Happy Thanksgiving!

I wrote an entry awhile back about being grateful so perhaps writing another one for Thanksgiving is redundant. I don’t want to focus on individual people, accomplishments or occasions. I want to look at the big picture.

I am grateful for music. For everything that it has had to offer me for as long as I can remember. I am grateful for melody, for lyrics, for harmonies that grab you by the ear and won’t let go (I remember Jay Rader calling a particularly plump harmonic transition a “dirty chord,” and I know exactly what he meant). I am grateful for all its manifestations – opera, musical theater, symphonies, art song, pop songs, chamber works, solo instrumental pieces, folk songs, bluegrass, country music and rap. (Okay, for the last two I’m not all that grateful but they exist and they fulfill something for someone else.)

When I’m happy, I listen to music. When I’m unhappy, I need it all the more. I’m grateful for the creativity that music seems to trigger in me, and for any vague nurturing instinct I might have that is the result of teaching music.

I’m grateful that I’ve been able to earn a living because of music. I’m hopeful that music will open more doors in terms of my cabaret performances (new domain name coming in 2010 just for that endeavor!), in terms of more teaching opportunities at the college level, and more possibilities of performances and workshops (alone or with other performing/teaching partners). I’m grateful that the music education I’ve received, from 88th Street School to Hamilton HS to Alverno College to the Peabody Institute to all the NATS workshops and non-NATS programs (shout out to Somatic Voicework and Jeannie LoVetri!), has given me the information needed to make this work for me and for my students.

I’m grateful that music gave me a way to say a final goodbye to my mother, and to hopefully give some comfort to my father.

I am grateful for having married a man who once earned his living as a musician and has never begrudged my music for one moment. And I am grateful for Facebook and for being able to re-establish contact with those musical colleagues from 88th Street School to Hamilton HS to Alverno College (not so much there – wonder why?) to Peabody etc.

Franz von Schober said it so much better than I could (and Schubert set it so much better than I ever could):

Original German English Translation
Du holde Kunst, in wieviel grauen Stunden,
Wo mich des Lebens wilder Kreis umstrickt,
Hast du mein Herz zu warmer Lieb’ entzünden,
Hast mich in eine beßre Welt entrückt!

Oft hat ein Seufzer, deiner Harf’ entflossen,
Ein süßer, heiliger Akkord von dir
Den Himmel beßrer Zeiten mir erschlossen,
Du holde Kunst, ich danke dir dafür!

Oh gracious Art, in how many grey hours,
When life’s fierce orbit ensnared me,
Have you kindled my heart to warm love,
Transfigured me into a better world!

How often has a sigh escaping from your harp,
A sweet, a sacred harmony of yours
Thrown open the heaven of better times,
Oh gracious Art, for that I thank you!

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