August 2014 – Songs tell stories

Click here to hear “Ol’ Man River” from the musical “Showboat”…

There’s a famous quote attributed to an unknown author: “All it takes is one song to bring back a thousand memories.” The generation I work with the most seems to enjoy the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) station for catching up on old familiar movies and musicals. I recently walked into a client’s home as the booming bass voice could be heard from the living room singing, “Ol’ Man River” from the 1951 film of the acclaimed Broadway musical, “Showboat.”
A flood of memories came rushing back. As a child, my family went to a place in Clearwater, Florida, called the Showboat Dinner Theatre. Oh, the magic of sitting down and having your dinner while being transported through the mesmerizing world of a musical. I recall the shows, “Showboat,” “Music Man,” “The Sound of Music” and “Carousel” coming to life in front of my eager young eyes.
Tunes like “Seventy-Six Trombones,” “Pick-A-Little, Talk-A-Little,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “This Was a Real Nice Clambake” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone” are now indelibly in my memory. The songs not only recall a personal memory of where I was at the time and whom I was with but also take me back through the story of the musical to magical places. I’m a huge fan of musical theater. I was raised in a house filled with show tunes thanks to my mom and her theater friends. There is nothing quite like a tune from Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin or Lerner and Loewe to bring a smile.
It seems that no matter what situations life has presented, there is always a musical that has the answers. I see the power that current musicals have on our youth today. Thanks to animated movies, our children all know the words to “Let It Go” from the movie “Frozen.”
Musicals are timeless. Musicals use the songs to tell the story, which is a great analogy for a life lived with music. I can’t imagine my storyline without songs interspersed. What songs have shaped your life? What are your favorites? I’d love to hear from you and learn your story through music.