In our small community it is truly the kind of place where people really do know their neighbours, and help one another. Last night there was an Open Mic fund raiser for a young couple who have a little one in hospital, a new born who is just weighed just three pounds. We all came together as a community, and had this event, that was well attended, with some of us local entertainers, and folks from away who came out too. It was a grand time to get out after a long hard Winter, and there was a good amount of money raised. There are regular monthly Open Mics through out the Summer months, and are great celebratory, joyous, and fun gatherings.
Before arriving at last night's event, I picked up my 88 year old friend Lil. We had practiced a song the day before, that we would perform together. She is very musical, plays piano, guitar, and has been a singer all of her life. She is a great inspiration to me, and I know also to others. On our way over to the building, she and I had a talk about music, and how powerful it can be. We both agreed that music can sustain and transform our lives. It not only brings community together, it heals, helps and is great fun to boot.
My wise friend said something to me last night that I have been reflecting on. She said, "Don't ever give up on your music, because it will be your salvation as you get older, and will keep you going." It was very obvious to me, this is just what has happened to her. Over the past year or so, Lil has been attending these Open Mics and it has been such a transforming blessing to her, and especially to those of us who are younger and aging.
My dear friend Lil, (we call her Diamond Lil) made me think about my own mother, who was a singer, and how after playing piano and the organ all of her life, music was always her joy. In her later years she developed macular degeneration causing the loss of her most of her visual ability to read music. Although my mother never really played by ear, and always depended on reading sheet music, when she lost her sight she adapted, playing music by ear, from this point onward.
The music was my mother's soul, and she was able to remember all her favourite tunes. She played her piano every day up until she died. She always had gratitude and never dwelt on the difficulties in life. I think her love and appreciation for the joy and beauty that music brings, gave her great strength, comfort, and happiness. Music is a transformational, a life affirming gift, and a blessing we are all given if we are open to receive it.