In his play “The Mourning Bride: A Tragedy,” William Congreve writes in Act I, Scene 1, “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.”
Congreve was an English playwright and poet from the late 17th century. His literary bibliography, although short, is well-known. This particular line in the play is often misquoted – using the word “beast” for “breast.” Music does calm the savage beast in us, does it not? I do have to say, I have seen it raise a few hairs in my time too.
I grew up surrounded by music. My mom loves to sing, and my father was a dancing machine. Together, they created a great backdrop for a young boy who learned to both sing and dance. Music was not only in my home, but it also was throughout my school, church and community.
To this day, I enjoy singing and dancing and often visit senior-living communities throughout Georgia to give free performances. I’ve even tried to learn many of the old standards from the 1940s and 1950s in order to connect with this wonderful generation. It’s my way of giving back to people who gave so much to this country and helped shape our future. And the smiles on the faces of the residents are priceless.
Some of the top songs in 1945 were “Don’t Fence Me In” by Bing Crosby, “Till the End of Time” by Perry Como, and “Sentimental Journey” by Doris Day. At age 85, Mom still can sing that song and hit every note.
Music is a medium for all people of all ages. I’m curious, though, as to what the song titles will be that people will be listening to 50 years from now. I’m a big fan of Johnny Mercer, as many people in this area are, but I doubt “Moon River” will be on their list of songs.
In keeping with the spirit of community and music, The Station Exchange will host a summer music event called “Friday on the Train” every third Friday of the month from 5:30-7:30 p.m. May through September. The train car in the center of the common space will be our stage. Artists will entertain, and there will also be an open-microphone session at the end of the evening. This will serve as an audition platform for a local music production that is being performed later this year at the Richmond Hill City Center. The auditions will be fun and light-hearted. We will be looking for people who can sing songs from the 1940s and 1950s as our production is geared for older adults. No acting experience is necessary, just a good, strong voice and familiarity with the songs of that era.
If you like music, come join us every third Friday this summer to listen and possibly sing. You won’t be disappointed, and the entire evening is free. Bring the whole family, your lawn chairs and your smiles. There will even be a few things for the kids.
As Dale Evans and Roy Rogers used to sing, “Happy trails to you, until we meet again.”
DeLong is the executive director for The Suites at Station Exchange. Email him at Suites.StationExchange@gmail.com.