By Karen Wyman
For the first time in years, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Grammys this year. Perhaps it was the black tie dress code, or the fact that actual bands comprised of artists playing their own instruments are finally making a comeback (nothing beats listening to a live rhythm section), or maybe it was the sound of authentic human vocals without any hint of auto tune that piqued my interest. Whatever it was, it reaffirmed how strong my love of music is and how powerful its effect can be. How many of you can hear a song and actually have it “take you back” to a time and place? How many of you crank up your favorite beats when you need to be motivated, cheered up or inspired?
I realize that my personal love of music started in the womb. Music was a huge part of my childhood, and if a movie was ever made of my life the soundtrack would be awesome. Thanks to my Mom and Dad, I learned to appreciate music very early, especially rock and roll. To this day, hearing the guitar riff to the Rolling Stones’ “Honky-Tonk Woman” or to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” or to any Creedence Clearwater Revival song puts an instant smile on my face.
I was also lucky to be introduced to the wonderful sounds of Motown and to the girl supergroups of the fifties and sixties. I can’t remember a family car ride, vacation or gathering where music wasn’t involved. Like many other children of the seventies and eighties, I remember watching with my family in complete amazement as Michael Jackson did the moonwalk for the first time on television. A few years later, I also remember getting to stay up late to watch the world premiere of Michael’s “Thriller” video. Music was always the one thing we could all agree on, and it always brought us together.
In turn, I am trying to expose my girls to an eclectic variety of music as well, and it fills me with excitement when I see them dancing and singing along to a classic hit. They may not be able to recite the “Pledge of Allegiance” yet, but they can sing every word to Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” and to Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.”
As I think back to music and my daughters’ childhoods thus far, I can see that Williston has been a great venue for helping to instill the love of music in them. My husband and I used to wheel them in their wagon every Thursday night during the summer to the Groovin’ on the Green concerts at Maple Tree Place. They would bounce and clap to rock, country and even Irish music. As long as there was a beat, they were happy.
The library was also a huge contributor to this love with Miss Ellie’s Preschool parties and Music with Raphael. Some of their first steps were made toward Miss Ellie’s acoustic guitar! Seeing how strong their love of music was and their fascination with instruments, I also registered them in the CVU Access Program’s early music classes.
My husband and I will never forget the first time we brought them to the Fourth of July celebration at Allen Brook School. As soon as the DJ started spinning tunes, they took off to the dance floor and never wanted to leave. I love to see these events and more are still going strong today, including Music with Mr. Chris at Buttered Noodles and of course, the Brick Church Music series.
As I stood recently with my girls and husband at the sold out Boston Garden for a Justin Bieber concert, I couldn’t help but smile as I recalled my own parents taking me to see Poison at a young age. Everyone thought my parents were so cool! Hopefully my girls will think the same of me one day. For now, I am just thrilled to be able to enjoy and share all types of music with them.
One of my girlfriends sent me an e-card that definitely rings true: “Successful parenting is finding 80s hair band music on your kid’s iPod.” Finally the confirmation I needed—it is OK that when asked what their favorite band is, my girls say Poison and Def Leppard!
Thank you Williston for offering up so many ways to expose us all to different types of music. And to the powers that be who book the Groovin’ on the Green acts: just an FYI that many 80s hairbands are looking for gigs these days…
Karen Wyman has been a Williston resident for seven years, and lives with her husband and twin 5-year-old daughters.