I wrote this note last year pre-blog and thought of it today: the eve of another glorious viewing of the best musical in the universe! I am so thankful to Peter and Robin for inviting Mike and me to come down and watch it with them in Indianapolis. You guys are da bomb!!!
What would the world be without music? I don’t want to know. Add it to anything and that thing is made better. Like movies/stories + music…the musical! Favorite movie of all time: The Sound of Music. When the small Korean community would gather together in my rural Tri-State area, the adults would all sing songs and play “yoot” till the wee hours while the kids were stuck downstairs watching The Sound of Music. It was the first movie I memorized. MEMORIZED…not just the lyrics of songs, but the words in between and even the motions. Thus began a lifetime of musical appreciation.
Growing up in a small town, I remember my mom always looking for ways to broaden and enrich what might not be readily available otherwise. She drug me to classical concerts and plays at Marshall University at a young age, and I remember daydreaming through much of Mozart wondering when the torture would end. My school had great teachers but lacked some of the resources that would be second nature to competitive schools found in urban settings. For example, we did not have a single AP course in high school. Not one. Anyways, my mom was always finding ways to challenge us. We had to do workbooks that she bought at the local school supply store, take classes at community colleges, and were sent away to “nerd camps.”
One such nerd camp was by the Center for Youth Talent/Development. If you took and scored decently on the PSAT in middle school, you could spend a summer taking a class on participating college campuses. Our regional camp was at Northwestern University. Off I went to Evanston for 2 summers. My first summer taking Pascal computer programming (does that even exist anymore?) was spent living on a floor of 2nd-summer friends. We met in our counselor’s room for a floor meeting, and she excitedly told us she had a big, wonderful surprise for us. She and the co-counselor for the guys on our floor were able to get permission to take us all downtown to see….”!!!!” All the girls shrieked with excitement and were hugging and celebrating their great fortune. I just remember smiling because obviously this was something awesome, judging by my peers’ reactions, but I was confused. What the heck was “Lame as a Rob?”
Later, someone had to educate me on the novel turned musical that was in its early years of Broadway production and had come to Chicago then: Les Miserables. My current aged, mommy-fried brain has little to no memory. I have a hard time remembering what I did yesterday. However, I can clearly recall sitting in the balcony, utterly captivated for 3 hours which felt like 3 seconds. It is permanently ingrained in my mind and will always be the world’s best musical to me. Mike, who also shares an appreciation for musicals, thinks all you need is good music. Music is key and even essential, but to me it is the means that depends greatly on the story it is telling. Hopefully some day I can manage to make it through the 1,000+ unabridged pages of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece again because it moved me in a way no other fictional work of genius has.
When I got the email that the 25th anniversary production of Les Mis was coming after years of not running, I got giddy and knew I had to go with a fellow Les Mis lover (no, not Mike who despite his great intelligience does not seem to share my enthusiasm and is thus unworthy of attending, over which he has cried no tears). Feb. 17th, baby! Since the tickets were booked, I’ve been spontaneously bursting into song. Thanks, Mom, for being the doorway to a broadened, enriched life!
There has been more spontaneous bursting into song these days. (Poor Mike and the boys.) “One day more!!”