The power of music never seems to amaze me. I'll never forget some of my first experiences with music. Sitting in a peaceful room of the Sacred Heart Sisters convent, rehearsing Santa Lucia with a group of nursery school friends, preparing to perform on stage for all of our families. Or, sitting in my Nona's living room with my Godmother who presented me with a Fred Penner and Raffi album, while singing joyfully together. As a teen, I used music in a cathartic way, through playing and listening to a variety of genres. It wasn't until I became a young adult that I realized the impact these events had on me as a child, and ultimately influenced my path toward the study of music.
The other person who took these earliest experiences to the next level, was my dad. He had such a deep appreciation for music, which began at an early age as a refugee in Austria. Once he moved to Canada, he dabbled with the guitar for a short time, and sung in a church choir for many years. He could often be found sitting at the kitchen table with a newspaper in hand and the radio playing soft classical music in the background. In his later years, he took a real liking to bluegrass gospel music, and would burn the candle into the night watching episodes of Gaither Gospel (I have to admit, to my displeasure).
Even though my dad had a more passive relationship with music, it didn't stop him from recognizing it's profound ability to take us to another realm, or it's contribution to our wholeness as human beings. He often said to me when I wasn't up for practicing piano, "Anita - music will be something you can always use." He was right.
Whether through life's celebrations or trials, music is the back drop to my life. It's like water for me, and it connects me to something far greater.
I chose The Blue Danube Waltz by Austrian composer Johann Strauss II as a tribute to my dad. I was inspired when I danced with my students to this piece in a music class. I like to think my dad is peacefully watching the waters of the beautiful blue Danube.