Last weekend I watched a movie on television. That is something that I do not often do, but I had heard this movie advertised and wanted to see it. When I noticed it on television I decided it was cheaper to purchase it that way rather than go to the movies or to buy a DVD.
The movie was “I Can Only Imagine.” It was very good. The best part was that it was a true story about the author of the song and the relationship with his father. I first heard this song on Family Life Network (FLN). If you are not familiar with that station check on the Internet for how the station comes to your area or simply listen on the Internet. There is always great Christian music available and no advertisements.
While I watched the movie, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the man’s voice. I should not have been surprised because I had listened to his music, but they always enhance that. When he sang “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” from “Oklahoma!” I was blown away. That is a beautiful song with so much meaning to it.
When I was in high school we sang many of the songs from “Oklahoma!” I knew them by heart. I was part of the high school chorus for four years. When we did the large production numbers the band played the songs, the chorus sang them, and there were a group of dancers who interpreted them. It was ever so much fun. I was lucky enough to have had a duet from “Oklahoma!” that I sang with a young man that was a minister’s son from my hometown. Bob had a wonderful voice and I guess our voices blended well. Although he was a senior and I was a freshman he was very nice to me.
While I was part of that group we took our production on the road so to speak. We traveled to various out of town high schools to perform. We even got into New York City. Music was a big part of my development. Now days it is hard to fit in the basics much less the arts. The arts were an outlet that was valuable to me. It was my friend base and that was very important.
I recently talked with my grandson who is off to college. He chose to participate in the marching band at the school he is attending. That was a smart move on his part since it meant he had instant friends to pal around with. It made the transition away from home easier since right away he was busy.
After watching the movie, that sent me scrambling to find my copy of “Oklahoma!” on DVD. I also have the album on vinyl so that I can listen to it that way. It was a trip down memory lane. I relived my days of being in the chorus and singing those songs. I actually have a set of four musicals that we sang songs from so there are still three more movies for me to watch and remember.
The words to “I Can Only Imagine” are wonderful. The music is lyrical. It won some awards when it was first introduced and is still a powerful song. Some music is like that. It inspires you. That is the kind of music that I look for.
My husband and I had a running argument about how songs become popular. He maintained that the words were the key to the song. I maintained that it was the music that drew people in. In some cases, I guess we were each right. This song has it all. If you have not seen this movie I highly advise that you look for it. It is well worth your time to watch it. The young man struggled with an alcoholic father who was mean when he was drunk. It took years for that young man to come to terms with his experiences of growing up that way. His producer at one point told him to go home. There was something that he needed to do there.
A little boost for the arts. Arts are an important part of development. Some children struggle with the basics while they excel in the arts. Every child deserves to be able to experience that sense of well-being. We cannot simply remove the arts from the curriculum, they are a saving grace for some students.
I recall sitting in on a class done by on artist-in-residence. I was producing an article for the newspaper so I needed to see how the artist taught. I watched one student in particular who I knew was struggling with the basic curriculum. He was a whiz at following that artist’s directions and came out with a wonderful piece of art. It was just too bad that young man could not have focused on art because I saw real potential there.
I watched Harris Lanzel with the band when my children were in high school. How he got some of those children to do what he did I did not understand. He saw a talent there that no one else saw. He provided instruction that I am sure was a saving grace for some of those students.
A note to the board of education — please see that our children have access to the arts as part of their basic education. You never know when a Picasso or Beethoven is sitting in those seats. It is just as valuable as the sports program, if not more so. Sports careers end with increasing age. Careers in the arts can go on indefinitely.
Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, Pa. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org.