Turnging Anger to a Song
My mother remembers the thrill of hearing her mother sing beautiful Norwegian songs while doing housework. She tells me her mother's mother had a beautiful voice as well. I have precious memories of hearing my mother "singing away the blues" at the piano during times of family crisis and despair. It is no wonder that vocal music plays such an inspiring, joyful and healing part in my life.
As I write this article, poignant memories crowd in on me. I see myself at twelve, singing joyfully in the church choir and I feel the sense of acceptance and admiration I received for my contributions. I remember myself at twenty-one, spontaneously making up children's songs for my three who giggled with pleasure. I recall the exhaustion of long car trips and marathon sing-a-longs with the children (who never seemed to tire). Then there are the joyful looks on the faces of my mentally handicapped students as I played my guitar and sang for them. I can still feel the excitement of singing at political rallies during the 1960s in the States and the fear I felt when our Peace Center was bombed. I still sense my grim determination as I sung on the street corners of Victoria in the '70s to supplement our welfare income. All of these experiences have a common thread: I'm using the music to help me through difficult times and as a way of communicating my values to others.