Musical memories

There’s “The Rhythm of Life” from the musical “Sweet Charity,” which debuted on Broadway in 1966 — and “The Circle of Life” from the 1997 musical “The Lion King.”

History is full of music marking the times of our lives — whether serene, somber, soulful or celebratory. I got to thinking about my own musical journeys after learning of “Respect: A Musical Journey of Women.”

This perky performance featuring more than fifty “top 40” songs of the past 100 years takes to the Herberger Theater Center stage through Feb 12, 2011. Grab your girlfriends, your daughters, even your grandma — and go.

In the years following my mother’s death, I was especially moved each time I heard Bette Midler’s recording of “The Wind Beneath My Wings.”

I also think of my mom each time one of her own favorite songs, like Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer,” reverberates from my radio.

Certain songs call to mind particular times in my life.

Songs like “Mahogany” (from the 1975 movie) and “Wildflower” (first recorded by Skylark) seemed the perfect anthems for my teenage angst. 

Dan Fogelberg’s “Part of the Plan” was woven into a valedictorian speech I gave at graduation, and Bob Seger’s “Against the Wind” became a sort of theme songs as I got older and life became infinitely more complicated.

Even now, music is something shared with family and friends as a way to express our feelings for each other and our thoughts about the world around us.

For Christmas this year, my husband James gave me both Bruce Springsteen’s “The Promise” and a Bob Welch CD that opens with the track “Sentimental Lady.”

My son, Christopher, has long wished I would leave the digital “Dark Ages” and enter the magnificent modern age of mp3 players.

Perhaps one day I will — but only to record a sort of soundtrack of my life that might give my children more insights into their mom as not only parent, but also person.

I love to tell my kids about some of my favorite concert experiences, like the Springsteen concert James and I attended that opened with the Elvis classic “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” 

Or Jackson Browne’s Phoenix concert held the night before we’d all learn who had won the 2008 presidential election. More than a few hippies in the house found special meaning in songs like “Where Were You” and “The Drums of War.”

We’re an eclectic bunch when it comes to musical tastes. Jennifer favors country and Lizabeth loves Broadway. Christopher can’t get enough of the ’80s. I’m still stuck in the ’70s. And James is slightly less retro thanks to music of the ’90s.

It’s easy to take both people and music for granted. Make time during the post-holiday lull to enjoy music together — whether you’re making noisemakers with your children at a local musuem or attending a performance like “Respect: A Musical Journey.”

For music is the stuff that dreams, memories and journeys are made of.

— Lynn

Note: Local museums that routinely feature musical experiences for children and adults include the Arizona Museum for Youth, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, the Heard Museum, the Musical Instrument Museum and more.

Coming up: Meet more “Stage Moms”

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