Music Makes It

It’s that time of year when everyone wants to reflect on what it is that they are grateful for. I have many things in my life that I’m thankful for—family, friends, jobs to pay the bills, a house, and my cats. But what about other things?

It was hard for me to narrow it down to just one thing to write about that I was grateful for this year. Writing came up as a possibility—but it can be a chore too. I considered the community theater I work with—but I already wrote about that recently.

And then it hit me. I was trying to narrow it down too much. I needed to hit a broader topic this month.

Music.

Music has always been a part of my life as far back as I can remember. Mom used to sing “You Are My Sunshine” to me. At Pop-Pop’s we’d sit on the plushy green carpet in the den and “Sing Along with Mitch.” One of my favorite memories though came early on from my Grandma Bassett. She sat me down on the piano bench in her living room and taught me two songs. One was a one-handed version of “Joy to the World.” I played it despite it being the Christmas season or not. The other song though—it needed both hands—and it focused on the intriguing black keys I had thought never seemed to be used enough when I watched Grandma play. The song even had lyrics to go with it:

I love coffee. I love tea.
I love boys and they love me.
Tell your mother to hold her tongue.
She had boys when she was young.
Tell your father to do the same.
He was the one who changed her name.

It was a fun little ditty to play, and I felt like I was a real musician playing it. I even remember demonstrating it at my first piano lesson with Mrs. Collins. She hadn’t been as impressed as I’d hoped she would be, and I was disappointed when we opened my crisp new primer and my first week’s lesson was a total of eight whole notes of middle C—four with the right hand and four with the left.

Still, once those baby lessons were over, I was eager to learn more music at piano, at choir at church, in music class with Miss McHale at school. It snowballed from there. Handbells, musical theatre, and rock ‘n’ roll after school. There was music for every situation and every mood. It solved problems and made the soundtrack to the memories I still treasure today.

Thank goodness for it. Not only did music give me confidence and happiness, but it became a part of everything in my life. Music has gotten me through—with the music line to bop along to when I was happy—with the lyrics that yanked at my heart when I was sad. I’m thankful I have it to enjoy. It’s shaped me in many ways, and I’m sure many ways are still to come.

Marcie Herman Riebe

Marcie is a bilingual caseworker by day, a university adjunct by night, and an aspiring writer at times in between. An import to NEPA, she has been active in the arts for many years from theatre to forensics to music. Her interest in the arts continues as founder of Ink, an area writer's group, a founding member of Voce Angeli (NEPA's only all-female chamber choir), and as a columnist for Thirty-Third Wheel. She loves all things Pittsburgh, particularly the University of Pittsburgh where she earned her Master of Arts in Linguistics. She lives in Scranton with her handsome husband, Pete, and their horde of cats: Napoleon, King Ajax, Sam, and Dean.

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