Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Caro mio ben...

Song for this post: "Caro mio ben" ~ Malena Ernman

I scored a free, upright piano for the new house! So excited.

Most of you know that I love to sing and play music. I've done both since I was very little. I took voice lessons for a long time too.  It's the source of some of my favorite childhood memories.  My foster sister and I always scheduled our lessons back to back so we could go together. We did everything together. I think that, if we lived close to each other, we probably still would.  No one is closer to me than she is.  She's been my very best friend since the 7th grade...and then she became my sister.  I'm 30 now so, you do the math.

Anyway, our voice instructor was named Betsy and she had this adorable little cottage in the country with a vw bus parked next to it.  She was beautiful and young and had an infant who was always present during lessons. She'd named her daughter Aria which, anyone who's studied music knows, is a short opera.

Betsy had married an Italian skateboarder named Vito. I remember him clearly because, of all of my adolescent pining, he was number 2 on a short list of "men 15 year olds think are super sexy."  He had long, platinum blonde dreadlocks, bright blue eyes, and that narrow, toned body that only skateboarders and soccer players seem to have. Betsy had dreadlocks too, dark brown ones that she'd tie up in a bandana. At every lesson she'd make us hot apple cider. Coryn and I would take turns through the lesson to warm up and train our voices and then we'd each practice the aria we were working on.  Coryn sang "Se tu m'ami." I was always difficult and kept changing songs. I tinkered with "Nina" for a bit. It's this sort of Godfather-esque tragic tune by Pergolesi. But I think I finally settled on "Pieta Signore." I always had a flare for the dramatic. 2 of our friends from our jazz choir studied with Betsy as well and sometimes we'd sit and listen to their sessions. We all knew each other's songs and would sing them together during our free time at school and on the bus on choir trips. Betsy would record our practicing and send us home with the recordings so we could review it over the week. When Coryn and I got home, we'd sit at the piano and practice again.

Once, when our parents' boss was visiting from Washington DC, they sat us at the piano to play for them.  We each got to play and sing and impress someone who was, as I found out later, an incredibly important and central figure at the Department of Defense.

When I think about music and playing and singing and training, my mind goes back to that period of my life. Things had been really tumultuous when I was a kid.  My own family had fallen apart at a really pivotal time in my upbringing.  Coryn's parents took care of me...they let me live with them and made me a part of their family. They showed me how a family should function at a time when I really needed to understand that. The time that I had in that house and in those lessons were warm and full of love and they serve as a template for how I hope to mold my own family someday.

Finally having this house with room for a piano is a good start to that. The house I'm moving into isn't just a house. It represents an idea.  It reminds me of my foster mother (God rest her soul) and of Betsy and of a really beautiful time in my life.

I'm going to use it to start teaching lessons.

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