Ode to Joy

On a clear spring day, we can sit on our front porch and hear notes from a bagpipe drifting over the trees in Erb Park. Our tall, red-headed neighbor Steven likes to practice there.

Once, on a cold winter night, my husband Vince and I sat outside our house and listened to a our oldest son Charlie’s high school choir, who crammed into our family room and sang until their cheeks turned pink. For the price of a few cases of Ting we enjoyed such a beautiful, joyful concert that we kicked ourselves for not thinking to share the experience with our friends.

On hot summer days just down the road from our house, we stationed ourselves strategically and waved to our own wilting tuba players and sweaty clarinetists during annual parades.

Last week, Molly and the rest of her young strings trio gathered in our living room and practiced their solo and ensemble festival piece while the rest of us sat around our dining room table and pretended not to listen.

Every evening, prodded by her stern but sweet piano teacher Mrs. Chang, Molly plays the piano. Sometimes she practices too.

Our life in this house with these children and their friends has been wonderfully amplified by music, ordinary moments sweetly underscored by unexpected tunes.

In addition to piano, our children have played a wide variety of instruments including: ukulele, baritone ukulele, baritone horn, clarinet, flute, guitar, bass guitar, violin, viola, tuba, recorder, didgeridoo and harmonica.

Their friends have gathered to make music in every corner of our house, from the basement to the roof, and some of our happiest times have come from listening to them jam.

Because the music came unbidden to our house, I think we appreciate it more. We are not musicians ourselves, and did not anticipate that our children would be.

But all four of them know the joy of a well-played melody and we’ve been grateful, if sometimes stealth, audience members.

Charlie and his choir gathered for an alumni party in our family room. We had to open the windows for air, which meant we could hear the concert on our porch. Beautiful!
Vinnie and his fellas jam in our living room. We can't wait to get them back this summer!
I wasn't kidding about the didgeridoo! Here my little niece gives it a whirl.
Lacking music stands, Molly's little trio practiced with their backs to us.
Molly and her cello.
Molly, Karma and Lexi nervously wait before playing Minuet in G at the solo and ensemble competition.


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