I’m Back – a Note of Gratitude!

Hello Friends! I’ve really missed you. The last five months have been – overwhelming, uncertain, worrisome, scary, aggravating, all-consuming, and so much more. As musicians, librarians, educators and parents we’ve been personally affected in different ways, but as a society, we’ve all struggled with how do I do my job now? How do I schedule my day? How do I meet all my commitments? Or, what do I do now that my commitments have disappeared? And, how casual is too casual for yet another Zoom meeting?

As I’ve mentioned before, I work in the Youth Services department in a public library. When we closed to the public at 6:00 pm on March 16, we truly believed we would be back in the building by April 1. Oh, what a surprise this virus had in store for us. Our challenges have included – how do I change my job from one that was based very heavily in in-person customer service, to one that had to be done exclusively online and completely from home? And not only from home, but without any of the resources I would normally have. And how do I prove my “worth” when I am not seen? Of course, just as we were really hitting our stride in the virtual world, it was time to think about returning to work. The struggle then was not only how do we go back to work safely, but how do we feel safe at work? And finally, how do we welcome the public back into the building in a way that is safe for all? Needless to say, these things took up much more of my brain space than I expected and Kids Rhythm and Rock had to take a backseat for a while.

One of the things that has sustained me all these months though is music. To relax, I listen to music from the 1980s. Mostly for nostalgia and just because it makes me happy. During our “current normal” (a phrase that a co-worker threw out the other day in lieu of “new normal”) I haven’t just been listening to music, I’ve been thinking a lot about it. This made me realize that there have been many, many factors in my life that have fostered a love of music, so I thought now would be a good time to share those and to say thank you. So, THANK YOU:

  • to my parents who listened to classical music and Broadway recordings. Who, even when times were tight, took us to symphony and community band concerts and local musical theater productions.
  • to my parents again who encouraged me to explore music (I think in the hopes of overcoming my extreme shyness). From a children’s music class at the local college, to buying me a teal recorder on which I taught myself the chorus to “Watch Out for Goofy!” (from Mickey Mouse Disco, one of my favorite kids albums) to cutting up an old broom handle so that I could practice my lummi stick skills at home, my parents never said no to affordable musical ventures.
  • to the public schools in my home town who supported band, choir, and orchestra. Because of them I was able to experience the joys of playing the cello beginning in fifth grade.
  • to Dr. Copenhaver at Grand Valley State University who gave little ole me a small music scholarship even though I wasn’t a music major or minor. One of the requirements of the scholarship was that I had to take weekly cello lessons. During these lessons, I didn’t just learn about playing the cello, I also received a big dose of music theory.
  • to my university who allowed me to take a voice performance class as an elective even though I still wasn’t in the music program and to the marching band who let me, a member of the color guard, take band for credit which meant I had to play an instrument during concert season – let me introduce you to my mad triangle skills.
  • to my Gran. Her record collection introduced me to crooners like Perry Como and Andy Williams as well as the crazy bass vocals in the classic country hit “Elvira” by the Oak Ridge Boys.
  • to MTV. I was a teen during the golden age of MTV when you couldn’t stream music and videos online. If you wanted to know what the Top 10 videos of the week were, you had to sit through the whole countdown. And it’s because of this lack of instant gratification, that my appreciation for a diverse range of musical genres grew. If it hadn’t been for MTV, would I, a shy girl from a small town in Michigan, have known who Public Enemy, Motley Crue, Aerosmith, TLC, and Lisa, Lisa & Cult Jam were? Would just listening on the radio have made me a fan of Nirvana, Amy Grant and The Red Hot Chili Peppers?
  • to YOU. Those who are making children’s music, who are promoting children’s music and who love and support children’s music.

I learn so much from all of you. Thank you for continuing to make such wonderful, entertaining, educational, impactful music. I have a big stack of albums that have come out this year just waiting for me. I’m ready to dive back in now and look forward to giving them all a listen.

Thank you! You’ll be hearing from me again real soon.

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