And Your Bird Can Sing
If you’ve ever been unlucky enough to sit beside me at a concert or live music night at a club, you know how horrible my singing voice is. I am an awful vocalist, somewhere between pubescent Peter Brady and a dying hyena. The worst part is, I know it. I’m not fortunate enough, like some of those early American Idol contestants, to think I’m good—I can actually hear the notes shrivel as they perish, but I’m simply unable to make my voice approximate a pleasant sound or proper pitch.
It’s not for want of trying. I auditioned, and made it, onto my middle school chorus, where we sang current Top 40 hits including smashes from Styx, REO Speedwagon, Billy Joel, Queen and Elton John (I know I just dated myself.) But it was a blast and a great way to ease ourselves through the years of pointy elbows, awkward slow dances and painfully changing voices.
If she couldn’t fix my voice, what music teacher and chorus director Norma Corwin did give me in 1980 was a solid education on the music of the Beatles. I had fallen in love with my mother’s copy of “Meet the Beatles,” but Mom didn’t follow the Beatles’ road through the later years, where I found many of the band’s jewels, thanks to Mrs. Corwin. I’ll be forever grateful for that tour through the music that would shape the rest of my life and provide a name for our son, Harrison. (Team George, all the way!) The death of John Lennon that year in the middle of his musical comeback was the first time I learned the world is capable of stealing our heroes without notice. It seems like yesterday.
So it’s with fond affection that I refer you to Katie Wagner’s piece on the choirs at Mt. Lebanon High School. Although Mt. Lebanon’s program is across the universe from the material we did at my school, it is making lifetime memories for its students, and simultaneously triggering the art and science deep within their brain wrinkles. No less than Plato said: “Music is a more potent instrument than any other for education, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.”
In the end, you will see—and hear—for yourself if you make it a point to attend any of the many district fine arts performances. Although, you might not want to sit next to me.
Laura Pace Lilley, Editor in Chief
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