick James video for this is super-freaky.  Like literally.

Okay, Lisa, Libbie and I were not rocking here...but we were AFTER this photo was taken, because actual rocking out photos are as they say "unavailable" by unanimous consent.  :)
Last summer, some of the ladies of the R. E. Lee Class of 1981 got together for a weekend near Warm Springs.  During this stay, we went to Stubby's Pub and formed a karaoke group that was dubbed "Hen Party."  A couple of us had actually done karaoke before and enjoyed it, but there were some of us that were a little less than enthusiastic about getting up there.  But we did.  And it was awesome!  We didn't care if we were perfect...together we rocked and were were living the dream!  Okay, maybe just MY dream (or K.C. and the Sunshine Band's reality).  But it was fun.  But the best part...

When we finished...applause!

The members of "Hen Party."  We totally rocked.  :)
Perhaps your gift is standing up in front of people and belting out a song.  Maybe you enjoy singing in a choir or ensemble and you are doing it solely for the joy it brings you or because it is your offering back to the source of your gift.  But being'll have to agree that it is nice when people connect with what you are trying to do.  And most frequently, they let you know that with their applause.  And not that polite sorta-kinda clapping that we do because we're supposed to look like we care, either.  No!  Whoop whoop it on out there or why bother?

I don't know what kind of music you prefer...and what makes your soul sing.  Maybe you have an eclectic mix that crosses all genres, or you may be like me...fairly tied to just one type of music (rock/alternative). But whatever it is that makes you move or makes you is a gift, is it not?  Can't a song transport you to a point in time or a memory that makes you smile? (or wince)  Sure it can.

So, do as Lynyrd Skynyrd says..."turn it up"...and enjoy the music that makes your heart sing.  Oh, and if you pull up beside me at a stoplight..try not to laugh too hard.


  1. I play "Concert" when I'm driving. I sing to the top of my voice with whatever I want. Wish I really could sing. Everyone else probably wishes that also.

    After YEARS of contemporary Christian music only I've rediscovered Classic Rock and Adult Pop/Contemporary. Pandora and XM are my new best friends.

  2. My best memories are of when my son was young and we would turn up the radio in the car and both of us would sing at the top of our lungs! He probably has some kind of hearing damage now, thanks to his mom's inability to carry a tune, but at that time - we rocked!

  3. I'm sure that there have been many people here in Montgomery that wonder what that lady in the burgandy Impala is doing as she is driving. I have had our Easter music on in my car from the day the cds were handed out. I wore 2 of them out listening. The music is awesome, is varied in tempo, style, and message......but it moves me! As we rehearsed last night, there were many moments it moved me to tears so I guess I better wear waterproof mascara and have a tissue Sunday night!

  4. I learned this from having to be in the car a lot traveling years ago. Turn the radio, cd, or tape up a few notches and channel the sound a little more to the rear of the car. Next, tune the sound a little more to the right than the left. Then make sure the base is just a little higher than the treble. With those adjustments, I heard instruments that are not detected in the normal volume of music. Okay, I first learned it accidentally by the radio being too loud. But for the sake of my hearing, I figured out the rest. I always make sure my car has a tremendous sound system. This of course, only works if you are alone in the car, but for lots of us, that seems to be the way we travel. This works for me on Public Radio in the classical and jazz parts of the day. It's awesome. I am transformed listening to music - classical, jazz, oldies, easy listening, Gaither CDs, Integrity Music, Maranatha Singers, and Oh my very "favoritest" of all Mercy Me with I Can Only Imagine. I cry joyful tears at the thought of what will be when first Jesus face we see - I Can Only Imagine!

  5. I tend to listen to light rock at home...the stuff that is called "oldies" now! Jim Croce is one of my favorite artists..especially "Time in a Bottle". It has significance to my relationship with Tommy...

  6. I am totally into Christian music. I fell in love with it in church and I have never stopped. Amy Grant has a song titled "My Fathers Eyes."
    Because I do not know my Father, this song has touched my heart deeply.
    I pray daily to have (God's) my Father's eyes. Just as the song says, eyes that find the good in things, when good is not around, eyes that find the source of help when help can not be found, etc.... Because God is the ONLY Father I have ever KNOWN. Thanks for the song Amy.

  7. I am a lover of music, but not lover of Karaoke. Have experienced it a time or two, with a group, and have regretted that the thought even entered my mind and I am certain the ones around me were regretting there choice of establishment for the evening! LOL
    But...I can tell you that when I experience that break through with an autistic child, or any other special needs child, makes my soul sing and applaud! When THAT child calls you by name, hugs you and you know that you have made a difference......nothing in this world ever compares to that!

  8. Well I guess I should have posted my music choices.....Country and late 60's and 70's.

  9. You guys totally rock! Thank you for leaving these posts on the blog! Have you all counted on the Day 5 list! :)