Guest column | Mary Partington

Sing your troubles away

I am always looking for the genie in the bottle or the leprechaun in the forest to grant my one true wish. I want to believe in reincarnation for just one reason. It is my fondest dream, my hearts desire: I wish I could sing.

To have the capacity to stand in the shower and croon a great melody would be joyful. To stand in church and sing a song of praise would make my life complete. Just once I would love to sing a lullaby to put a child to sleep.

According to music therapist Linda Esau, there are reasons to sing. Singing helps us connect with our body by releasing endorphins, the feel-good chemicals runners get when they run. Singing lets us let go of worry. Singing connects us to our body when we hum.

When we sing with others we connect in a deep way. Our feelings can be expressed when we sing. Best of all, singing can boost a feel-good feeling when we sing uplifting, celebratory songs.

I tried singing lessons once with a very kind and understanding teacher. I was told to practice at home, which I did. I bought one of those tuning things you see a chorus director use. I found it very difficult to even blow the note correctly and then I was expected to match that note. All this practice was done inside the room deepest in my house and only when I was sure the house was empty. It was a humbling experience.

Unfortunately, my lack of singing talent must be in my genes, since my children are no better than I. Pity the poor bystanders when we are celebrating a birthday in a public place and it is time to sing Happy Birthday. I would take up the kazoo but that also requires the ability to carry a tune.

There is evidence everywhere you look that our society is connected to music. The populace is plugged into its iPods. The most popular reality show, American Idol, is all about singing. The lyrics of some popular songs are blamed for the bad behavior of our youth. Concerts of singing sensations have huge ticket prices and are sold out in record time.

In this time of turmoil and uncertainty I think we need to sing. There are so many songs we could use to cleanse our souls of worry. We could start our day with Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin' and when we drink our coffee in the car on our way to work we could sing The Muffin Man. When we are stranded in traffic and our engine is burning our precious gasoline we should put in our favorite compact disc, turn it to top volume and sing our cares away. My favorite disc for stalled traffic is Elvis singing hymns. Just picture cars full of singing drivers; road rage would be a thing of the past.

Recently I commuted to Brooksville on a weekly basis and I listened to a country station. Now there is some music to get you moving. I am seriously thinking about taking line-dancing lessons. Country music is patriotic and heartfelt and it may be just what we need.

There is a 1952 movie about Jane Froman, a singer who was injured during World War II. Susan Hayward played Jane and the title song, With a Song in My Heart, was sung by Froman. I always get weepy when I see the movie. And for a goosebump experience there is nothing like Kate Smith singing God Bless America, particularly on a day like today, Independence Day.

While searching for patriotic songs I went to www.scoutsongs.com and I found the lyrics to a song without an author's name attached to it. I do not know the music but the words are so perfect for us at this time. It is called I Love You So, and here are the lyrics:

America, America

How can I tell you how I feel?

You have given me many treasures.

I love you so.

America, America

Land of hope and liberty

Freedom rings from every mountain,

From sea to sea.

Mary Partington lives in New Port Richey.

Sing your troubles away 07/03/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 1, 2010 2:18pm]

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