Music, music, music...


By Rita Friesen

The power of music is a mystery. It can set a mood, destroy a mood or enhance a mood. For those of us who have grown up in the church, one of the fist little songs we learned was “Jesus Loves Me”.  Not every hymn book today contains these words, but I know, if you have the opportunity to sing with our friends in care facilities, the residents all know the words and love to sing along.

For nursery rhymes, it is a toss up, for me, between “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “Mary Had  A Little Lamb”. There is a generation following me that knows best Barney’s “I Love You, You Love Me”. I am certain that Mr. Rogers may have a had a theme song but I wasn’t actively engaged with watching him!

 It’s no secret that I am not a country western music fan, but, I appreciate the work of Johnny Cash and Don Williams. Not Hank Williams. To my uneducated ear, these artists are of a calibre that transcends genres. And, of course, I am overly fond of the sounds produced by the local musician, Ed Friesen! In the still of the night, our home is filled with songs Ed recorded a decade or more ago. Not keen on “The Streets of Laredo” but pause to listen when “Daddy’s Hands” is broadcast.

Sunday’s music is a tad different. We, every couple of Sundays, allow the majestic music of Handel’s Messiah sweep over us. Even here we have our favourites. The piece that includes the phrase, “comfort ye my people,”  is one, and the soaring “Hallelujah” chorus has even me singing along.

 For several years we purchased season tickets to the Winnipeg Symphony, especially if Brahms or Beethoven were featured performances. I acknowledge that symphony arrangements aren’t for everyone. One year we invited another couple to join us for the Messiah. The wife was swept away by the grandeur of the music, and her husband counted all the light fixtures, estimated the seating capacity, and sundry other similar diversions occupied his time!

 There is a marvel in the blended voices of choirs. Witness the attendance at the local annual Christmas concert. Professional choirs, community choirs, gifted accompanists or a cappella. Those present are filled with joy and the mood for the season is set. 

 I have come a long way. I used to wait until I was out in the field with the sound of the tractor filling the air before I raised my voice in song. (Unaware that my voice carried above the hum of the motor!) Now, if I am moved to sing, I sing. Not record setting sound, but neither does the glass shatter! Music can calm, encourage and inspire. Needed gifts, warmly received.