By Chris Van Hof ~ Posted Mon, 01/12/2009 - 5:23pm
I have an addiction: The Detroit Tigers. But that's not what I'm writing about today, rather I shall write about another addiction I have: I peruse musician info pages on orchestra websites. I mostly want to find out what else orchestra musicians do besides play in orchestra. Sometimes I'm dissappointed ("I like to go to chamber music concerts" really? That's all?). Sometimes it's enlightening ("I compete in triathalons" way to go!).
But the item on these questionnaires about music that catches me is the one about the earliest musical memory. I think it's interesting to see if it relates to what instrument a person plays. Usually, I find no connection at all, which makes this segment of the blog posting rather pointless, doesn't it? But I write in stream-of-consciousness style, so sue me. One of these days, I'll edit.
As for me, I can clearly remember sitting on the organ bench in Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan with my Mom playing organ. I was probably six years old. Mom was a single parent, and gigged just about every Sunday at many churches arounf Grand Rapids, but Eastminster was one of the more regular destinations (a common question amongst my older sister, brother, and me was "what denomination are we this week?"). Since I didn't know the kids in the church, Mom would have me sit with her on the bench while she played, and I would draw during the sermons. I would turn pages sometimes, and get her music in order for the service (for some reason this interested me). The best part, though, was at the end of every hymn. Mom would point to a note on the organ's pedalboard--the root of the final chord--and have me pound down on it with the whole congregation singing. I felt such power! A little Dutch six-year-old making that huge 16-foot organ pipe blare forth for all to hear! What a way to spend a Sunday morning!
As I look back, I often think about those mornings, and the probable likelihood that is was that situation that made me a musician. It wasn't school, it wasn't trombone lessons, it wasn't going to concerts. It was that early experience of sheer joy and pleasure associated with making music. And to this day, I am still drawn to low sounds, big power chords, and window-shaking volume. For these reasons, I sincerely love reliving my earliest musical memories.
Take a minute, if you want, to share your earliest musical memory. Did it shape you as a person? Can you vivdly relive it? Was a singular event, or an ongoing occurance?