I do not often get the chance to drink coffee from Starbucks. The town that I live in is dominated by Tim Horton’s coffee shops, and not a single Starbucks has taken up residence. When my coworker offered to get me coffee this morning, she brought me back a lovely cup of medium roast. Aside from the much needed caffeine, I appreciated the quote printed on the sleeve of the cup.
“Be more splendid. Be more extraordinary. Use every moment to fill yourself up.” ~ Oprah Winfrey
When I think of being filled up, I think of being filled with music. It is the first thought that I had when I read the quote. I love music. I have very eclectic tastes in music and like whatever moves me. In January, I was given a special opportunity to begin a new career with Orchestra London. I jumped at the chance because I would be fulfilling a lifelong dream of mine to be surrounded by music every day. One of the biggest regrets in my life was not being able to continue my studies in music when I graduated high school . I was offered scholarships even after graduating with 100% in grade 13, but I was actively discouraged. I feel lucky to be able to bring more music back into my life and to work with musicians, however indirectly on a daily basis.
In high school, I learned to play a number of instruments (piano, clarinet, oboe, tuba, saxophone, trumpet, bass clarinet) and I am teaching myself now, at the ripe old age of 44, how to play guitar and bass. I also sang in musicals and on stage on a few occasions in high school and university. I believe I will always be a band kid at heart.
I grew up on rural Eastern Ontario. We didn’t have a lot, with five children in the house. It was sometimes hard to compete with our different musical tastes to use the stereo. Like most teens living in the 1980’s, my evenings were filled with listening to the radio, making mixed tape recordings of my favorite songs. I would sit for hours, ear pressed to the radio, fingers on play and record, waiting for the right moment to press down. Sometimes the disk jockey would cut off the beginning or end of the song, but I didn’t care. It was the music that mattered most to me.
Throughout the years, songs have become markers along the road I have travelled on, no matter where my feet have taken me. I have vivid memories of the music I was listening to while laying in a hammock as the sunset along the Senegalese River (Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd) or the first song that made my oldest child get up and dance (Blister in the sun by The Violent Femmes) and without fail, a song will open the flood gates of memories about certain people who have touched my life in some way.
Music fills me, and although it has been quite a long time since I performed or sang in public, when I do in private, large parts of me pour out when I listen to songs. It is impossible for me to choose just three songs, which is part of the Writing 101 assignment today, especially when my music library holds close to five thousand songs alone… I can only say that I find myself in the breath between notes every time I hear them, and whenever I have the opportunity to listen to music, live or recorded, I am deeply grateful.