Monday, September 13, 2010

A Flashback Friday (on Monday) Questions courtesy of Linda.

What role did music play in your growing up years? I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t some sort of music playing in the background of my life.

What, if any, music do you associate with early childhood? Swing: my mom ALWAYS had the radio on, tuned to KFAB Omaha in the mornings. Before they became a talk station, they played swing: The Mills Brothers (I’m gonna buy a paper doll that I can call my own…”), I can still hear the trumpets of a band whose name I can’t remember playing “Jesus Christ, Superstar,” but that was during my teen years. And “Who’s Sorry Now?” (Eddie Arnold, maybe?) , “Just Help Yourself” (Engleburt Humperdink?) I can still sing the “KFAB in Omaha” ditty, tho they don’t use it any more. From my very early childhood, I remember my sister and I standing on each side of Mom at the piano singing as she played. Some of the songs I remember: “Just Because”, “I Ain’t Gonna Take it Settin’ Down”, “He”, “I Love You Truly”, “You Are My Sunshine”, “Don’t Fene Me In”… I’m sure I’ll think of dozens more - right after I publish this post!

The other most important music of my childhood was the hymns we sang on Sunday morning. When I was aged 7-12 or so, I was a member of our church’s “Cherub Choir.” I think we sang once a month during Sunday worship and I don’t remember a single one of the songs we sang, but I remember the director; it was she who taught me that two different notes sung at the same time could sound pretty and it was called harmony. From that time on, I looked forward to singing hymns because I could read and sing the alto line. It wasn’t until later in my life that the words began to have an impact on my life and my faith. I’m glad I never stopped singing hymns.

What music style or songs were popular when you were in high school? I guess you’d have to call what I listened to lite rock. My faves were: Three Dog Night, Don McClean, Chicago, Simon & Garfunkel, Neil Diamond, The Mamas and Papas, John Denver, The Starland Vocal Band, Credence Clearwater Revival, BJ Thomas, Olivia Newton John, Janis Joplin… it was the 70s, y’know?

How did you listen to music - on the radio, albums, etc. Mostly on the radio. I had a few albums and started accumulating cassettes when I got out on my own. Now, I own way more cds than I have time to listen to. Which makes me wonder why I buy them? I still listen to radio more than the cd player.

Did you have a stereo in your room? I think what we had would have to be called record player, not a stereo. It played 78s (which we had only a couple of) 45s (a pretty good stack) and 33s. You could load 6-8 45s on it and it would automatically play one and then move the needle off while it dropped the next one. It had a feature where you could play the same 45 over and over, as long as you left the ‘arm’ up. I think I drove my brother crazy with it one day; he came stomping down the hall barking, “Is that the only record you’ve got!?”

Did you attend concerts when you were a teenager? During my 4 years of high school, we had a music teacher who would gather up a group of us several times during the summer, load us into his convertible (top down, of course!) and take us to free concerts at Memorial Park and other places in Omaha. I recall seeing a performance of the musical “Hair” at one of them. I remember a time we went to see a performance of “South Pacific” in an auditorium when a tornado siren sounded and they stopped the show, lined everyone up along the walls and the actors tried to keep everyone’s mind off the storm by singing. It didn’t work. We didn’t get blown away, but it sure was scary there for a while, mainly because they wouldn’t let anyone leave. And in spite of what they say, the show doesn’t always “go on.” They never did finish “South Pacific!” The same teacher took a bunch of us to a Chicago concert in 72 or 73. The Pointer Sisters were the opening band and when Chicago was done, we all held up matches or cigarette lighters until they came out for an encore. Yes, I had a lighter – I was a bad girl and smoked back then.

Another teacher took a bunch of us to see the movie “Fiddler on the Roof.” “How the West Was Won” and “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” were a couple of movies I actually paid money to see more than once. The old musicals are still my favorite movies to watch. The ones I recall are all so charming and clean and full of ‘happily ever after.’

Our high school marching band played Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4” at all the parades we marched in one summer. I remember playing “La Cucaracha” for all our summer gigs another time. Our director (the same music teacher mentioned above) kept us interested in music by having us learn to play and sing all the pop tunes of the day.

Did the music you liked cause conflict with your parents? If it did, I don’t remember getting into any arguments about it. I was pretty bullheaded, tho, so maybe we argued and I just went ahead and listened to what ever the heck I wanted to anyway.

What song or songs take you back to a certain place and time of your youth? There are a few songs that remind me of people I knew during my teen years who died very young. “Color My World” makes me think of a girl who died in a car wreck when she was 16. “Brian’s Song” reminds me of a girl who died of leukemia when she was 15. One Friday night, a few days after a particularly brutal accident that claimed four young lives, some of the girls on our ‘pep bus’ on the way home from a basketball game, (don’t tell the ACLU) led us in a prayer for the survivors and then we sang “When You Walk Through a Storm” from “The Man of La Mancha.” I think I could still sing it through from beginning to end. Chicago’s “Saturday In the Park” takes me back to my hometown Independence Day parade & fireworks show.


Jim said...

Good, Janell! Right away I liked reading about your mom listening to KFAB. My mom listened to WOW, even when they went CW.

I'm with you, I never did get to see 'Hair.' Most of the others you saw I did later in life.

In fact, we had similar tastes. My rock time I was older than you were but it was what I liked.

Mocha with Linda said...

What fun memories. The four-parr harmony is one of the things I miss most now that we use a screen instead of hymnals.