The trending video of Garth Brooks singing “the Dance” to cancer battler Teresa Shaw that hit 4.5 million views last night (an embarrassing number of which were me), speaks eloquently to the contagious power of music and the infinite strength of the human beings who both make and enjoy it.
Music creates bonds in unlikely places, turning immense auditoriums into intimate salons and leveling the distance between performer and fan.
In this house, where didgeridoos, cellos, ukuleles and bass guitars lie strewn across the back corner of our living room, and a tiny child’s piano stands proudly next to real piano badly in need of a tuning, we celebrate music every day.
We are not gifted musicians. Honestly, we are not even very good. But, thanks to music, we’ve enjoyed a heart-swelling soundtrack through all of our triumphs and challenges.
I once picked my sister Jenny up for a 12-hour road trip to visit our dying grandma. Jenny jumped in the car toting Kris Kristofferson’s Me and Bobby McGee CD, which I’d formerly only heard on eight-track tape, and then she genuinely indulged me as I belted out every tune while we rolled through Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
My kids will always remember our car trips out west where their father played the theme song from the Magnificent Seven on a loop as we made our way through the badlands.
My son Charlie played football with one of only college teams in the country that sang its own fight song, “Um Ya Ya!”
I sang Karen Carpenter’s “Close to You” with a complete stranger in the check-out line at Piggy Wiggly last Tuesday night and we both left that grocery store with smiles on our faces.
When my college roommate Trish and I sang “Please Celebrate Me Home” with Kenny Loggins during a Milwaukee concert in 1986, we felt like we were the only three people in the room. I felt the same connection to Sir Paul McCartney when he played Miller Park in 2013.
Music transcends generations and provides a global language. The crescendo of its significance in all our lives continues to build.
I wasn’t in the Target Center last Friday night for Garth Brooks’ sold out concert, but I feel like I was. I’d like to say this to him and every other musician brave enough to share: thank you.