The Recital

One icy December evening found my wife and me traveling through central Wisconsin to the Juneau County Historical Society’s Boorman House Museum in Mauston. We were on a mission; to hear our grandson perform “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”, “Jingle Bells”, and “Good King Wenceslas” at his piano recital.!cid_part1_09020503_03080600@attI grew up with music being a big part of my life and it was nice to know it would live on. I remember my grandmother playing piano and organ at church, giving piano lessons in her home and teaching me and my brothers and sister songs when we’d visit. Her father, my great grandfather was the choir leader in his church at Hillsboro, Kansas. My early childhood memories include watching my Mom giving voice lessons and piano lessons in our home, and watching her lead the singing at church. My Mom even played keyboards and piano in her church’s praise band in her 80’s. My brothers and sister and I all sat on the piano bench, taking piano lessons and then went on to band instruments, guitars and other instruments.Music and musical instruments played a big role in the Bible first being mentioned in Genesis 4. Seems a guy named Jubal is the father of all who play flutes and stringed instruments it says there. And music has always been used in the worship of our majestic Creator. We arrived a few minutes early and were invited to wander through the museum and look around. The rooms were filled with all sorts of interesting things and artifacts including furniture and toys from years gone by and more than enough creepy looking dolls. I became even more nostalgic when I found an old AM radio set. On one side of the radio I found a QSL magazine from 1923 which made me think of my brothers and my Dad, reading their own ham radio QSL magazines. On the other side of the radio was an electronics course from the 1930’s. Lessons included how a vacuum tube works and the illusive Ohm’s law. I never could figure that one out.Before we could go through the whole house it was time to assemble to three connecting rooms downstairs with the middle room containing the upright piano. The spunky lady piano teacher welcomed us all, parents and relatives of the performers. And she advised us that earlier they had found evidence of a squirrel nesting in the piano. So, she warned if we heard some clunky notes or worse, saw the still at large squirrel run through we were to try not to panic.So cautiously we stood with one eye watching for the squirrel and with the other we tried to peer into the sitting room to see the young performers, each holding a song book or two, dressed up, nervous and anxious to get their performance behind them. Beginning with the youngest they began playing Christmas tunes with varying degrees of skill and bravado. One exquisitely dressed young lady timidly played her last song, “Up on the Roof Top” quietly, but without missing a note, smiled demurely and quickly departed the piano bench. Another girl played with great gusto a version of “Joy to the World”. Once or twice her fingers so full of confidence hit a wrong note and yet her smile never left her face, nor did her proud demeanor sag.Finally my grandson, the only boy, played his three songs. He did well and enjoyed the attention and applause. His parents and his grandparents sighed with collective relief as he slipped off the piano bench with great ease and the next student sat down to play.But I couldn’t leave. My eyes were mesmerized by these young musicians as they performed. I strained to see their fingers on the piano keys and to watch their posture and concentration. I enjoyed their earnest desire to provide entertainment for us all and to set the mood for the evening and for the season. And I thought of all the musicians in the world. Many musicians, myself included, started out at the piano keyboard learning to find the familiar middle C. Middle C it seems is the first stop in many a musical career.Some, like me never go very far on the piano. We switch to different instruments and taking the basic lessons of notes and scales and clefs with us we move on to stringed instruments, or woodwinds or reeds or percussion.Those of us who have a desire to be in the world of music find we must work to acquire musical knowledge and skill. And one day the hours of memorization and practice will show. I still remember after playing with my band in the 70’s an older man coming up to me and saying, “Man! You sure can play that guitar!” 10405475_10203263921825426_6282557657147549412_nAnd I thought of how music plays such a big part in our lives. Most of us have a favorite song or two or three. What would Mayberry be like without a whistled melody accompanied by the guitar? What would “Jaws” be like without the shark attack music? Music puts us in the proper mood for seasons of life as they come and go. Music helps us focus and define our emotions. We use music to celebrate, to mourn, to reflect and to worship. Music can be lofty and other worldly or it can be a corny or smutty ditty, sung by school boys when the teacher is absent. But I think the greatest thing we can do with music is worship our great Lord and Savior.My mind was so full of varied thoughts and ideas about life and music but all of a sudden the last performer was sitting down to the piano. I could see her Mom peering intently from behind a door frame and as she played. I could see her father helping her keep time by nodding his head. Their pride and joy reminded me of the times we sat in piano recitals, band concerts and vocal choir performances of our four children. From the time our grandson’s mother played “Clowning Around” on the piano for a 4H skit to the time we watched our son play his trombone at his middle school spring concert and so many other times before and after we enjoyed sharing their music.Music has now moved to another generation and I was glad I was able to watch Samuel, my grandson play with skill and excitement at one of his first piano recitals. It made his Papa proud.2 Chronicles 5.12 (The Message)…The choir and trumpets made one voice of praise and thanks to GOD—orchestra and choir in perfect harmony singing and playing praise to GOD…

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