Wednesday, March 25, 2009

a special day

(a little musician with a maraca)

It is a special day for all of us. This morning my husband took the kids to my parents place, where our son will be spending the night. Our son was So excited this morning when we told him that Grandma and Grandpa had invited him to come spend the night. He has absolutely no problem being without us when he's over there. We become irrelevant when Grandma is around! Our daughter and I will get an evening all to ourselves while my husband goes to a concert. One of our very favorite musicians, Canadian folk singer Garnet Rogers, is going to be a few towns away tonight! We have seen Garnet several times in concert, and he's just wonderful. I would love to go, but I'm just happy that we worked out a way for my husband to go. He's really excited to get to see Garnet again - and to get a night out by himself. I had considered trying to do the evening at home on my own, but we decided that it would be a miracle if I was able to get both kids in asleep before midnight without loosing my sanity. So, sending our son to my parents place is probably the safer way to get my husband an evening to himself.

Garnet Rogers is one of those people I just want to hug and have as my own personal musician. When I was little I was around a fair bit of music, but very different music than my husband was around in his childhood. I was exposed first hand to Appalachian folk music. My mom played the mountain dulcimer (and for a while she too fiddle lessons), and my dad played the guitar - both played just for fun, but we were often around groups of people playing music for fun. We listened to a lot of world music, and some of my favorites were (and still are) Celtic music and Afropop that my dad had recorded off of National Public Radio. I have very fond memories of sitting in the dark (we did not have electricity) with my dad, listening to Afropop on the radio and watching the little lights on the radio move with the music. Even though we did not have a lot of money, my parents took me to concerts in a nearby town where we saw Celtic, Peruvian, Canadian, and other traditional musicians. It was wonderful exposure for a kid! Often I got to talk to the musicians and I remember Garnet Rogers commenting on the maple leaf necklace that I was wearing one time when we saw him in concert. When I was in junior high and high school I still listened to a very eclectic music selection and didn't care for a lot of the music on the radio. I have always felt a strong draw toward traditional and folk music. I like music with a good story, a good beat, heartfelt music, music that makes me move, music that makes me think, music that makes me bounce on my ball, music that touches my soul. When I listen to music while working I prefer international music sung in a different language so that I'm not distracted by listening to the words and instead just hear the voices.

But, I am not a musician. Not at all. I love music. I love good music. I love people sitting around pickin. But I can't do it. I can't sing, I can't hold a beat well, I'm just plain not musical. When I tried to play the clarinet in high school I was sent to the porch and the sheep gathered around. I think they thought I was an animal in distress. So I'll just listen to other people make good music. My husband on the other hand is a musician. Flute. Piano. Guitar. Good ear for music. Can pick up just about any instrument and make nice sounds. But his exposure to music was different than mine. He had been around the more formal music scene, with lessons starting at a very early age, music talent completions, high school concert band, impressive classical pieces, playing at church, music scholarships for college, etc. By the time he reached college he was kind of burnt out with being pushed in music. He chose a different path in college - which I'm glad of since that's how we met. ;) Music is a part of him, but he needed a different type of music.

In the years since we met he has developed a strong interest in folk music. In addition to the piano and flute, he now has a hammered dulcimer, mountain dulcimer, and recently a new guitar. He is enjoying freedom from "performance" pieces and refocusing on letting music be an outlet for himself.
But back to Garnet Rogers... My family became huge fans of Stan Rogers when I was little. Stan had such a wonderful voice and his songs tell such poignant stories. I distinctly remember the first time I heard "Tiny Fish for Japan" in the car with my parents. Stan died tragically of smoke inhalation in a airplane fire (on the ground) in 1983 when he was only two years older than I am now. Garnet is Stan's younger brother. Both Stan and Garnet's music really touches me. In college I used to lie on the floor and listen to Stan's "The Field Behind the Plow" (there is a link on this page to listen to the song) before exams. That song put it in perspective for me and helped me to relax and find peace at stressful times. My husband now shares my appreciation for Stan and Garnet's music. It seems that for every stage of our life there is a song by Garnet that speaks for us. So, I am glad that my husband will get to see Garnet in person tonight, and I know that he will want to practice his guitar even more after hearing a great musician speak through his music. Maybe my daughter and I will put on a good CD this evening while we play at home.

(my other little musician playing the dulcimer in Oct 2007)


  1. Wow the first overnight! How exciting! Having a girl's night will be fun! Enjoy!
    Chelle from Creative Thoughts by Chelle