Have you ever wondered:
What if my great grandmother had bequeathed to me an iPod (suspend your disbelief for a moment) with songs that had inspired her?
What if she had annotated her musical mix with a sentence or two saying why these songs had been meaningful to her?
In short, what if she had told her story with a soundtrack to her life?
On the odds that I will someday be a great grandmother, and because I do have an iPod, I hereby bequeath to my children Part I of my soundtrack story (thanks to Spotify), the music which inspired me as a child, as well as my best-loved Christmas songs.
What songs were most meaningful to you as a child? Why?
Which Christmas songs do you cherish?
What if you were to create your own playlist and e-mail it to your children and grandchildren as a last minute Christmas gift?
SOUNDTRACK STORY: Childhood & Christmas
Do-re-mi — The Sound of Music, which I saw for the first time at San Jose's domed Century theaters next to the Winchester Mystery House, was the catalyst for my playing the piano. I still remember plunking out ‘do — a deer, a female deer' when I was three. Given that I have only two memories from when I was three, need I say more?
Melody — I played this by Robert Schumann at my first piano recital, around the age of 7. I loved to play the piano; playing well nurtured my growing sense of self.
Six Grande Etudes after Paganinni — My family listened to Andre Watts almost every Sunday; as an 8-9 year old, hearing Watts play (and also seeing him in concert) encouraged my dream of becoming a concert pianist.
Abide with Me, ‘Tis Eventide — As I sat in our chapel on Cherry Street late one Sunday afternoon, the singing of this hymn, stirred deep spiritual feelings within me. It is the first memory of this kind.
Everybody Wants To Be a Cat — The Aristocats was so real to my 8 year-old self. This particular song was rowdy, and happy, and tapped into a creative impulse which manifested itself in my sister and I making up dances. Remember the kind: carefree, uninhibited dances that only young children are capable of doing.
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year — Whenever I heard Andy Williams belting out this song, the Christmas season had officially begun.
Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker — My mother took my sister and I to San Francisco every year to see the Nutcracker when I was growing up. Even today, I thrill at the music which accompanies the Christmas tree growing and growing and growing. It was pure magic!
Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas — I could have chosen the entire Carpenters' Christmas Portrait, but this song best recalls the occasional longing I felt for home as a 21 year-old on a mission in Uruguay.
Vince Guaraldi's ‘Oh Tannenbaum' — If there is an album that most recalls our happy decade in Manhattan, it's this one. And because I still daydream about becoming Diana Krall's younger sister (musically speaking), ‘Oh Tannenbaum' is one of my favorites.
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day — Definitely my favorite Christmas song. When I sing “God is not dead, nor doth he sleep”, my heart swells with gratitude for the birth and life and death of Jesus Christ.