Last night, in the middle of the downpour in Dallas, my wife dragged the Princess and I kicking and complaining to a special concert of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. It was one of those things… a Friday night after a long, hard week… tired bodies and aching arthritis… and she only gave us one day’s notice that she was going to do it. But we couldn’t waste the tickets once they’d been purchased. And the star of the show was Ashley Brown whom we’d seen in the Broadway version of Mary Poppins when it came to Dallas at the theater in Fair Park.
I don’t normally associate the DSO with Broadway musical music. I tend to think Tchaikovsky and Beethoven. But it couldn’t have been a fairer treat as a compensation for yielding to wifey’s whims. Ms. Brown was vocal-tastic and utterly spell-binding as she sang “The Bird Woman” from Mary Poppins, and a toe-tingling medley of Disney songs that reached a tear-inducing crescendo with “When You Wish Upon a Star.” Several songs by themselves would have made the evening totally worthwhile, but she topped the evening off with a rendition of “Defying Gravity” from Wicked. And it all helped me realize that I need music practically as much as I need air to breathe. Music is life.
Part of what made the week so difficult was driving kids to and from school and events with rainy weather soaking the furious flying idiots on the roadways of Dallas as they barrel along in their Warp-10 wasp rockets and SUVs. I constantly flip on the radio to the local Classical Music Radio Station, 101.1 FM. The healing effects of classical music make me able to cope with maniac drivers and suicidal killer Texas grandmothers driving. It calms me down and makes me sharper for dodging all those drivers who are driving the “Texas Friendly” way, which means, “Kill them before they kill you!”
“When You Wish Upon a Star” was the song I sang every night to all three of my babies as I rocked them to sleep. The essential message of that song was the milk I tried to nourish my children on. “When you wish upon a star/ Makes no difference who you are/ When you wish upon a star/ As dreamers do./ No request is too extreme/ If your heart is in your dreams/ When you wish upon a star/ Your dreams come true.” It’s a goopy, sentimental thing, I know. But I have to believe in the fundamental goodness of being a human being on planet Earth. We are where we belong and good things find you when keep faith with the wish and the star.
So I am grateful that my family forced me to go to the symphony last night. It is the “spoonful of sugar” that I need to make my way in a world that is increasingly hard to deal with and ever more painful. I depend on music to keep me alive in so many ways, physical, emotional, and spiritual. It makes me wish that I could write music. But hopefully my writing becomes music in some obscure way. The truth is beautiful and I love the sweet musical sound of it.