“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ― Plato
Every year Trude and I take our Boston-based grandkids, Graham (10) and Elinor (7), to the Bainbridge Island 4th of July parade during their three-week summer vacation. After they did the Fun Run with their mom, dad and Aunt Jamie, we waited in beach chairs in front of Island Fitness. The adults were armed with sun block and hats; the kids held small colorful plastic buckets eagerly anticipating the candy that would be thrown by parade participants.
I’ve always been partial to parades. In the seventies, I played the clarinet in a marching band and Trude was in the drill team. We performed in several cities including Los Angeles, San Diego, and Fujinomiya, Japan. I also helped organize the Hawaii pre-bicentennial and New York bicentennial parades. So, I particularly liked the local Bainbridge High School musicians and flaggers and the singer’s beautiful rendition of the National Anthem. I think the grandkids’ favorite was the energetic award-winning West Sound Chorus Barbershop Quartet. Their booming harmonies lit up everyone’s faces as they rolled by.
Listening to the parade performances with thousands of other island residents created a positive shared experience. It evoked in me significant musical memories like Leaving on a Jet Plane when Trude and I left home in the sixties and Stevie Wonder’s Isn’t She Lovelyon cassette tape during the birth of our older daughter.
“Where words fail, music speaks.” ― Hans Christian Andersen
Watching my grandkids enjoy the parade caused me to reflect on the impact of music on children’s behavior and social interactions. That’s why I believe we should imbue our music with a spirit of optimism and possibility as opposed to nihilism and despair. Hopefully, musicians will continue to support events such as community parades and festivals to influence society in the direction of peace and compassion. Now that’s something to march about!